January 13, 2020

EXCEPT THE REVEREND MOON WAS AT LEAST DEVOTED TO MARRIAGE AND FAMILY VALUES:

Call Trumpism what it is: a cult (VIRGINIA HEFFERNAN, JAN. 10, 2020, LA Times)

The discourse around cults partakes of some woolly theories. "Mind control" and "brainwashing" are shibboleths from the 1950s, when the coinages were used to describe what Chinese Communists did to convert freethinkers to their cause. The implicit suggestion is that unsavory ideas and ideologies can only win adherents using extreme and witchy measures.

All that put me off the notion of Trumpism as a cult. But then in August, Trump looked heavenward and called himself "the chosen one."

Suddenly, among evangelicals, it wasn't enough to make comparisons with Cyrus or even King David. He had to be the savior himself. The far-right radio host Wayne Allyn Root called Trump "the second coming of God." Then former Energy Secretary Rick Perry straight up affirmed Trump's craziness, telling him, "You are here in this time because God ordained you."

As 2019 drew to a close, my doubts about Trumpism as a cult dissolved. And I'm not alone.

Republican lawyer George Conway reportedly described his wife, Trump's presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway, as a member of a cult. Former GOP strategist John Weaver has used the term. Anthony Scaramucci, Trump's onetime communications director, concurs. Also news vet Dan Rather, conservative political scientist Norman Ornstein, science journalist Steve Silberman, pastor John Pavlovitz and academic and journalist Jared Yates Sexton.

What the cult diagnosis may lack in scholarly rigor, it makes up for in explanatory power. When polled, far too many Republicans come across as having abandoned their commitment to libertarianism, family values or simple logic in favor of Trump worship. They're lost to paranoia and factually unmoored talking points, just the way Hassan was lost to Sun Myung Moon.



Posted by at January 13, 2020 3:58 PM

  

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