But historians offer another thesis for the purpose QAnon serves. The “nocturnal ritual fantasy”—a term coined by the historian Norman Cohn in his landmark study of European witch trials, Europe’s Inner Demons—is a recurring trope in Western history. And it is often a politically useful one. Deployed by the Romans against early Christians, by Christians against Jews, by Christians against witches, by Catholics against “heretics,” it is a malleable set of accusations that posit that a social out-group is engaged in perverse, ritualistic behaviors that target innocents—and that the out-group and all its enablers must be crushed.
In the list of peoples who have been so used and abused as the out-group we get no mention of kulaks, the bourgeoisie or the running lackey dogs of the bloodsucker capitalists. Even as many tens of millions more were killed for such than any other social enemy creation.
But then this is The New Republic and it wouldn’t even occur to them, would it?