The QAnon conspiracy theory spread like crazy over the summer. Along its way to prominence it escaped from the masculine world of 8chan where it began and entered mostly female networks, especially on Facebook. In trying to explain its appeal to women and especially Christian women, some people have pointed to its focus on child abuse. A few halfway serious people have suggested that if nothing else the theory is useful in raising awareness that child sexual abuse is a huge problem in our society.
Ok, fine, but to the extent that QAnon deals with real problems (child abuse, the concentration of power in secret parts of the government) it does so in entirely the wrong way. What we have learned about the Catholic church should inoculate us against dismissing all notions of pedophile conspiracies; Jeffrey Epstein was up to something awfully sinister. But such secret cabals, no matter how evil, are a small part of the evil we deal with every day.
Most abused children are abused by people very close to them. Most abusers are parents, step-parents, other relatives, baby-sitters. Most of the rest is done by other trusted people: coaches, doctors, teachers. Less than 10% of child sexual abuse is done by strangers.
So I think QAnon and allied notions are another case of our never-ending quest to blame outsiders for our problems. It can't be our friendly neighbors who are responsible for this outrage, it must be evil enemies of the people, some group we can identify and cast out and blame. It can't be us; it can't be me.
The other real problem that QAnon touches on is the great power of the Military-Industrial-Intelligence Complex, which sometimes does act like a Deep State. Sometimes it seems to me that our wars drag on to serve purposes unknown to, and not at all accepted by, the citizens. But on the other hand we had in 2016 Republican debates that devolved into competitions over who could say the most violent and inflammatory things about Iran and Yemen, and the winner was the man who casually suggested carpet bombing whole countries. So it's not like the violent tendencies of America are secret, or confined to shadowy office buildings in Washington.
Sometimes there are real conspiracies, and sometimes they do real harm. But the big problems of our age are right out in the open, and they implicate all of us, not just a shadowy cabal of rich people bent on subverting the values of the good and wholesome majority.