‘Deprogramming’ QAnon followers ignores free will and why they adopted the beliefs in the first place
Recent calls to deprogram QAnon conspiracy followers are steeped in discredited notions about brainwashing. As popularly imagined, brainwashing is a coercive procedure that programs new long-term personality changes. Deprogramming, also coercive, is thought to undo brainwashing.
As a professor of religious studies who has written and taught about alternative religious movements, I believe such deprogramming conversations do little to help us understand why people adopt QAnon beliefs. A deprogramming discourse fails to understand religious recruitment and conversion and excuses those spreading QAnon beliefs from accountability.
Voters may receive suspicious calls deterring them from voting. If information is correct, local news and state governments should also carry the message. Report any robocalls to your state government.
The bitterness chewing our nation into bits of anguish has left many uncertain about where we go from here. To say that society hinges on us navigating out of this partisan nightmare no longer seems hyperbolic.