From David Cay Johnston of DC Report: Will Republican Cultists Die For Their Dear Leader?
Years ago when I was a devout member of a Christian cult I got a visit from a local public hospital rep asking me why I had not let my infant child be vaccinated against whooping cough. My child survived a severe attack of whooping cough by luck or chance but I thanked God for not letting him die. One of the great evils of some religious cults is that they reject science and choose to trust their distinctive world view to see them through any life and death crisis. In some places civil authorities intervene for the welfare of children who are endangered by their parents’ beliefs. Compare a Trump follower:
And what about the 11-month-old baby of Kayleigh McEnany, Trump’s press secretary? McEnany has tested positive after again and again showing her fealty to the imaged great leader by going mask-less. Does anyone doubt that if McEnany were a poor black or brown woman—or a Jew or Muslim in a Bible Belt county—that child protective services would be investigating whether to remove the infant Blake for her own safety?
Norman Swan: What’s your analysis of what’s going on in the Centres for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration? I mean, the Centres for Disease Control wrote the textbook on pandemic control.
Eric Topol: Well, somehow that textbook got lost or got thrown away. The reason why we failed so much is because both the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration were basically taken out. This has been a White House Trump-run response to the pandemic. Robert Redfield who runs the CDC has not had any presence. There are things, as I think you know, that are just extraordinary, just despicable how the weekly morbidity mortality report that the medical community relies upon was manipulated and censored. There were guidelines put out about not doing testing, not doing testing on people without symptoms but exposed. I mean, all sorts of things that were done to the CDC by Trump in the White House, by ill-informed advisors, a neuroradiologist that Trump brought in to crowd out Tony Fauci.
So we are in disarray. The agencies who we would depend on totally are not even being able to do what they need to do. The FDA has issued emergency use authorisation for convalescent plasma, claimed that it reduced mortality by 35%, which it has no data to support that, and made it in a so-called very historic breakthrough on the evening before the national convention for Trump. So we are seeing things that…you just can’t make this stuff up, it’s nightmarish.
David Cay Johnston continued:
This is what happens when a cult arises. The leader is special and believers most demonstrate without even being asked that the messages the leader conveys have been internalized. And if he uses tricks and deceits to fool the public you must go along to remain in his good graces even if it exposes you and your newborn to sickness, lifelong health problems and even death.
The reason, rationality and civil debate envisioned by our Founders and Framers have no place in Trump’s anti-democratic cult. All that matters is loyalty to the leader, a loyalty that runs only one way.
Trump devotees do not believe in faith healing but as a movement they do believe in maintaining their political faith in living by anti-science, anti-intellectual, anti-modernist pronouncements of their leader. They justify their stance the same way each religious asserts and justifies its difference from other cults that have the same type of faith: appeals to special knowledge of their leaders not widely known to the public.
I recall Tamas Pataki’s description of fundamentalism as it applied not only to religious but also to political groups. Some of his points:
1. They (fundamentalists) are counter-modernist. It (fundamentalism) manifests itself as an attempt by “besieged believers” to find their refuge in arming themselves with an identity that is rooted in a past golden age. And this identity is acted out in an attempt to restore that “golden past”.
2. They (fundamentalists) are “generally assertive, clamorous, and often violent”.
3. They are “the Chosen”, “the Elect”, “the Saved”. And as such, they are “privileged” or “burdened” with a special mission on behalf of their deity and for the benefit of the world.
4. Public marks of distinction are needed to maintain their sense of superiority and distinctive identity. Not only for the purpose of maintaining that distinctive identity but also as “part of the narcissistic struggle to be considered unique and special.”
5. There is only one true religion; there is only one correct way of life; and these must be defended against inroads from other religions and secularism.
6. There is an inerrant holy book, prophet or charismatic leader to whom literal obedience is mandatory.
In the world of political populism the followers embrace the vision of their leader. Their whole sense of reality begins and ends with the pronouncements of their populist leader.
I never expected to see anything so retrograde taking over the United States, least of all at a time when following science and professionals is more necessary than ever to understand, admit and tackle so many major challenges. (Nor did I ever expect to see the “dear leader” propaganda videos that are undeniably a par with what we associate with totalitarian regimes, past and present.) The total denial of reality, the calling truth lies, calling dishonesty honesty, belief in bizarre conspiracy theories, it does look very much to me as though much of the United States has indeed broken itself off from reality and closeted itself in a cult fantasy world.
My god, if Biden-Harris win the coming election they better take on the root causes of all of this total madness:
Trump draws crowds because the majority of Americans have real economic grievances, as I’ve written about for decades including these recent DCReport pieces. Indeed, Trump ran for office using many of the phrases he heard me say on television about how Washington policies hurt 90% of Americans.
While he pledged in his inaugural address that “the forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer” his actions documented by DCReport show that he never gave them a thought.