Over in another thread, Happybunny suggested that Republicans have turned into a cult. I've kind of had similar thoughts as I see them departing further from reality. But I wondered, do they really share the characteristics of a cult? Are they that bad? So I checked an online source. Actually, this source offered several views of what constitutes cult-like behavior. I had to pick one, and I chose this one mainly because it's concise. Anyway. Let's see...does conservatism exhibit any of these traits? The group is focused on a living leader to whom members seem to display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment. Well, maybe not living, but...Reagan. Check. The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members. Well, so are liberals. No check. The group is preoccupied with making money. Hoo boy, are they ever. Check. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished. RINOs. Check. Mind-numbing techniques (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, debilitating work routines) are used to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s). Right wing radio and TV. For "chanting", substitute "repeated lies". Check. The leadership dictates sometimes in great detail how members should think, act, and feel (for example: members must get permission from leaders to date, change jobs, get married; leaders may prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, how to discipline children, and so forth). Just ask anyone who wants to marry within their gender or what Republicans think of people who live in California or the east coast. Check. The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s), and members (for example: the leader is considered the Messiah or an avatar; the group and/or the leader has a special mission to save humanity). Are you kidding? These guys are the keepers of the Sacred Beliefs of the Founding Fathers. Check. The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which causes conflict with the wider society. In spades. Check. The group's leader is not accountable to any authorities (as are, for example, military commanders and ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream denominations). Well, Congress isn't particularly accountable these days. And just think of Citizens United. Check. The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify means that members would have considered unethical before joining the group (for example: collecting money for bogus charities). I don't know if these guys ever had ethics, but yes. Check. The leadership induces guilt feelings in members in order to control them. Not exactly "guilty", but they are made to feel like they should be grateful to "job creators". Check. Members' subservience to the group causes them to cut ties with family and friends, and to give up personal goals and activities that were of interest before joining the group. Well, not really, unless they refuse to deal with liberal family members. No check. Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group. Again, no one's forcing them. No check. Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members. Not in all cases, but home schooling certainly fills this bill. Half a check. Source. As you can see, conservatism fits quite a few of these characteristics. Full disclosure: further down the page (on that site), other people define other characteristics; but a lot of the same themes recur: power, money, control. And I'm sure you could also hang some of these traits on liberals. (And I'm sure someone will try.) But liberals tend to be a diverse bunch. Trying to get them to come to consensus on anything has been aptly compared to herding cats. So I think it's a lot harder to accuse them of cult-like behavior.