“It’s just so amazing, so…well, miraculous, really!” the Republican politician said, in the locked congressional caucus room. He glanced at the door to make sure it was closed. The ten other congresspersons in the room looked too, as he went on, “It’s so miraculous I think that God must have ordained it! We have learned…” He gasped, the others tittered, and nodded encouragingly. “…that you can lie, and lie big, and you can stay with the lie, and you can ignore whatever people say about the lie, and…it still…works!”

“YES!” the others said, high-fiving.

“It’s obvious to me that God wants us to lie! I mean, when Trump started in on that stuff I thought, well, that’s the end of him. But then the internet, uh, support came. From…you know. And Fox fell in line, and Carlson and Hannity and…thousands of websites! And the Oath Keepers came along and…they all said, ‘YES!’ …And people just opened their mouths and they took it in and they swallowed it! It’s so…incredibly…astounding! We can now say ANYTHING we want! And if we repeat it enough…it’s real! We can say the election was fake!” He glanced at the door once more to make sure it was, yes, still closed. “And we can know it wasn’t — and it does…not…matter! If enough people just accept and repeat it, it’s like…like it becomes real! We can make the lie alter its very substance and…it becomes the truth! It’s no longer a lie! I mean — in people’s minds! If people believe it’s true — then isn’t that a reality?”

“Didn’t George W. Bush float something like that?” said another Republican, scratching his head.

“Oh sure, but…he didn’t persevere! And he didn’t have Trump to make thousands of people chant the lie in a rally!”

“And Qanon! That too — it’s just so amazing!” said the other Republican. “They’re on our side and they have the power to make people believe anything, the most incredible…” He glanced at the door, lowering his voice. “…bullshit!”

Everyone laughed and high-fived again .

“…and millions of people still believe them! Even crazy numbers of Japanese people!”

“True! If it’s said in enough websites that spread ‘alternate news’ — then people believe it! ‘The vaccine is a mind control conspiracy!’”

Everyone roared in laughter at that. They’d all made sure to quietly get a Covid vaccine.

“I’m just saying,” the politician went on. “It’s a miracle! God has given us the gift of changing reality! If we lie over and over again and kinda keep changing up the excuses we can take over the country, and run it the way we want, and no one will care!”

“We’ve got to get rid of Liz Cheney,” someone put in grumblingly. “She’ll spoil everything.”

“Oh, we’re on that. But just think — all this time we thought that obvious lies were toxic. That we couldn’t get away with them. But it’s just about…doing it together! It’s a chorus of lies! That changes everything! If only we’d known!”

“Oh but the internet, and the collaborative news media, and the Russians — we didn’t have all that till now,” said the Republican politician.

“Now — we are empowered! God has given us the power to make any lie we repeat enough…true! And…it’s all…” He licked his lips and looked around at them, his eyes widening. “…going to make us…” They hung on his every word. “…RICHER THAN WE EVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE!”

A tired janitor, pushing a vacuum cleaner down the hall outside the door, heard the entire caucus squealing in unison with giddy insane jollity, and muttered, “Those people are crazy. Someone should lock ’em all up before they hurt someone…”


It’s been clear to me for years that conspiracy theories are addictive. I don’t mean this figuratively. In the case of conspiracy theories it has to do, I think, with hormones released in the brain, under the influence of powerful fantasies about the real world–probably similar to what was felt by followers of Hitler. Thrilling, stimulating hormones arising entering stimulating psychological frameworks: frameworks of titillating falsehoods. To me, Qanon is to the usual addiction to conspiracies as crack is to cocaine. It’s a more powerful blast, a more efficient delivery system than standard cocaine use. It’s even more addictive.

A very famous chess player was a believer in anti-Semitic conspiracies. How could this happen to so intelligent a man? I’ve noticed that people prone to bigotry and conspiracy theories, regardless of their IQ, will eagerly set their reasoning faculties aside, as well as a common sense grasp of what is wildly improbable, in order to get their “hit”, their reward for believing. And they get another hit for defending their belief no matter what evidence you offer to the contrary. A corollary is found in heroin addicts; they are surrounded by evidence that the drug is destroying their lives. They are able to fence it off, to fend it off, to argue that they have it all under control–and yet they’re often quite innately intelligent people. People will cherry-pick facts, they will ignore the evidence, to justify their pleasures. And make no mistake, the illusion of being the keeper of secrets, the excoriation of some scapegoat–Big Government, “Antifa”, liberals–is deeply satisfying. It doesn’t matter who their scapegoat is. All that matters is how their ritualistic verbal sacrifice of it makes them feel. Like powerful little gods.