I saw a great post over at Steve Benen’s blog today on how the GOP of today meets 14 out of 15 of the core characteristics of a cult. 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.

That is just too brilliant for words. Apparently Bill Schneider, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute agrees:

“The Republicans aren’t a party, they’re a cult.”

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

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