The Imaginary Children Bring Terror

Previously I had written how Imaginary Children were important to many a conspiracy theorist. By claiming to save children that didn’t exist – from the not-born, to the not-real, to the in-the-imagined future – people justified all sorts of grifts, conspiracy theories, and so on. “For the children” is both a triggering set of words and a meme because of how common it is.

These phantom children also justify all sorts of extreme responses.

To say one is going to “save the children” is an excuse to pretty much do anything you want – after all, doesn’t everyone want to do that? There’s no amount of money (belonging to other people) that you can spend, no amount of surveillance you can’t do, no amount of arrests you can’t make. “The children” are the ultimate excuse.

And of course for authoritarians, the perfect excuse.

To say one is going to “save the children” also means anyone you accuse of harming them is also undeniably evil. Who would ever want to hurt (the made-up) children but someone irredemably evil? You can do anything to anyone you want if you accuse them of hurting children first, even imaginary ones.

Again, perfect for authoritarians and bigots, but perhaps I repeat myself.

However, even if people are not harming the illusionary children, people who are in the way are still a barrier. If they question you or don’t want to go on a crusade, they’re at best someone to ignore if not outright enemies. Plus you can convert anyone questioning your love of false children into a villain when you need to.

An endless supply of enemies to send minions after.

In fact, to say you’re doing things “for the children” – especially future children – let’s you justify ignoring or creating problems. Ignore climate change, we have children to save. Creating a police state mine just be fine if you’re saving the children. Not paying your workers a living wage is important because your great wealth will be used for the future children – honestly.

If it’s for the children, you can do anything. Also you might just by coincidence become rich and powerful. Imaginary children are perfect tools for grifters, con-artists, and authoritarians.

Again, what’s weird to me, what is hard to understand, is how people can so easily ignore real children. Maybe it’s because real children aren’t perfect, aren’t the right color, and take effort to take care of. Maybe dealing with real children requires one confront the horrible reasons they suffer. Either way, plenty of folks seem to prefer imaginary kids to real ones – probably because they’re an excuse.

It’s up to us to focus on real people, kids or otherwise, because those focused on imaginary children will use them as an excuse to be terrible. It’s important to focus on real people because the people worried about imaginary children will use them as an excuse to be terrible to them.


It’s Imaginary Children All The Way Down

Imaginary Children play a huge role in America’s “extractive politics.” By extractive politics I mean those that use people and their resources as fuel, usually returning nothing, and often causing them great damage. One way to get people to go against their own interests is to invoke imaginary children.

We’ve seen this with evangelizing charities promising to help children in other countries – of course middlemen took their cut, evangelized, and ignored the real causes of suffering in the world. But everyone got to pat themselves on the back while surprisingly little got done. You might see pictures of real children in need, but there was always an abstraction in the pitches and grifting that made them less than real.

Then there’s abortion in America, which historically was just a way to get votes without resorting to old racism routines. People are wound up by politicians and preachers to absolutely get distraught over imaginary children while ignoring the plight of very real human beings. You never see someone say “I worry about the children so I am against abortion and for universal health care” or something. So people vote anti-choice and then suddenly find they can’t get IFV, medical treatments, and so on and everything is worse. No real children or people are helped, but those maybe-babies are somehow safe.

(Of course, you’ll notice racist crap keeps coming into the anti-choice side when they argue things like we need more babies so we’re not replaced with some kind of non-white people. Anti-Abortion politics always had racial fear in it.)

Further along the grift-on-imaginary is the Satanic Panic crap over the centuries that morphed into the entire QAnon/Save the Children insanity of the 2010s-2020s. Evil forces were doing awful things to children in rituals, draining their blood to make drugs, and other things fevered grifters and sanity-challenged posters could come up with. Just like other Satanic Panics there was no evidence, because it was all just a mix of grift and attempts to call political opponents child-victimizing pervert Satanists. It was all about imaginary children, and it led to real-world consequences from conspiracy theorists.

Oh, and of course, those propagating these conspiracy of child-consuming cabals somehow ignored real children, real suffering, and questionable sexual behavior among their heroes. Because of course they did.

By the time you get to imaginary evil cults victimizing imaginary children it imaginary scenarios it feels like you’ve hit peak made-up-child-for-grift. Where can you go when you resurrect anti-Semetic tropes, witch-hunts, bonkers consiracy theories, and pathological politics and voltron them together? It feels like there’s no where else to go in the field of finding ways not to give a shit about real kids.

Wrong, you can go into the future and take the Imaginary Kids to the final fronteir.

We see this in weird futurists, startup grifters, and long-termist pseudo-philosophers. They have to think about the kids of the future! Those Future Kids are just as important as kids these days if not more so! Also this justifies them getting rich doing cryptocurrency startups for nutritional supplements and not paying their taxes. Someday all that money they have will be used to make a better future, and not just wasted in a midlife crisis after their fifth divorce and an FTC investigation.

The Imaginary Kids have gone cosmic, and assholes can justify being part of an exploitative economy and abusing people because they might help Future Kids. It’s not a grift or daddy issues, really!

Conspiracy bullshit, religious fanaticism, and futurist greed-excusing are all the same. They rely on Imaginary Kids to get you to buy their crap and excuse their abuse.

Its up to us to focus on real people, not empower these assholes, and shove their face into the suffering they excuse and cause.

  • Xenofact

The Syndicate

I was listening to the Nonsense Bazaar, one of my favorite podcasts on weird stuff, and one of the hosts discussed the connections between weird metaphysics grifters. He christened this The Syndicate, and I realized how absolutely appropriate it was. I’d like to go into something that is very obvious in the world of spiritual scams – so obvious it’s disturbingly easy to miss.

If you find any grifty religious/spiritual group and pursue it’s origins you often find others like them very quickly. Some online guru is just channeling beings dreamed up by another scam artist, while doing affiliate marketing with a fellow grifter. An exceedingly weird religious group directs you at courses taught by an only slightly less disturbing organization. If you pursue this for any amount of time, it starts to seem very connected.

The podcast Conspirituality noted a whole guru ecosystem, where some new internet influencer will suddenly hook up with other more well-heeled ones. Once you’re in the ecosystem you get to start exchanging audiences, expanding together, and so on. Plus you want to connect with new talent so they don’t steal your audience.

Now do I think this is some kind of conspiracy? No, it’s just networking by people of similar interests, its the influence of ideas, and of course it’s driven by people who see dollar signs and power. You don’t need a conspiracy, so though there may be some tiny conspiracies, good old greed explains plenty of it.

However I think there’s an issue here that The Syndicate also helps give the illusion of truth.

We humans decide things are true not in simple linear fashion – though it may look like it – but by a web of associations. People we trust, classes we took, experiences we had, techniques we learned, all come together to help us evaluate truth. Even something that comes as a revelation only seems so as it rests on a substrate of past experiences.

The Syndicate has people linking back to each other, to past teachings, and to various forms of content. It has people recommending and boosting each other. It is a web of associations that can give the appearance of truth. Even if this is not intentional, if it’s just people helping each other rip others off, it’s “close to truth.”

When it is intentional, it’s pretty damn effective. In the world of spiritual grift it’s also easy – a dash of Theosophy, some alternative medicine, and then some conspiracy theories and you’re good. Team up with a few others and you’re good.

I think this is important to remember. The network of people busily selling you fake spirituality for real money can seem true because of the network. Something that should set off someone’s alarms may, under the right conditions, do the opposite.

(Come to think of it, the way I recommend podcasts, some of which refer to each other, should make you suspicions . . .)