Sunday, 6 May 2018

On the Topic of Cults

About a week ago, I got onto the subject of anti-capitalists (the Hillary essay).  In numerous ways, I tend to see the anti-capitalists, the hyped-up political factions, and some self-help groups functioning like a cult.

I had a chance around seven years ago to be in DC when two groups of anti-capitalists were in some camping situation and long-term protest.  I went over one Saturday to survey them, and their efforts.  To be honest....they are the only anti-capitalists I've met in my life.  I have seen a fair number of interviews and YouTube videos on the culture group, but this was my one and only day with them.

So group one.....about two blocks north of the White House....were mostly young folks....eighteen to twenty-five.  Their slant to a short ten-minute period....was more of a lecture.  They had memorized phrases and had limited ability to argue beyond what they'd memorized.  Camp-wise....their place was a mess, and infested with fleas and mice.  They were mostly all college students, and this was a purpose in life.

So, group two....three blocks east of the White House....mostly all people over the age of forty.  They were more relaxed, and could engage on the various topics.  They did have some perception of the bankers and their connection to DC.  Camp-wise, their place was clean, tidy and organized.  They were folks who mostly came out of the 1960s and 1970s.  This group was anti-capitalist in nature, but not quiet the same anger or hostility as the first group.

After a while, I came to this conclusion over the two groups....they both functioned in some way like a cult.  Yes, it was one of those reality moments when you realize that cults aren't owned by religions only.  Political groups and even some self-help groups....are working along lines of a cult.

Over the years, I've kinda sat and thought over this a good bit, and recognized around ten cult features which go across various lines....meaning it's all the same in political, religious or self-help cults.

1.  Shunning.  If you don't think like the insiders....then you have to be an outsider, and you tend to be shunned (even if you were a family member).  It works that way now with politics, some self-help organizations, and various religions. 

2.  Denial of commitment is not allowed.  Once 'Joe' says X....then the group more or less has to follow what Joe says....even if it is pretty stupid.  It's like standing up in a black-run barber-shop and saying you lost faith in the Democratic Party.....they would not allow you to suggest a denial, and you'd likely get shunned.

3.  Everyone in the group (doesn't matter if it religious, self-help or political) 'elite'.  The 'you-are-special' routine is reinforced over and over....and you tend to feel hyped-up (at least for the first year).

4.  It's always a us-versus-them scenario.  Conflict....24-hours a days a week.....fifty-two weeks a year?  Yep.  Thanks to get this theme all the time.  The internet helps to reinforce this value.

5.  There has to be an end....which justifies the means of getting there.  Maybe it's a fraud or fake goal.....but it'll tie in nicely with the means.

6.  Amusing as it sounds....everyone on the insider crew is hyped up to bring in new members and fresh cash.  In a way, it's designed as a pyramid scheme.

7.  Independent thought....thinking outside of the box?  It cannot be allowed.  The cult would falter quickly if a quarter of the insiders were paused and thinking over what was said or threatened.

8.  Reality is shaken.  First you get facts, then you get supposed-facts.  Then you get suggested-facts.  Then you get somewhat-true-facts.  Then you get fake-facts.  As long as you don't sit and ponder upon this....all the facts (even the fake ones) lead you to one single conclusion.

9.  Generally, everyone with the insider crew is hyped up that they are saving themselves, the nation, or humanity.  Saving is a common tend to feel good about saving folks.  Saving gives you warm feeling of accomplishment. 

10.  Once engaged in some argument, and losing....the cult guy will resort to fifth-grade behavior and just start yelling, or repeating phrases to reinforce their view.  Debate-wise, they tend to lack skills or knowledge to win arguments.

As much as you'd like to think cults are just religious, they exist in political spheres and self-help groups.


I sat looking at today's two top political headlines.

The first.....AZ Senator John McCain is said to have written up in his new book (The RestLess Wave) that he regrets picking Sarah Palin to be his VP in the 2008 presidential campaign. His preferred choice?  Former Senator Joe Lieberman, who flipped from Democrat to Independent for Connecticut. 

The odds of the John and Joe ticket doing much?  Well....I think one of three GOP working-class Republicans would have declined to vote, and stayed home.  It would have been one of the worst 'beatings' in GOP history. Maybe he should have just picked himself as the VP choice as well.

The second headline is that he's drafting up the funeral plans and says that Trump is on the list NOT invited, while VP Pence is invited.

Petty behavior....something for a 5th-grade kid. 

I would hope that Pence would avoid this funeral. 

Few ever go and read over the Keating Five episode (1989).  I would recommend some review.  All five senators involved....should have done a minimum of three years of time in a federal prison, and lost their jobs.  McCain was one of the five.  He, more or less, proved that you can get away with just about anything if you are a Senator.