Monday night’s Four Corners program on ABC explained that two Australian lackeys of the American cult called QAnon – Tim Stewart and his son Jesse – are pushing the cult’s terrible excuse for a belief system.
QAnon reckons that the world has been taken over by paedophiles who drink babies’ blood, and this includes the Queen, Hillary Clinton, Richie Benaud and billions more of us who don’t believe their nightmare fairy tales. The ravings of the Stewart father and son wouldn’t matter, except for three scary facts:
(1) Prime Minister Morrison and his wife have been best mates with Tim Stewart and his wife Lynelle for decades, according to Stewart’s sister Karen; Lynelle was employed in the PM’s office until very recently,
(2) Tim and his fellow cult members claimed they convinced the PM to use a term in his Parliamentary apology to all victims of child sexual abuse to promote the QAnon fantasy that these family tragedies are about ‘rituals’ controlled by people with left-wing politics, and;
(3) QAnon is NOT a ‘fringe’ group, as Morrison claims, but the largest and fastest growing political movement in the world, which was a major force behind the deadly 6 January, 2021 attack on the US Capitol building.
QAnon – the cult
QAnon is political because it’s named for a fictional character who pretends to have access to the inner sanctums of American power, and because it claims it is leading a ‘great awakening’ that will kill all the paedophiles and blood-drinkers who rigged the election to stop Donald Trump from saving us from Hillary Clinton, Mickey Mouse, and all the other people who don’t believe in the non-person called QAnon.
It’s a cult in that it is dividing families with its obey-or-die ethos, and in that its pronouncements (mostly on websites and social media) are a garbage dump of fantasies from cults dating from ancient times, and ever since, from every corner of the Earth.
It is, in sum, a concoction of dark fairy tales that collect the blame for all the terrible things afflicting us today, from COVID-19 to poverty, to global eco-catastrophe, and pin it on targets we can easily see and attack, be they individuals such as Bill Gates, or broad categories such as ‘scientists’, or ‘uppity women’.
QAnon is proof that the explosion of facts and provable explanations called the Enlightenment, launched in the late 1700s, has still not given many of us the ability to stop bullshit from baffling brains.
All this was documented before the ABC reporters did their show on Monday, including in my article in The Echo on 20 November 2019. What’s new in Louise Milligan’s report is the extended Stewart family united in condemning Tim and Jesse as dangerous nutbars. Tim’s parents and sister Karen, who was repeatedly sexually assaulted by two lads who went to the same church as she did as a young teen, reveal text messages in which the grandson calls grandma a ‘motherfucker’ and threatens everyone in the family – and beyond – who challenge the cult to ‘back off or they’ll all be fucked’.
In response, Scott Morrison is doing what he always does; saying he doesn’t hold the hose, and that this is a plot by the commie bludgers of the ABC. He’ll disown his mate Tim, or being a weasel, he might just say he isn’t his brother’s keeper.
It’s worth saying that the Morrisons themselves don’t belong to QAnon; they go to a different church that was co-founded by a real paedophile, whose son is still being investigated for hiding that fact. He, Brian Houston, the top pastor of Hillsong, is an even closer mate of Scott Morrison than Tim is, or was. Four Corners didn’t think that was worth saying, nor did they challenge the whole premise of the PM’s defence – that QAnon is a puny piece of passing madness.
It isn’t puny or passing. A poll by America’s nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute indicates that between a third and a half of Republican voters ‘believe’ the QAnon conspiracy, including the part about Democrats drinking the blood of children.
Cults and religious fairy tales offer people simple ways to cope with complex awfulness, and offer hope through easy fixes. They also, often, lead to mass murder, and much of QAnon’s rantings about blood drinking echoes the worst libels perpetrated on Jews less than 80 years ago as the Nazis prepared to launch the Holocaust.
America’s overarching problem is that the majority of them are poor and getting poorer. Their social systems – health, education, the media, common spaces – are increasingly owned and operated by unaccountable kleptocrats, which makes a big chunk of the population desperate enough to buy the hard-boiled garbage peddled by QAnon.
And here in Australia, where commercial media and government policy is being led by the cabal of fossil fuel profiteers gathered around the vapid viper Morrison, we keep racing to keep up with the worst practices of ‘American culture’.
♦ Phillip Frazer is in isolation, writing a book.