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Kraigmo's avatar

Does the existence of QAnon prove that Libertarianism is fatally flawed?

Asked by Kraigmo (8685points) January 4th, 2022

The purist/hardcore version of Libertarianism insist that by giving people maximum freedom, reason will prevail, since most people are rational.
The existence of QAnon seems to have blown this assumption out of the water.
Somewhere between 33 and 45% of the American public have fallen for QAnon theories, even if they don’t consider themselves knowledgeable about QAnon itself (such as mass organized rigging of vote machines including flipped votes and thousands of “dead” people voting.)
If this many people of the American public can have irrational beliefs over an election that affects our entire nation, doesn’t that prove that Libertarianism is fatally flawed? What happens if these cult-like thoughts and alliances start occuring with 55% to 70% of the American public? Do we allow them to trash the entire planet and destroy world relations and deny science until everything is destroyed? Even if they eventually become the legitimately elected Majority?

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11 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I think we always knew Libertarianism in its extreme form is fatally flawed. It’s basically anarchy. People can identify as libertarians and not be extreme though.

I think it’s the mix of religious extremism and politics that creates the biggest problems.

The people I know sucked in by QAnon are all very religious. Most do identify as Libertarian, but many are Republicans too. Libertarians in the extreme should be pro-choice for example, but most QAnons are pro-life on the abortion issue from what I’ve encountered.

SnipSnip's avatar

I’m going with no.

JLoon's avatar

Not really. As JLeslie points out, the flawed assumptions in Libertarian politics were apparent long before Qanon even existed.

But this question has some fairly serious flaws of it’s own. One being that it’s likely you’re relying some pretty questionable polling numbers, and probably conflating awareness of fringe politics with “falling for” false conspiracy theories pushed by Qanon and similar groups.

Surveys and polls that try to measure Qanon’s real impact on public opion and voting behavior have been litterally all over the map in reporting findings and conclusions. But since 2019 most studies have identified solid acceptance and support for Qanon among the general population at much lower levels than you suggest – 14% to 15% overall. That small percentage may inflate when pollsters beak down responses according to voter subgroups (Republicans, Democrats, Independents), and show even more variations when surveys factor in religious preference.
Here’s an example of the complicated sorting out process by a respected source reporting in November 2020:
https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/11/16/5-facts-about-the-qanon-conspiracy-theories/

So why is information about extremist groups and support for their beliefs so hard to quantify? Partly because the relation between conspiracy theories and their followers is constantly shifting, and almost by definition falls outside any rational analysis.
As one researcher puts it -
“The good news is QAnon is not that big…The bad news is a lot of the wacky ideas that are prominent with QAnon are big, and they probably were long before QAnon ever showed up.” :
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/why-its-so-hard-to-gauge-support-for-qanon/

The bottom line is that angry, ignorant people and crazy ideas always go together – But no matter how you count them they never add up to anything useful.

flutherother's avatar

We have to believe that the common sense of the majority will prevail over time otherwise we are all in trouble and it won’t be Libertarianism that is fatally flawed but humanity itself.

Demosthenes's avatar

The assumption that if left to their own devices, reason will prevail because most people are rational seems overly optimistic to me and I’m not familiar with it as a principle of libertarianism. But nor do I think the solution is greater control over people’s lives. I tend to assume that most people will let their irrational side take over at the drop of a hat, the moment they hear something emotionally satisfying, no matter how untrue or irrational it may be. QAnon and the popularity of the “stolen election” narrative seem to be proof of that.

filmfann's avatar

The existence of QAnon actually calls into question the quality of the public education system.

JLeslie's avatar

@filmfann It would be interesting to know what percentage of QAnon were educated in the public school system and how many private.

Kraigmo's avatar

@filmfann , well QAnon is relatively real big in Bible States.
Home of the Scopes Monkey Trial and other circuses.
Sometimes I wonder if Bible States have good education systems or if politics and religion plays an outsize role in those schools.
I had a great education in California. However I did not grow up in Los Angeles, where the system is probably no better than the Bible states at the poorer schools.

JLeslie's avatar

I just read this POV about education and QAnon. It’s not fully my POV, but jellies on the thread might be interested. https://newrepublic.com/article/161266/qanon-classism-marjorie-taylor-greene

I think at play is a lot of Halo Effect and Confirmation bias.

A zoom I was on yesterday, a woman from Venezuela pointed out how QAnon is going after the schools though. The right wing has been going after schools for years with the whole voucher thing. It has always seemed like a plot to send money to religious schools, and I think the people at the top know it, but some of the people who support it probably have really convinced themselves it’s really for competition and to improve schools. The woman I know was more focused on a push to get cameras and microphones in classrooms. She felt that is another element of moving towards the government controlling everything, and especially controlling the information young people are taught.

Pandora's avatar

The few people who I suspect of believing QAnon bull crap have the education level of a 6th grader. I do not mean, to offend 6th graders. As others have pointed out many are deep into faith and have long rejected science outright because they cannot come to a happy medium where faith and science can exist.

I have a brother-in-law who believes in Q crap. I can verify he is an idiot and he and his Jehovah’s Witness pals all think along these lines. They are neither libertarian or democrat or republican or believe in any party but my B-I-L voted for Trump. Because he liked watching him on TV saying your fired and he believes everyone in Washington is out for his two cents. He voted for Trump just to create chaos.

My point is Libertarian don’t all think alike, nor do republicans or democrats. Idiots who are easy to fool are plenty in the US and its our educational system that keeps churning out these morons.
Just look at all the morons that get mad at paying taxes because they say they get nothing for their money but are happy to give as much as they can to a preacher to have 2 jet planes. A sucker is born every moment.

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