By Kaileigh La Belle
Like previous videos that we’ve watched in this class, the video on Qanon in Germany interviewed people who were close to or even directly involved with the conspiratorial, Far-Right leaning movement. When individuals were asked why people joined this movement, many outsiders noted the idea of gaining control over uncontrollable circumstances. While I think that there is some merit to the argument that feelings of control/lack of control can be mobilizing factors, I think that there is a deeper issue going on here, especially after reading some of the other readings on the subject of xenophobia and Far-Right Hate. The Stone reading, which highlighted the role of collective memory in dictating responses to current crises, is applicable here. Throughout the video, the anti-vax, anti-mask protesters made numerous visual or oral references or parallels to Germany’s nazi past, presenting COVID-preventative measures as a style of eugenic, authoritarian plot. For them, this is evidently a morally motivated movement that draws heavily on the idea of preventing history from repeating itself. While the idea that these preventative measures are anywhere close to a fascist dictatorship is, as the video makes clear, ludicrous, I think that it represents an attempt to distance themselves from the fundamentally antisemitic conspiracies they push and therefore “validate” their involvement. They see their motivations as being “civic” and hinged on “protecting” people (especially the vulnerable like children) from a shadowy authoritarian government or secret society. In their eyes, this makes their movement incompatible with hate, or, at the very least rationalizes it for them in a sort of “greater good” situation. It prevents them from seeing the antisemitic origins and impacts this movement has and thus they continue to involve themselves in it. Overall, by coupling this sort of moral argument with imagery of preventing another genocide/authoritarian regime, they distance themselves from any type of critical thought about their actions or blame for them.