“The Republicans Aren’t a Party, They’re a Cult”

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:


Steve Benen writes the Political Animal blog at The Washington Monthly. He has an interesting post about a speech recently given by CNN political analyst Bill Schneider at UCLA.

CNN's Bill Schneider is hardly a liberal voice in media. He's a resident fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute think tank, and has offered some nasty anti-Democratic rhetoric on the air. So, when the CNN analyst spoke at UCLA yesterday, these weren't the kind of remarks most expected.

"The Republicans aren't a party, they're a cult."

"The moderates aren't a wing of the Republicans, they're a feather."

In each case, Schneider said he was quoting what people in Washington are saying to him. But he didn't seem to disagree.

As for the "cult" comment, Kevin Drum twists the knife: "[T]oday's GOP does seem to check most of the boxes in the International Cultic Studies Association's [checklist] 'Characteristics Associated with Cultic Groups.' Except for this one: 'The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.' That doesn't seem to be much of a priority for them these days."

Blogger Metavirus at Library Grape provides a summary of the checklist (h/t for the graphic too – Village of the Damned, 1995) (original emphasis):

Check out some of the items from the checklist put out by the International Cultic Studies Association entitled 'Characteristics Associated with Cultic Groups':

The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.

Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.

The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry—or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).

The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).

The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.

The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members' participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, [torture,] lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).

The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.

Let's just hope that no one in the GOP starts taking the "Kool-Aid drinker" meme too seriously…

0 responses to ““The Republicans Aren’t a Party, They’re a Cult”

  1. The comments are from Bill Schneider, a resident fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute think tank, about as right-wing as it gets (Cheney’s secret bunker is in the basement of AEI). It is far-right conservatives throwing stones at the GOP.

    “We report, you decide”… where have I heard this before?

  2. people who live in glass houses should not throw stones!

  3. Pot, Kettle. . . .

  4. I really like his quote: “Americans are pragmatists. A pragmatist thinks that if something works, it’s right. An ideologue believes that if something is wrong, it can’t possibly work, even when it’s working.”