18 April 2008

Does this sound like YOUR coven / political party / affinity group?

If so, get a new one.

The means replace the end; loyalty substitutes for result; the group replaces life. That is no accident: the only true product of a cult is group members, desperately telling each other that they are an elite with the only answers to life’s questions. It becomes normal and commonplace to substitute certainty in place of truth, group loyalty in place of informed decision. As time goes on, one needs to believe in the group agreements in order to justify what he or she has done, the trashed families and so on.In such an environment, one is prevented from developing realistic understandings of self and the world.

(from Bob Penny's Social Control in Scientology)


  1. I see this happening to my own political group. It is an antiwar group, but it has been taken over by disciples of libertarian Republican Ron Paul. This part is especially resonant:

    "desperately telling each other that they are an elite with the only answers to life’s questions."

    It's impossible to engage these people on any of the normal human levels. I can build bridges with Christians by appealing to their sense of social justice and community, but the libertarians are overwhelmingly atheist, middle class, individualist, and anti-democratic. The "government-is-evil-only-the-free-market- can-save-us" meme is so powerful among these types of people that I can't get through to them, no matter how much I explain that socialism and State control of the means of production are not necessarily the same thing.

  2. Sorry to hear it. According to the friendly trolls at ED, Ron Paul has actually been elected President of the Intarwebz, and Limecat was at his inauguration. :-)

    Seriously, the whole "Ron Paul" thing could have only erupted in an Internet era, the overwhelming class content of Internet politics being the totally monadic individual - with one major exception. The mobilisation of Anonymous against Scientology has taken a different twist, since Anonymous in its nature is anti-egoist and thus we have a very egalitarian, collectivist style of both decisionmaking and action. Closer to how anarchists operate than to libertarians.

    Anyway, as a non-American, I am absolutely fascinated how libertarians, liberals, conservatives, neo-Nazis and the occasional leftist all claim this Texas obsetrician as "one of their own". I think it's the same underlying phenomenon as Barack Obama's campaign - since no candidate is permitted to stray to far from the Washington Consensus, whoever proposes exactly the same policies with the best style will clean up in the elections.