The Cult of Conservatism

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Thomas Veil, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #1
    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.
     
  2. niuniu macrumors 68020

    niuniu

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    #2
    Oooh. Popcorn thread. Very in :D

    People who tend to hate and have a 'common enemy' have more cohesion. I'll just leave that out there. Also I think all religions should be called cults. It's unfair that newer religions get called cults and the older ones not so. Age shouldn't have anything to do with it - weird is weird.
     
  3. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    #3
    You get the popcorn; I'll get Brent Musberger, Dick Vitale, and a Spanish Soccer announcer to handle the play-by-play. :D

    BL.
     
  4. MorphingDragon, Feb 21, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012

    MorphingDragon macrumors 603

    MorphingDragon

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    #4
    [​IMG]

    Brah...
     
  5. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #5
    One other feature of virtually all conservative 'cults' is an obsession with sexual purity (especially for women) and an almost insane need to control women, chiefly by culturally conditioning women (and the wider society) to expect (and desire) to be confined to the 'private' space, and, above all, to limit their their reproductive choices, by control, and by limiting economic independence and access to education.

    I have to say that I have found the gradual acceptance of ever more insane theories and ideas in parts of the US public space by what are loosely termed conservatives to be an unnerving experience. And it is getting worse.

    The 'tea party' used to be dismissed as a manifestation of a lunatic fringe. As an historian whom I knew once put it when writing about fanatical religious groups, "Perhaps it is only a lunatic fringe but it is of interest as a symptom. One can learn something of the tendencies in a society by observing on which particular fringe of it the lunatics break out." The tragedy, of course, is that the tea party and their fellow travellers are no longer really considered part of a lunatic fringe. Unfortunately, they and their beliefs, have become mainstream.

    I had just started university when Reagan was elected President and I remember thinking that this was a poor joke in appalling taste, but that the US electorate would learn and that his period in office would be an aberration. Instead, it was merely the start of an intellectual and economic assault by the right on the very values of a civilised society.
     
  6. niuniu macrumors 68020

    niuniu

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    #6
    Do you think there's a link between conservatism and repression? Would explain those 'stoutly' anti-gay types who end up caught in seedy situations

    Grant Storms - anti-gay protestor and Pastor and all round traditional moral value type. Liked playing with himself. At playgrounds.
    [​IMG]

    Troy King - Alabama Atorney general and anti-gay rights activist
    Caught with a homecoming KING from Troy University
    [​IMG]

    George Rekkers - started an anti-gay lobbying group and wrote articles on how to grow up straight. Well. Picture tells you all you need to know.
    [​IMG]

    Pastor Eddie Long - said his Church could save gays from themselves and turn them straight. Didn't mention that mutual masturbation and trips to hotels was part of the deal.
    [​IMG]

    Pastor Ted Haggard - was leading his congregation down the straight and narrow until he was outed by his 3 year mantoy and fellow meth user.
    [​IMG]

    Roy Ashburn - loved voting against gay rights Bills. Also loved men and gay bars.
    [​IMG]

    Major Jim West - tried to have gays banned from schools and wanted teenagers to be criminalised if they touched each others naughty bits. Something that he liked to save just for himself - for 25 years. Mostly just boys and young men.
    [​IMG]

    There's so many more.. that Ranker site has loads and there's more all over the net. More high profile ones that I expected :D
     
  7. MorphingDragon macrumors 603

    MorphingDragon

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    #7
    Is it wrong that I want him to take off his shirt. :eek:

    Such a waste of good eye candy.
     
  8. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

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    #8
    Also, as much as I am devoted to Gay Rights, I might think twice before arguing with the good Reverend. I'm a Gay Rights advocate, but I'm not suicidal.:eek:
     
  9. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #9
    To each his own. At least your honest about it. :)

    Roid rage can only be months away, so I agree that you make a wise choice.
     
  10. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #10
    It's the cyclical culture wars time again....
     
  11. eawmp1 macrumors 601

    eawmp1

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    #11
    We can try and marginalize the through demonization, but what's scary is they have blind followers in great numbers, money, and a whole lot of power.
     
  12. Happybunny macrumors 68000

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    #12
    To me it's seems like the republicans are hard wired to hate, anybody that looks like they are having a good time.
     
  13. mcrain macrumors 68000

    mcrain

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    #13
    Not hate, fear.

     
  14. niuniu macrumors 68020

    niuniu

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    #14
    So basically we need to dope them with anti-anxiety drugs before entering a discussion :D
     
  15. mcrain macrumors 68000

    mcrain

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    #15
    Or do a better job of messaging. They "fear" what they do not understand, and liberals keep trying to get them to understand. That doesn't work. The better course would be to point out the dangers of the things they are overlooking. Lower taxes aren't a good thing, they are dangerous, and here is why. Massive income and wealth inequality isn't culture war, but exactly the type of thing that can destroy our civilization, and here's how.

    The problem as I see it is that Republicans are scared of the wrong things because the only people telling them what to be afraid of are paid by the very people most republicans should be afraid of.
     
  16. SwiftLives macrumors 65816

    SwiftLives

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    #16
    Playing Devil's Advocate here...

    I assume that from the conservative viewpoint, Liberals get the exact same checkmarks on the cult questionnaire. I've encountered a disturbing number of people who are convinced that Liberals are all mindless sheep who hang on Obama's every stutter.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go attend our secret Liberal Media™ meeting to discuss how we're going to ruin the GOP frontrunner and get Obama re-elected by a safe margin.
     
  17. niuniu macrumors 68020

    niuniu

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    #17
    Are there any liberal groups like.. the Tea Party, you can think of? For the sake of comparison..
     
  18. SwiftLives macrumors 65816

    SwiftLives

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    #18
    From my personal perspective: no.

    From a conservative perspective: Occupy Wall Street.

    Although, I'm reasonably certain that neither OWS nor the Tea Party are relevant anymore.
     
  19. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #19
    Hollywood, NYC, Miami, SF, LA, Boston, the subways :D


    I disagree. Mitt Romney and his floundering campaign are proof the Tea Party still has some influence.

    As for OWS, kind of odd that one of Obama's central campaign themes has become income inequality. I think they had quite a bit of influence on his strategy.
     
  20. niuniu macrumors 68020

    niuniu

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    #20
    Forgot about OWS, though not as long lived or organizationally similar they were pretty out there true enough. What about an equivalent liberal foot-in-mouther to Sara Palin? :D
     
  21. WestonHarvey1 macrumors 68020

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    #21
    I love these little liberal groupthink threads. "Hey guys, did you ever notice that we're all perfect examples of mentally healthy highly evolved humans, and everyone else is part of a crazed cult?"
     
  22. SwiftLives macrumors 65816

    SwiftLives

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    #22
    Because all liberals think exactly alike?

    Do have have a differing opinion you'd like to offer? I really would love to see that questionnaire from a different point of view.

    Otherwise...I love these little conservative post-and-runs... :)
     
  23. mcrain macrumors 68000

    mcrain

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    #23
    Because all liberals think exactly alike?

    Do have have a differing opinion you'd like to offer? I really would love to see that questionnaire from a different point of view.

    Otherwise...I love these little conservative post-and-runs... :)
     
  24. Sedulous macrumors 68000

    Sedulous

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    #24
    I can't speak for "liberals" but what some people call "thinking alike" is sometimes also known as facts. Try not to confuse these.
     
  25. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

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    #25
    I saw one of them facts once. Big as a house if it was an inch, took a guys arm clean off. True story.
     

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