12 November 2008

The Power of the Totalist Cult

A lot of people are feeling pretty frustrated these days. And, the frustration that they're feeling is often coupled to a lack of apparent solutions to deal with the many issues confronting them in 2008. Obviously, in trying times, anybody will eventually become tired physically, emotionally, and intellectually. 

As worries mount, a growing number of people start looking for someone who offers deliverance... and become less likely to question their methods. Be it David Koresh, Reverend Sun Myung Moon, or Kim Jong Il, there is a liberating feeling when you surrender yourself to a spiritual and/or political authority, be it messiah, king or dictator- you don't have to weigh complex issues anymore (now unnecessary and discouraged), The Leader has all the answers. 

And it's reinforced to you daily that you did the right thing... but whatever you do- don't listen to outsiders, they're all bad. Young people are particularly susceptible to totalist movements, especially with fractured family structures and a permissive society; they are often yearning for leadership and a direction that is lacking in their lives. They also have endless reserves of energy and idealistic loyalty on offer... what else could a cult leader want? 

And nobody pondering cult membership lists positives vs. negatives in a T-chart, then leans-back in their chair and makes a logical decision. Rather, they tend to discover an "out" from their unhappy predicament, then abruptly run away from the overwhelming weight of their problems and concerns . They offer themselves to the savior, and are immersed in a euphoric, liberating freedom, plus a soothing righteousness. 

Removed from the unsatisfying social network of their past, they find a complete sense of belonging with the new crowd that thinks and acts like them. They share a new belief system that answers every question, with no stressful analytical thought required anymore- and all those problems just dissappear (for awhile, anyway).  

Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler studied the psychology of crowds, and how to exploit the dissatisfied masses- as well as practicing their dramatic speech presentations in front of a mirror. Both mastered this art of manipulation to perfection. And it doesn't take much imagination for anyone who's seen him in action to imagine Barrack Obama in front of the mirror for hours, too.

Interestingly, like The One, Der Fuhrer famously wrote a self-absorbed, racially-themed book of triumph..."Mein Kampf (My Struggle)", presenting himself as a brave saviour for all the country's ills in a time of peril. That author then went on to construct one of the most powerful and destructive personality cults in human history.

 In the The Psychology and Psychotherapy Journal (1984), "Destructive cults, a view from the inside", Fielding and Llewelyn offer some interesting observations regarding the cult mentality... and there are numerous parallels with Obamamania phenomena: 

"This gesture of recruitment...the cult offering deceptive security to a vulnerable individual, is a familiar one. The potential recruit is not only physically vulnerable, but also, and primarily, psychologically vulnerable.... ‘The target ages are 18 to 25.

"The new recruit is often facing a number of personal and external insecurities; ... psychological distress is a fre­quent antecedent to conversion to a sect." 

"Both per­sonal and universal questions are answered by complete faith in the wisdom of the cult, enshrined in the per­sonality of its absolute leader." 

"It appears that the adult respon­sibilities of decision-making and thought are not only under attack from the cult, but are willingly surrendered by the recruit" "... new recruits come to doubt their own independent judgments and to accept the unanimous opinions of the people around them." 

"An important aspect ... is the suspension of critical thought, and a distrust of the power or value of the rational, critical mind. Thinking, as opposed to feeling or ‘experiencing’, is wrong... ‘there is nothing quite so impenetrable as a human mind snapped shut with bliss’. 

"cults are effective because they initially use very efficient techniques of persuasion and then destroy the ability of people to think, doubt, ask questions and formulate alternatives. (Of course, it is not only in the religious cults)" 

Or, in the words of a now de-programmed, former "Moonie": "To me, it is the rising up, both in the individual and in society, of one image, which crushes and punctures all other social constructions or images...

Historically, I think the phenomenon of the religious cult is a regression signalled by social disintegra­tion. Whenever there is social disintegra­tion, people turn towards absolutes, and in the cult the individual has certainty." 

 http://www.allentwood.com/articles/psychology.html ____________________________________________

Gallup is telling us that Mr Obama already enjoys a whopping 70% approval rating... when all he's done so-far is make vague promises, insult Nancy Reagan, and take a tour the White House. If faith can be defined as belief without evidence, then for The One to poll 53% on November 4th, then hit 70% just a week later for no apparent reason is pretty hard to explain otherwise. 

And blind faith in The Leader is the cornerstone all totalist cults are built upon. If they'd only let the pollsters in, one would imagine that the often bizzare leaders of these sects would have "approval ratings" approaching 100%; that is, until it all comes crashing down in flames and a hail of gunfire, like at the Branch Davidian complex in Waco. 

As we all know, the Obama campaign also boasted record-smashing fundraising, too- with an unusually large proportion coming from individuals. It may not be a coincidence then that financial sacrifice for a vague, emotionally-based salvation (and it's messiah) is one of the oldest ways in the book to separate the vulnerable from their money... thus the legend of the Guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh driving one of his 83 Rolls-Royce's around the communal farm, blessing his freshly-fleeced followers. 

Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel this week reiterated Obama's plans for a "civilian youth corps"... however the "Change.gov" Obama website had promptly removed this previous reference, presumably because many found the mandatory tone of the scheme just a bit unsettling: 

"Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year."

This step towards Obama's ideals of socialist unity and (organized and mandatory) common sacrifice for the next generation sounds a lot like communist East Germany's Free German Youth (FDJ), who were deployed in such rewarding and educational "community service" activities as ripping TV antennas off people's roofs that could be used to pick-up West German broadcasts, and informing on their neighbors to the Stasi. Again, totalist sects are based upon selfless service to the group above all else, and the youth are most pliable and vulnerable. 

A President Obama "calling" on all us to serve his collectivist agenda , and attacking those who understand the job-destroying nature of his planned tax increases as "selfish", etc. should sound frightening to any American for whom the ideals of individualism, entrepreneurial ambition, and (voluntary) charity are what made this country great.

No more reassuring are Mr Obama's plans for a "civilian national security force" (militia?), which he shockingly said in July would be "just as powerful and well-funded as the U.S. Military" (as well as a new "Health Corps" and "Clean Energy Corps"). "Security for who?" is the question that quickly comes to mind, as Hitler had the same kind of security apparatus, staffed with his most loyal followers in the SS (Schutzstaffel, or "shield squadron"). The infamous SS was also a powerful parallel security force outside the command structure of the Army, who received the best of everything... and was heavily politicized. 

Mr Emanuel's extensive background in the art of ballet may well have lent him the intense self-discipline and focus he has displayed in his political career, but the eerie totalism many ballet organizations have in common with cults is actually well documented, and seems to mirror a mind-set in common with the most fervent of Obama's following (couldn't have made this stuff up):


"Doctrine over Person", in which "replaces human experience with ideology. Past events can be rewritten, altered, and ignored in order to conform to ideological myths." "The “Sacred Science”- implies that there is “absolute truth” that is beyond questioning.... teachers and cults often will claim that they are the “best”... their form of ballet is the “best;” ... all others ... are impure." "Mystical Manipulation- is designed to create a mystique around the group and its goals, and that “truth” transcends reality and the individual.... teachers insist that “art” requires great sacrifice including family, friends, and, eventually, the self; they state that ballet (or, fill-in-the-blank) is the “highest” art and there is nothing more noble; and encourage students to view themselves as “keepers of the 'truth''.

While de-programming of the delusional Obama cult can't start soon enough for the sake of this country, coming events should eventually steer America back towards it's admirable tendency to self-correct. The question is just how much redistributionist pick-pocketing, how much "Great Society" style-programs, how much constitutional revision, how much damage to American individualism and the culture of entrepreneurship, and how much international humiliation, and how much reconstruction of American society along both totalist and totalitarian lines we will have to endure before this country finally snaps-out-of-it... and that's what I'm worried about.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Superbly written.

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