Cult

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Cult.jpg
Cult.jpg
This article is about various cults, what are they, what do they do, and what does it mean? Well the word comes from cultus, latin for worship. The definition is usually pejoratively used to refer to a group or sect bound together by veneration (worship) of the same person, object, beliefs, or goal. It's also used for anything that veers from popular or correct norms -- so usually they have a false idol, believe in a false prophet/leader, or have quirky beliefs and practices -- and will stick to beliefs despite any evidence that contradicts them. So there are things you can look for that differentiate a sect or clique, from something that's gone full cult.


While you can't judge all individuals by the group behavior, you can judge the group by the group averages. If there are traits in common to the group, that's hinting that it is a group dynamic. They might be filtering, intentionally or unintentionally. But either way, if you ride with outlaw bikers, don't be shocked if you end up in a bar fight.
(1) Tribalism: If there's differences in rules or treatment for insiders versus outsiders, that's a hint away from healthy group psyche.
(2) Hypocrisy: If the movement refuses to be introspective and admit it's own flaws or it's leaders don't live by their own rules, another hint.
(3) Ignorance: If the majority of the followers are low-information, prefer to argue feelings over facts, or fall back to talking points or fallacies like appeal to celebrity, authority, popularity? That's a hint.
(4) Intolerance: How do they respond to divergence of thought, identity or behavior, is one of the stronger indicators of whether it's a cult. Cults demand conformity.
(5) Transparency: How open is an organization, their finances or their leadership? Public versus private rituals or beliefs? A secret society and lack of transparency is cultish.
(6) Paranoia: Being paranoid and into conspiracies (especially doomsday ones), especially without some valid reasons, is a strong sign. So Jews or Mormons being a little paranoid has some valid history and justification, thus deserve a bit more leeway. Democrats in Academia or the Media? That deserves finger-ear orbits: the American Sign Language gesture for cult.
(7) Ability to leave: If adherents can leave, and not be ostracized or attacked? That's a good sign for a group. If they will be ostracized, maligned or attacked? It is not.
(8) Abuse: Demands for conformity, litmus tests for being devout enough, punishments for non-compliance with micro-managing norms? Cult, cult, cult.
(9) Insecurity: If adherents constantly try (and fail) to measure up to their exalted leader or absurd standards? Guilt, doubts, unworthiness are not signs of a healthy organization/individual psyche.
(10) Eccentricities A little is fine, a lot is not. Cults start differentiating themselves with alternate language/terminology, dress, mannerisms, or history. Those divergences from norms (and reality), aren't good signals.
(11) Prophets: If the leader is revered and infallible, and becoming more than a flawed human, then that's another strong hint of losing touch with reality.
(12) Extremism: a lot is about degrees and balances, which is what makes the lines a bit fuzzy. You can disagree, but how much? I once had a coworker shriek "No" in pain, like I'd physically struck her, because I'd mentioned some of the mis-assumptions people make on organic farming. Not a healthy reaction. But someone just politely saying, "I disagree and here's why" is completely reasonable. It's the old, "I'll know it when I see it".
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Cults


Cargo Cult -
Cargo-cult.png
There is a true story about some South Asian Islanders (Melanesians) that sort of sums up a lot of human behavior for me. During WWII, Americans used small islands as airbases to launch various attacks against the Japanese (and vise versa). When they war ended, they left. Later, someone went back, and found that on one of the islands the landing strips hadn't grown over. And when they got there, they found that decades later the natives had built a whole religion around the airbase. They had made mock-up planes out of straw and bamboo, had kept the strips clean, and had various relics and artifacts that they used in their rituals.

When the westerners talked to the natives they learned that the natives were trying to lure back the planes; because the planes held mana from the Gods, called "Cargo". Cargo was all sorts of magical things that the islanders didn't have or understand, but they wanted. They didn't know who the men were that tended to the planes or who were the priests of this Cargo, but they knew that if they mimicked them, that maybe they could lure the planes and Cargo back. The Cargo-cult, as they were named, built a religion around things that they didn't understand and on the fables of the people that had been there but couldn't accurately describe what they had seen. (I don't know enough about other attributes about the Melanesians to know how to score them on all the other aspects -- but as they were the opposite of hateful of outsiders, I don't think they would actually score very high at all).

I've always felt the Cargo Cult, and other religions were the exact same thing; Mans need to describe things that are beyond his comprehension.


DNC Cult -
Democrats
Tribalism
Hypocrisy
Ignorance
Intolerance
Transparency
Paranoia
Leavability
Abuse
Insecurity
Eccentricity
Prophets
Extremism
Level 6️⃣ 8️⃣ 9️⃣ 6️⃣ 5️⃣ 5️⃣ 7️⃣ 8️⃣ 7️⃣ 8️⃣ 9️⃣ 6️⃣
Total
70%
84/120
Is the DNC (Democrats) a cult? Of course that matters how you define a cult. And it's a spectrum with no pure black or white. Are you talking about the leadership, the vocal personalities, or the voters? I'm talking about personalities and leaders -- the voters tend to be a little more moderate (at least in the middle of the country), but moderate Democrat is becoming an oxymoron. There were moderate factions like the fiscal conservative Democrats (called Blue Dogs), or the socially conservative Democrats. But the social conservatives have been retiring and dying out over generations: I can't think of one left. Pelosi/Reid got the Blue Dogs either whipped into shape as far lefties in all but name, and that got most of the faction driven out: <10% of house or senate calls themselves Blue Dogs, but even that's in name only. In the meantime the radical Democratic Socialists are gaining power and driving narratives. So the center mass of the party is far, far to the left of where it was a generation or two ago. And with the 47 Presidential Candidates all trying to win the primary by being more to the left of the next one, they are just one a few balcony speeches away from invading Poland.
Global Warming Cult -
Global Warmists
Tribalism
Hypocrisy
Ignorance
Intolerance
Transparency
Paranoia
Leavability
Abuse
Insecurity
Eccentricity
Prophets
Extremism
Level 🔟 🔟 8️⃣ 🔟 8️⃣ 3️⃣ 4️⃣ 9️⃣ 2️⃣ 1️⃣ 7️⃣ 5️⃣
Total
64%
77/120
Is Global Warming (Climate Change) a cult? Overall, it's a very big and diverse tent. The majority of proponents are tribal, ignorant, intolerant, hypocrites, and they do some idol worshiping of the prophet of the moment. They are paranoid about the environment which is a conspiracy theory of sorts, but not that much else. They will try to ruin, silence, or attack those that leave. But they aren't that insecure, abusive to their own, or even extreme (a few exceptions) or eccentric (more gullible). And that's the worst faction: the mindless follower advocates regurgitating what their press tells them that their priests are telling them (and a fanatical mouthpieces/politicians). But they do have the lazy followers that aren't nearly that fanatical. I hear they have some informed followers, I just haven't met one (despite trying). They have people that want to lead the cult, but they come and go -- and there are a lot of real scientists just publishing papers that often get exaggerated or taken out of context by the Press. So there's certainly cult-like behaviors by some factions. But there's so many divergent groups and agendas and behaviors, that it's too loose and diverse a grouping to be a real cult, even if there is a cult hiding inside there.
Google Cult -
Googlers
Tribalism
Hypocrisy
Ignorance
Intolerance
Transparency
Paranoia
Leavability
Abuse
Insecurity
Eccentricity
Prophets
Extremism
Level 9️⃣ 8️⃣ 3️⃣ 7️⃣ 5️⃣ 5️⃣ 5️⃣ 5️⃣ 8️⃣ 5️⃣ 8️⃣ 6️⃣
Total
62%
74/120
Give academic college snowflakes more money than some governments, and tell them that they were the smartest kids in the room (like their mommies did), and they might believe you. And their obscene success means they skip a lot of life's harder lessons, and the wisdom that usually imparts. They get to invent a culture based on a College Kids idealism and naiveté, with unexpected (for them) results.

Sloganeering and their own "in" lingo, hiring and work practices that they thought skimmed the very best, was actually a filter against intellectual diversity, and seems more in home in Jonestown, Guyana than in Silicon Valley. Even their unofficial motto, "Don't be Evil", begs the question, "what is Evil?" -- and to them it was a college marxists view of the world to hate everything they were going to become. So in order to be a good employee you had to put your corporations evolving ethics above your own, or you left (or were driven out). And the stock growth was enough to keep most people in place, becoming more evil, while seeing everyone that disagreed with them as outsiders (and thus Evil). They became their parents.


Jim Jones -
Jonesian Democrats
Tribalism
Hypocrisy
Ignorance
Intolerance
Transparency
Paranoia
Leavability
Abuse
Insecurity
Eccentricity
Prophets
Extremism
Level 🔟 9️⃣ 9️⃣ 8️⃣ 🔟 🔟 🔟 🔟 9️⃣ 8️⃣ 9️⃣ 🔟
Total
93%
112/120
You've probably heard of Jim Jones, the Jonestown cult, and references to drinking the Kool-aid. And you might have heard the basics that 900 people died in Jonestown, Guyana on November 18, 1978, because a religious cult leader convinced them drink the cyanide laced Kool-aid, and commit mass suicide. But if you don't know that Jim Jones was the first trans-racial Marxist, given the MLK award, was called the most influential Democrat on the West Coast, and was supported by Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, George Moscone, Milk, John Burton, Diane Feinstein, and was appointed to head Housing and Human Services in San Francisco, then you've been a victim of propaganda, and don't really know what happened. He started a far-left Cult by promising everything the left ever wanted in one place, and when it turned out like leftist utopias always do, he did what many leftists resort to: killing their own rather than admitting their mistakes. Following in those footsteps, the media/left does their best to suppress that part of the story, or waive it off as "not real socialism" (aka the appeal to purity or No true Scotsman fallacy).
Obamabot Cult -
Obamabots
Tribalism
Hypocrisy
Ignorance
Intolerance
Transparency
Paranoia
Leavability
Abuse
Insecurity
Eccentricity
Prophets
Extremism
Level 9️⃣ 🔟 8️⃣ 7️⃣ 5️⃣ 5️⃣ 7️⃣ 6️⃣ 9️⃣ 8️⃣ 🔟 7️⃣
Total
76%
91/120
Were Obama supporters a cult? The average Obama voter was not, they were just lazy/sloppy and uninformed voters (mostly) that put him in because of racial identity, youth, charm, or he promised more free stuff than the other guy. So I'm not talking about them, and that's probably 50% or more of the voters. But the most vocal supporters, the media fanboi's, the activists? Those that got tingles up their legs when he spoke, and refused to admit things he did to hurt the national interests, undermine the constitution, or revise the historical record? Those are the Obamabots (now called NPC's) that were definitely in a cult of personality. You can tell within 5 minutes of talking to them when they start rewriting history as the hagiography of Saint Obama and his angelic wife. This might not be the majority of the Democratic Party, but they were the majority of the vocal ones during his election and the first few years especially... but some die hards will still talk about him in hushed revered tones. Of course there are at least a few Republicans that are as bad with Trump... but they are just outnumbered 50:1 by Obamabots. While I've seen a few "Trump can do no wrong" types online, I knew hundreds of Obamabots. Most Trump supporters/voters I've know will readily admit his many flaws, but he's better than Hillary (or the alternative). While Obamabots will get red faced at the mention of any of Obama's many, many bad actions, and still can't admit much of what he did wrong. Benghazi, Fast and Furious, IRS abuses, spying on Trump, just mention any of those, and they'll go apoplectic that you would question the word of "The One".
RNC Cult -
Republicans
Tribalism
Hypocrisy
Ignorance
Intolerance
Transparency
Paranoia
Leavability
Abuse
Insecurity
Eccentricity
Prophets
Extremism
Level 3️⃣ 3️⃣ 6️⃣ 5️⃣ 4️⃣ 5️⃣ 4️⃣ 5️⃣ 2️⃣ 1️⃣ 6️⃣ 3️⃣
Total
39%
47/120
Is the RNC (Republicans) a cult? Of course that matters how you define a cult. And it's a spectrum with no pure black or white. Are you talking about the leadership, the vocal personalities, or the voters? I'm talking about personalities and leaders -- the voters tend to be even more moderate than the party leadership. But being that there's more diversity in the RNC than the DNC, it automatically makes a wider spectrum that includes the middle. You have the little-L libertarians, that are fiscally very conservative but socially very liberal. You have the blue collar and poor conservatives that are socially conservative, but fiscally very liberal (towards Social Programs) (Trump appeals to this group the most). You have the Tea-Party (which is almost a non-player) which is socially and fiscally very conservative. You have a few Neo-Cons (misnamed), which may be willing to force democracy through war -- and you have the isolationists. It's a big tent party, and their diversity means a lack of homogeny that is required to be a cult. But being under attack by the left (which controls the media and education and minds of the weak/young) means they do have some cult-like paranoia, clustering, attitudes towards outsiders, and some fanatics in the fringes that make them less than open-minded.

Conclusion

If someone says that the RNC is a bit of a cult, is there some truth? Sure. But it's less than the DNC by the measures that I care about. Do I think the Obamabots take fanboi'ism to levels of a cult? Certainly more of them do, and take it further than the average MAGA crowd follower. But that hardly makes the MAGA crowd completely saintly and without some flocking behaviors of their own. Google, Facebook, Netflix, and a few other valley companies tried to create corporate cultures through hiring practices and company cheerleading that made them look a bit fanatical to outsiders. (Drinking the kool-aid was a common phrase by outsiders for those interviewing there). But are they really that cultish? Of course it depends on which person you talk to. More than people punching a clock in a factory? For sure... but that doesn't mean they wouldn't quit in a heartbeat if a better opportunity came along, and other than some soft ridicule as a traitor, they're not exactly going to completely ostracized by their ex-co-workers for a complaint or another. How much you filter also matters, the wider the group the less likely you can keep common interest or the same degrees of fanaticism -- but that doesn't mean there isn't a core group, or even the leadership that are fanatical. If 5% are fanatical and they're not in leadership or spokesperson/celebrities in the movement? Who care? But if they're 25% and make-up the top echelon? I care.

I could go on, and on -- labelling how much I think something is a cult or not. Every special interest starts to put that their groups or individuals above others, and camaraderie can start tripping more and more points in this hyper-clique'ish and even cultish way. But the point to any project is getting people to agree on terminology and goals. What are the requirements? What do you measure (and incentivize)? So more this was an example of one way to do that. Define at least metrics that people can agree on. Then use those metrics to score something fairly objectively. And while there's some slop and disagreement on the exact numbers, both side can at least agree loosely on the process, and admit that their side isn't exactly saintly on the same scales. Or if they can't, then we know their minds have been taken over by their cult.

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