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Cults and loyalty

July 18, 2022

More than anything, cults demand loyalty. Their internal discussions invariably turn to who are true adherents, who are falling away, how their leaders are strengthening or weakening the cult, and how the rest of the world poses, between threat and opportunity. In the MAGA cult, one manifestation of that is the obsession with false flag operations. Marjorie Taylor Greene casts the mass shootings on the 4th of July as such, “to persuade Republicans to go along with more gun control.”

reverend-moon-marrying-couples-bettmannWhat makes that a sign of the dire state of our politics isn’t just that she is a sitting congressman, but that saying such unhinged things will cement her support, rather than losing it.

A larger and more ominous sign is that militias aligned with the MAGA cult have engaged in action to sway political outcomes. They failed with the coup. We should not assume that is the end of them. Even after some of their current leaders are incarcerated. Texas Three Percenter Guy Reffitt is facing more than a decade in prison, if the judge applies a terrorist enhancement in sentencing.

MAGA lawyers tried to use the legal arena to forward Trump’s Big Lie, despite a lack of any evidence that would stand up in court. Giuliani and Powell have faced professional sanctions for that. They are not alone. It is a sign of loyalty when lawyers are willing to hurt their professional standing to fight for their cult.

Unlike many, I see Trump as more a symptom than a cause. The Tea Party which morphed into the MAGA cult was there before him. He was just the right kind of conman to figure out how to ride it to power. He soon will be gone. Cults, alas, have quite a bit of staying power. Which is why I am not optimistic about US politics. I expect Cheney to be trounced in her primary. Even her leadership team can’t paint a much hopeful outcome. She chose integrity over loyalty. Cults hate that.

The photo shows a mass wedding by Sun Myung Moon. When I was in college, at the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, the Moonies actively recruited on major university campuses. Most of my fellow students recognized them as batshit crazy, competing with the Scientologists. In the half century since, they have embedded themselves firmly in the right-wing ecosystem.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Douglas Rothkopf permalink
    July 18, 2022 8:55 am

    The past is not past. It’s not even dead. This is fascism by another name. Insidious and deadly. Intolerable subjection of women, and others. Repressive modes of behavior.

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