Qanon are the goofballs who believe Donald Trump is a messianic figure doing battle against the forces of evil. This is key to their belief system; democrats, critics and even beloved celebrities who dare suggest you should maybe wear a mask aren’t just political adversaries. To Q they are “devil-worshipping, child-molesting cannibals”. This is not hyperbole. This is what they believe, espouse and disseminate.

Let’s get this out of the way up front: millions of children ARE victimized every year, usually by family members or people known to them. This very real evil is NOT what Qanon are talking about. They believe Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks and anyone who has even THOUGHT about putting a Beto sign in their yard are, literally, devil-worshipping monsters. I’m not going to list the vile, repulsive accusations Qanon has made about people who have never even faced a hint of impropriety with a child. I’ve read some of it and, trust me, it’s stuff you didn’t sign up for when you decided to read an article by a DJ on a radio station website. Just to give you an idea, Qanon is obsessed with the idea that “the elite” are addicted to “adrenochrome”, a substance Hunter S. Thompson wrote about in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”. You can take my word that Thompson made it up or, if you insist, you can read about it here, here or here.

This sounds SO crazy, you might think, that it can’t possibly have any historical precedence. Oh, but it does. In the 1980’s there was a bizarre period known as “The Satanic Panic”. Nightly you could hear respected newsmen reporting on accusations of child-sacrifice, ritual cannibalism and witches that had the power to fly. This was the NINETEEN eighties, not the 1680’s. Geraldo did entire specials devoted to the widespread practice of satanic rituals perpetrated on children left in daycares across the U.S. . People WENT TO PRISON. There was one guy who believed in the Satanic Panic and when HIS daughter accused him…he admitted to it, reasoning that the “devil had caused him to forget what he did”.

This all seemed very dumb and gullible by the mid 1990’s. Clearly, the children were being misguided by adults and the REAL concern should have been “why are grown-ups projecting this kind of stuff onto kids?!?”

But, here we are in 2020 and something as innocent as #savethechildren suddenly comes with all kinds of lunatic, conspiratorial baggage. A guy went into a pizza place and shot an AR demanding to “see the dungeon where the kids are tortured”. People, some of whom are probably mentally unhinged, throw out completely baseless accusations of pedophilia against innocent people without giving it a second thought. When you share the #savethechildren, you might unwittingly be sharing a grotesque slander of an innocent person. So…thanks for THAT, Qanon.

If you want to peel back a few more layers, the Satanic Panic goes back at least to the middle-ages, when Jews were accused of “The Blood Libel". Entire communities of Jews were hounded and slaughtered because a rumor went around that they made their matzo with “the blood of Christian children”. What’s old is new again. Qanon are just the latest iteration of the paranoia of Satanic Panics past. It’s time to start asking what it says about the conspiracy mongers that this is the stuff that is solely produced by their own minds.

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