Every once in a while, I write a post on the Qanon Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory... it's 'One Conspiracy Theory to rule them all, One Conspiracy Theory to find them, One Conspiracy Theory to bring them all, and in the dark web bind them in MAGAland, where the wingnuts dwell'. Qanon is premised on the idea that an anonymous poster with Q Clearance has been posting cryptic clues on 4Chan and 8Chan (now 8Kun) pointing to a heroic battle waged by Donald Trump against a global cabal of Satanist Pedophiles- pretty much Democrats and (((rootless cosmopolitans))). It's a mish-mash of right-wing Clinton Death List nonsense with old-fashioned anti-Semitic blood libel... but it has been able to absorb Flat Earth lunacy, Lizard People whackaloonery, and a core group of believers that JFK, Jr is not only alive, but is a hardcore Trumper and possible 2020 Trump running mate.
Why am I mentioning this now? Wonkette's Robyn Pennacchia has written a guide to readers who are dealing with Qanon whacko relatives at Thanksgiving. It's a compassionate treatment of deluded cranks, involving her mother's strategy of asking a string of concerned-sounding questions that will end in a True Believer having to articulate, and thereby truly consider, his or her beliefs. It's difficult to continue supporting a movement with a catchphrase 'trust the plan' when the plan is undefined and the planners unidentified.
This method is also a nice subversion of the Qanon methodology itself. While the whole kerfuffle began with a 4Chan post in 2017 about the indictment and coming execution of Hillary Clinton, it morphed into a series of vague posts, mainly questions and series of coded transmissions, basically the Socratic method for lunatics. The conspirator(s) also came up with a stupid-though-evil trick to keep True Believers from becoming skeptics when predictions didn't come true, or outright falsehoods came to light- they told the marks 'disinformation is necesary'. People, if you are the targets of a disinformation campaign, then you are the enemy. As far as the heavy lifting of the conspiracy theory goes, it is mainly done by a coterie of grifters who interpret the cryptic utterances of 'Q Team' like a bunch of MAGA theologians. These are the individuals who have added their own spin (aliens, flat earth, illuminati) to the whole shebang.
One of the axioms of the movement is that 'the normies' are blissfully in the dark, and that the hundreds of thousands of indictments, military tribunals, and executions would so disturb them that they would riot in the streets... they would have to be informed gradually, and then the Qanon True Believers would become lauded as wise heroes. Put succinctly, it's a fantasy about 'owning the libs', a fantasy about going from being a loon to being a sage.
Thankfully, I don't have any relatives who believe in this nonsense. We all value education, so there's no need to pretend to having a recondite font of secret knowledge. I feel sorry for anyone who has to deal with this nonsense, even with the guidelines set forth by Robyn, it's got to be exhausting work.