How the American left has devolved from a political movement into a cult
Progressivism has always been a quasi-religious faith, whose doctrines center on the perfectibility of man if only the educated classes (its very own priesthood) are able to command sufficient authority.
Marxism, too, is a faith, one that denigrates other religions as the “opiate of the people.”
Religions devolve into cults when they set themselves in opposition to the entire world outside their confines, and when they insist that their members hold unique insights and virtues, and so have a duty to shun and denigrate the “gentiles” (everyone else). Cult leaders understand that exposure to outsiders leads to a diminishment of commitment, and a decline of their own power.
The American progressive left has been on a glide path toward cult status for a long time, but the election of Donald Trump has accelerated the process considerably. A famous 2014 survey:
...found that liberals are more likely to dump a friend than conservatives over partisan leanings alone.
“Consistent liberals are more likely to stop talking to someone because of politics. Roughly a quarter (24 percent) have done so, compared with 16 percent of consistent conservatives and around 10 percent of those with more mixed political views,” the research says.
Liberals also tend get more riled by their social media contacts than their conservative counterparts.
The researchers queried Facebook users to see if they “have ever hidden blocked, unfriended or stopped following someone because they disagreed with something that person posted about politics.” The results: 44 percent of liberal respondents said they had ended that relationship — compared to 31 percent of conservatives, and 26 percent of the general population.
“When it comes to getting news about politics and government, liberals and conservatives inhabit different worlds,” the research noted.
It is a serious danger sign for any mass movement when the shunning of non-adherents becomes widespread. You don’t grow by shunning. You become an increasingly isolated minority. Like a cult.
Enter DNC chair Tom Perez:
Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez became the first head of the party to demand ideological purity on abortion rights, promising Friday to support only Democratic candidates who back a woman’s right to choose.
“Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health,” Perez said in a statement. “That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.”
“At a time when women’s rights are under assault from the White House, the Republican Congress, and in states across the country,” he added, “we must speak up for this principle as loudly as ever and with one voice.”
This is a confession of a cultist that outsiders must be shunned.
Or consider this survey of campus life at Dartmouth, the elite Ivy League university:
With only 11% of the campus mildly or strongly supporting President Trump, one would assume that the vast majority would feel so secure in their dominance that the others could be tolerated as mere curiosities. Not so:
By a decisive margin, Democrats prefer to not be exposed to a roommate whose political views are not their own, while strong majorities of Republicans and Independents have no such problem being exposed to contrary views.
This bespeaks insecurity as the basis for intolerance. It is what beleaguered cultists do.
Then there is the bizarre practice of virtue-signaling. A friend just sent me this picture of this description of a work of art in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City:
There is absolutely no reason related to art for the second paragraph to exist. It is purely a way of signaling membership in the Trump-hating cult.
By offering a personal target, the embodiment of success outside the clique of intellectuals/artists/journalists/academics that considers itself the kingmakers in our society, Donald Trump has provoked extreme, off-the-wall attacks on himself as a form of virtue-signaling. “We share your values and hate Trump too,” is the underlying explanation for the bizarre art description. “We are members of the cult, too.”
As cults go, the Trump haters are a very big one, and they are even richer than Scientology. Ruthless and greedy wealthy people can gain absolution for their sins through membership in, and support of, the cult.
Of course, the same was true of Communism. And how did that work out?