If QAnon is Not a Deep State Construct, It Certainly Functions that Way

Update (April 9, 2022 h/t Christopher Rufo): In January 2014, the GAO published a report, “Federal Agencies Can Better Support State Efforts to Prevent and Respond to Sexual Abuse by School Personnel,” warning about child predators in public schools. The report advised administrators to monitor teachers for grooming behaviors that could lead to sexual misconduct and sexual abuse. Note the signs of grooming behavior. Note also what constitutes misconduct and abuse. Sexually explicit items, pamphlets, books, and videos are among the signs.

Source: https://www.gao.gov/assets/gao-14-42.pdf

That parents are being maligned for their concern about such materials in their children’s classrooms is suggestive to many of them that an organized effort is afoot to misdirect the public in order to preserve the status quo. Christopher Rufo, who has studied this problem in depth, tweets today: “It’s amazing that, in 2014, CNN knew Disney that had a ‘child sex predator’ problem and the GAO knew that public schools had a ‘groomer’ problem—and now we’re supposed to believe that both are ‘QAnon conspiracy theories.’” Then there is this:

This blog concerns one of the mechanisms used to dismiss parent’s concerns. Readers should not dismiss parent concerns out of hand. Remember the Catholic Church. Why are public school teachers to be presumed any more innocent than priests? Predators know where to find children. The investment in time to work ones way into the position to take advantage of a child is not that great. And in the case of public schools, there are official and organizational-normative rationalizations for the presence of sexually-explicit materials.

* * *

I don’t like having to reassure readers about my intent before writing something. However, because of rigid manichean style of today’s politics, and the apparent need to find offense and outrage, I sometimes feel I have no choice. Nothing I write here should be perceived as indicating any opposition to homosexuality. I have no problem with homosexuality. I do not merely tolerate my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, but embrace them.

This blog concerns the practice of public school administrators and teachers talking to children, especially young children, about sexuality and gender identity—heterosexual or whatever—and the gaslighting of parents who are concerned about it. It’s not the role of teachers to involve themselves in the sex lives of students except where they detect abuse (in which case they should alert the appropriate authorities), and parents have the right to object to such an instruction by a public employee.

I went to public schools most of my life (my parents enrolled me in a private school for kindergarten and ninth grade). I never once encountered an administrator or a teacher who I believe was qualified to talk to children about human sexuality. My fifth grade teacher believed the degrees on a globe marked regional temperature and made me cover the nipples of a mermaid I painted during art period. In high school, a teacher threw away a sculpture (my sculpture) because she believed it represented a phallus. I have put two children through the k-12 system and there were no administrators or teacher there who were qualified to talk to children about human sexuality. I appreciate the work teachers do. I am a supporter of public schools in principle. But administrators and teachers are, as a lot, even if we supposed it was appropriate for them to do so, simply not up to the task of steering the sexuality and gender identity of our children.

I agree with Tulsi Gabbard that parents should raise their kids, not the government. Consult my blog The LGBTQ Lobby Sues Florida to get a sense of the range of things I believe are inappropriate for public school instruction. Even things I believe in are not appropriate for classroom instruction.

* * *

If QAnon is not a construct of the deep state, it certainly functions as if it were one. If a parent is concerned that the desire of teachers to speak with their children about their bodies and their sexuality may signal grooming behavior (why wouldn’t this desire raise suspicions?), they may be reticent to speak up because they risk being linked with an alleged political conspiracy theory positing the existence of a cabal of Satanic cannibalistic sexual predators operating a global child sex trafficking ring. Concern over child sex trafficking is similarly dismissed as QAnon conspiracy theory.

Notwithstanding the horrors of the Catholic Church, where children were groomed by employees of a trusted institution that covered up the abuse for decades, there appears to be a concerted effort by progressive elites to misdirect the public on the question of child sexual abuse by the professional-managerial class by gaslighting and smearing those who are concerned about the safety of children. As with the church, the angle is that there is nothing to see here. The misdirection play is effective. Few people want to be labeled a “conspiracy theorists.” If there were no conspiracy theory to mock, then it would be beneficial to manufacture one.

Among the attendees of President Trump’s rally in Florida in the summer of 2018 were people holding up signs promoting an online right-wing conspiracy persona who’s been targeting movie stars and the Democratic Party.

The Washington Post ran an editorial Tuesday suggesting that US senators who questioned Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson about her leniency in sentencing child predators at her Senate confirmation hearings were employing QAnon “catchphrases.” Indeed, the fact that Republicans didn’t mention a single thing about QAnon during the proceedings was, for author Donald Moynihan, a professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University, all the evidence one needed to know that the line of questioning pursued by Senators Ted Cruz, Lindsay Graham, and Joshua Hawley concerning Judge Jackson’s record emanated from that conspiracy theory. High-ranking Republicans are secretly Q was the take away.

“Republican senators questioning Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson at her Supreme Court nomination hearing didn’t explicitly mention QAnon or its putative oracle, Q,” writes Moynihan. “They didn’t mention the child sex trafficking ring run by a global cabal of Democratic politicians; financial, media and Hollywood elites; medical establishment professionals; and the satanic pedophile Hillary Clinton. They didn’t mention the Storm, the day these cabalists will be rounded up and executed. And they didn’t mention QAnon’s North Star, former president Donald Trump, who is secretly dismantling the pedophile ring.” “They didn’t have to,” he continues dramatically. “QAnon, a sprawling set of baseless conspiracy claims, is built on nods and winks, which has allowed it to move from the fringes to the center of American politics without toppling the mainstream conservative politicians who are courting its adherents. All Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) had to do to set the stage for the hearing was allege in tweets beforehand that Jackson’s record on sex offender policies ‘endangers our children.’”

Moynihan wraps everything he can in the list of claims associated with the QAnon conspiracy theory—the association of establishment political and entertainment figures in the Jeffrey Epstein affair; the work of doctors pushing cross-sex hormones and gender affirming surgery on children; Disney and other entertainment corporations developing and pushing out programming for children that disrupts organic understandings of gender. Any concern one might have about what he is detecting about the sexual grooming of children may be dismissed by evoking the QAnon conspiracy theory. It follows that concern for the sexually-explicit books on the library shelves of public schools must come from a place of unwarranted paranoia. Etcetera.

Parents are not only concerned about pedophilia. They are concerned about a range of ideas they believe may endanger their children. They worry that the desire of teachers to speak with their children about their bodies and their sexuality may represent not only grooming behavior but also reflect an agenda to disrupt the normal psychological development of children, to confuse them about their gender. A boy may for a day show an interest in feminine activities, clothes, or toys, a fancy he will exchange for pretending to be a dog or a T-rex tomorrow. A woke teacher will take note and encourage the boy to explore his gender identity. Maybe he is really a girl born into the wrong body. Parents hear stories like this and ask questions. They will find their concerns scoffed at, ridiculed: “Don’t you know that ‘endangering children’ is a catchphrase of QAnon?”

We see the same thing happening with concern over antiracist instruction and curricula based on critical race theory. Deploying antiracist programming in the name of diversity, equity, and inclusion, teachers tell children that the world is divided between “perpetrators” and “victims.” The white kids learn that they are the perpetrators and that their victims are their black classmates. White children are taught to feel guilty over things their ancestors did, to atone for a sin they did not transgress. The black children are taught that white people—all of them—are privileged because of their skin color, that any advantages they appear to enjoy are ill-gotten. Black children are taught to resent their white peers and their parents.

Parents—black and white—learn about this and complain. They don’t want their kids taught to feel guilty or to resent others on account of race. They are met with gaslighting. These things aren’t really happening, they are told. Critical race theory is not taught in schools, officials and the media insist. It’s a “racist dogwhistle,” a moral panic drummed up by conservative Republicans who pray on the fears of parents for electoral advantage. Likewise, parental concern over instruction in sexuality and gender identity is portrayed as bigotry. Opposition to such teachings are expressions of “homophobia” and “transphobia.” Not only are parents buying into hate, but their complaints further that hate, endangering the lives of LGBTQ children.

If you’re paying attention, you will have likely noted the contradiction: that it’s okay to accuse others of endangering children, if you are a progressive. Progressives truly care about children (that’s why they’re still masking them in Head Start). As progressives, they are obviously rational and in the know; they could not possibly believe in conspiracy theories. Moreover, because they are immune from paranoia, their claims about what conservatives are secretly up to, what the right really means with its “dogwhistles” and what-not, must be true. The progressive worldview is informed, sure, and true. Conservatives are crazy, hateful, and stupid. Why else would public school administrators and teachers have to keep from parents key curricular and pedagogical elements? Because progressivism shapes the nation’s institutions, progressives are able to amplify this portrayal of themselves and their opponents. There is no agenda. Only paranoid mouth-breathers in fly-over states.

The agenda of indoctrinating young children in extremist ideology, in gender theory and critical race theory, has gathered around itself a forcefield of canceling, censorship, mockery, ridicule, and shaming, all aimed at belittling, dismissing, marginalizing, and destroying those parents who raise questions about social studies curricula and the paradigm of social and emotional learning (SEL). Parents read and share such articles as “What are social and emotional learning and culturally responsive and sustaining education—and what do they have to do with critical race theory? A primer” and suspect that SEL is a Trojan horse designed to smuggle into public school curriculum extremist ideas about gender and race.

One must understand these concerns in the context of the culture war that lies at the heart of the transnationalization project. Americans may not comprehend the full context, but they have picked up on its effects and are pushing back. Circumstances have found parents in the vanguard of the resistance. They can see the assault on Western values—of assembly, association, free speech, individualism, privacy, self-determination, transparency in government, the nuclear family and parental rights. There is a need to bring the greater public to the recognition that the culture war is an ideological step in a program to alienate the individual from traditional institutions and reincorporate him in a new world order. The corporate state is replacing the family with government agencies, public schools being the most obvious institution for the immediate and comprehensive cultivation of future consumers and political actors for these purposes. Schools have our children for the better part of the day, a situation imposed by the structure of the working day and the necessity of both parents to work in industrialized society. Medicalizing, racializing, and sexualizing children are key elements of the strategy. COVID-19 exposed the program. The corporate state is desperately trying to put the cat back in the bag. If you know anything about cats, you know they have a real task before them.

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Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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