The former Bohemian individuality of the United States that existed during the Obama presidency has been replaced by a blind, ignorant loyalty to political factions. For instance, conservatives rarely acknowledge climate change as an issue, and liberals rarely acknowledge the existence of radicalized Islamic terrorism – instead of taking the time to form their own opinions regarding certain subjects, people are blindly conforming their beliefs to agree with those of party leaders. These people quickly rally to support their respective party’s hierarchy when turmoil arises. Is this merely being caused by social angst (fear of missing out on the conversation), or by a greater force?
How could we have become so submissive?
The answer is the rising phenomenon known as cultism.
I’m not speaking of cults in the manner the word’s connotation might suggest (devil-worship, the Manson Family, etc). I’m speaking of a new type of cultism that has leaked into our society through thought reform. Thought reform is an umbrella term for “any number of manipulative techniques used to convince people to conform to certain beliefs”.
The concept of thought reform itself is subject to wariness amongst some experts — they argue it’s merely propaganda designed to scare people away from new forms of religion or political movements. But most psychologists believe that cult brainwashing techniques are similar to thought reform because of their comparable methodology. In a study of past American wartime propaganda, Noam Chomsky (deemed to be the father of modern linguistics), clarifies just what can cause cultist movements:
“For those who seek freedom around the world, there can be no more urgent task to come to understand than the mechanisms and practices of indoctrination (thought reform)… in the propaganda system to which we are subjected to, we all too often serve as unwilling or unwitting instruments.”
We, as in you, and I…
…and Trump supporters.
The Republican party has undergone a clear transformation in the wake of the Trump administration’s agenda. Traditionally Republicans have favored immigration. Both President Ronald Reagan and President George W Bush extended amnesty to millions of undocumented workers while in office.
Conversely, President Trump’s views are some of the most extreme in American politics. He has gone on record claiming he will:
- deport nearly 11 million undocumented workers
- build a border wall (estimated to cost 67 billion USD) between the US and Mexico
- force Mexico to pay for the wall by threatening to ban Mexicans in the US from sending remittances home
- bar immigration from specific predominantly Muslim countries
This sudden change in Republican policy did not create turmoil between conservatives and tea partyists… ironically, it brought them together. Whilst Democratic voters evolved into the oversensitive, submissive softbodies they are today, modern conservatives underwent thought reformation to become the expanding cultist group we know as Trumpsters.
In no way is this a surprising change; Democrats fueled the fire by giving Trump what seemed to be a 24 hour live feed of their attention. Furthermore, Trump was depicted by conservative media as the perfect candidate to revive a struggling Republican party. ‘An advocate for change’; ‘the savior of the middle class’; ‘a shining figure of fame and fortune, descended from his gilded tower to rain hellfire upon liberals far and wide’. No matter what Trump has done or will do, his supporters continuously scramble about to justify his actions. The policy he pushes isn’t subject to debate. It is taboo to question whether he is right or wrong.
Sounds like one big ol’ cult to me.
What are my beliefs?
Am I standing for my beliefs?
Am I a hypocrite?
The sole weapon to combat thought reform is questioning. I encourage you to do so.