QAnon, Querdenken and Democracy

26 Januar 2021

In an interview with the Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung from Heidelberg, PD Dr. habil. Eva Herschinger, Senior Resarcher at the CISS, classifies the various movements from QAnon to Querdenken. In the interview, Herschinger analyzes which factors contribute to radicalization and which problems arise, especially with regard to the willingness of already radicalized people to use violence. "The followers of conspiracy myths live in a different reality in which they try to seal themselves off from any questioning. And that is exactly what they are offered in the movements: Clear enemy lines, an only vaguely held utopia of where things should go, so that many can identify with it. This part of the population no longer participates in the democratic process, has become alienated from it, which I classify as very dangerous."

Added to this are the attempts of right-wing movements to change the social discourse in their direction. Arguments and explanations become acceptable. It is precisely these normalization processes that can also be identified within the framework of the Querdenken movement, since a clear demarcation from right-wing extremist groups and right-wing extremist ideas does not take place there. A special role in this process is played by social media, through which conspiracy statements find their easy dissemination. "The networks have long since ceased to be neutral platforms, and they should be held accountable," Herschinger said.

The complete interview can be found here (in German).