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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  1. Regina Medina says:

    Hope none of them are thinking about traveling to Guyana or, worse yet, outer space, anytime soon. Thanks Library Grape for giving us a heads up about cults and Rs…

  2. Michael says:

    Lets be fair. That can be said about both parties as well as most religions.

    • Metavirus says:

      a fair point. it's not as if the question is "do all of these criteria apply or not" — it should be "to what degree do these characteristics apply". in my view, a lot of the characteristics described above are expressed more stridently in the GOP right now. i'm sure there will come a time when the fates will switch the parties but, right now, welcome to the Church of GOPtology

  3. INTJ says:

    "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)."

    This sounds more like the Democrats to me.

    • Metavirus says:

      well, it certainly applies to both parties to a degree. however, it's hard to imagine the GOP of today, with its full-throated attack on anything threatening the wealthy and the powerful in this country, as anything but the ones who are fully on the "elitist" end of the spectrum. some dems fall in this category too but the GOP has truly jumped the shark

      • Criti-cal says:

        If you did believe it applied to both parties you would have pointed that out in your first post, who's part of a cult? The hypocrisy.

        • Metavirus says:

          not sure how it's hypocrisy to make an assertion that doesn't take into account all counterarguments to the contrary. you might accuse me of being incomplete, but "hypocrisy" is a bit much

  4. BGIII says:

    That's sounds like the Dems to INTJ because INTJ is part of the cult, obviously, and he'll say anything to divert criticism from the cult.

  5. Schu says:

    This would explain the rants from Rush and Newt, and the fact that their life styles do not reflect their professed beliefs..For instance, neither can make a lasting marriage commitment.

    • Metavirus says:

      the irony/hypocrisy inherent in comparing their stance on gay marriage against their adultery/divorces is truly amazing

      • Criti-cal says:

        Agreed. Time to throw government out of marriage.
        Now lets be fair and point out the irony/hypocrisy in say……Barack Obama.
        We can start with racial equality.

        • Metavirus says:

          Fixed: "Time to throw federal government out of marriage." State governments will always be involved in issuing marriage licenses.

          "Now lets be fair and point out the irony/hypocrisy in say……Barack Obama.
          We can start with racial equality. "

          i actually have no idea where you're going with that…

    • The_Wreckade says:

      yes…they are becoming fanatical in their hold onto this failed party….they are done

  6. JDG says:

    To GOPers who think it's the Dems' devotion to Obama that's the real cult, consider this: those who lean to the left have already shown a willingness to criticize him (Paul Krugman, Arianna Huffington, for example). And if Obama does make serious mistakes, I'm betting there will be plenty of other Dems who'll actually admit it.

    Contrast that with Bush. Even after his massively destructive blunders--a mismanaged war, for example--most Republicans with a megaphone only clung tighter to their infallible leader.

    Those of us who admire Obama don't think he's the messiah. We just think he's very capable, and so far hasn't made many provable mistakes. But Dems will continue to base their conclusions on evidence--exactly the opposite of religion or cults.

    • SillyGit says:

      The entire 'Obama is the Messiah' nonsense is a wholly fabricated canard based on the psychological notion of projection. Projection is the core competency of the wrong wing. I don't know a single democrat that thinks Obama is a messiah. A very competent and intelligent leader yes, messiah no.

      • R Joseph says:

        The entire 'Bush is the Messiah' nonsense is a wholly fabricated canard based on the psychological notion of projection. Projection is the core competency of the left wing. I don't know a single Republican who thinks Bush is a messiah. A very competent and intelligent leader yes, messiah no.

  7. Tom says:

    No the dems are the cult….With Pelosi and Reid leading the way. If anybody in theyre party even utters a breath against Obama…they are cut off at the knees and banished to the Capitol dungeon for lashes and advanced interogation. LOL…oops I forgot none of them know of the techniques….LOL

  8. GOPHater says:

    I picked up the jargon at my latest tea party from some Palin supporters such as your stupid self.

    • Schu says:

      I am glad you know me so well, since I have not voted for a Republican for any position since 200,, and campaigned for the current president. I just think that an intelligent discourse is much better than name calling.

  9. memosyne says:

    The United States of America is changing as it always has. The GOP base is having trouble recognizing reality as it changes. For me the definition of a cult is that the believers confuse ideology with reality. The GOP represents folks who don't want anything to change. But you can't sweep back the tide. Change will come whether we want it to come or not. I'm 70 years old and I want younger leaders like Obama to step up to reality and do the best we can with it. I'm good with gay/lesbian marriage, women controlling their own bodies, and universal health care. Not so good with war and torture.

  10. Len Hart says:

    I have been saying for years that the GOP is a ‘kooky cult’. That has been apparent since the the administration of Ronald Reagan whose ‘deification’ by that ‘party’ is cult-like and dangerous. I fully agree with memosyne who writes that members of the GOP cult confuse their ideology with reality. As a result, they mistake effects for causes. They think ‘backward’ from conclusions to premises instead of the other way around. If an empirical fact is in conflict with GOP/right wing ideology, it must be dismissed out of hand. That explains why the GOP holds so dearly to creationism, supply-side economics (trickle down theory), and a panoply of ex post facto justifications for Bush’s mis-adventure in Iraq.

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