Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Cult of Conservatism

I've often wondered why it is so hard to have a political discussion with some conservatives. Rational argument seems impossible when the reponse is always a random spewing of meaningless nonsense. (See the comments in the post below for a good example).
I have a theory as to why this is. I believe a large segment of today's "conservative" movement has essentially developed into a cult. Like the classic definition of a cult, these people isolate themselves from regular society and adhere to a strict set of doctrine dictated to them by a small group of high priests and priestesses.
The isolation comes in the way that they shut themselves off from all forms of news and information except those that are approved by the cult - Fox News, Washington Times, NewsMax, rightwing radio, rightwing blogs, and so forth.
All other forms of communication are viewed as suspect and dismissed as heretical and false. The media personalities on these few approved outlets serve as the high priests of the cult - Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, etc.
They are the gatekeepers of truth for the cultists. Until they say that it is OK to believe something, it is rejected by the cult followers. They are, as a rule, paranoid and distrustful of all other forms of media as well as all forms of government and just about anybody and everybody not directly connected to their cult network.
I think this is why a cult leader like the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who runs the Washington Times, fits in so well with the rightwing movement today. Conservative cultists aren't bothered by Moon's beliefs that he is the "messiah", because he has the two things that the cult followers truly prize and worship above all else - money and power.
Now not all "conservatives" are total adherents to the cult. Mark for instance is not fully vested in the cult because his devotion to Catholicism overrides it in some instances. Others may be only partial converts at this point, but the clear direction of the Republican Party today is towards full embracement of the cult mentality.
Like the Scientologists that they resemble, the conservative cultists have an irrational fear of things they don't fully understand. For Scientologists, it is the fear of psychology. For conservatives it is the fear of "socialism" by which they mean any government program or initiative that veers away from a strictly hard-right ideology.
More on this later....

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