Is MAGA A Cult?

This post is about the possibility that all those who are avid MAGA followers are actually trapped in a cult? Let’s start off with some of the things that cults have in common. The article from which these quotes were taken was written almost ten years ago in the Guardian by Rick Ross who is an authority in the field of cults.

1. A charismatic leader, who increasingly becomes an object of worship as the general principles that may have originally sustained the group lose power. That is a living leader, who has no meaningful accountability and becomes the single most defining element of the group and its source of power and authority.
2. A process [of indoctrination or education is in use that can be seen as] coercive persuasion or thought reform [commonly called “brainwashing”].
The culmination of this process can be seen by members of the group often doing things that are not in their own best interest, but consistently in the best interest of the group and its leader.
Lifton’s seminal book Thought Reform and Psychology of Totalism explains this process in considerable detail.
3. Economic, sexual, and other exploitation of group members by the leader and the ruling coterie.

Source: The Guardian (2009)

All of this sounds uncannily like what is happening today, doesn’t it? But since the article was written almost ten years ago, it is impossible to claim it was tarnished by today’s circumstances.

  • 1) a charismatic leader who demands worship/loyalty – Yep
  • 2) Doing things against their own self-interest – Yep
  • 3) Economic exploitation – Yep

If this short description isn’t enough, let’s look at the 10 warning signs of a cult leader as further described by Mr. Ross:

Here are 10 warning signs …
• Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.
• No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.
• No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget or expenses, such as an independently audited financial statement.
• Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.
• There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.
• Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.
• There are records, books, news articles, or broadcast reports that document the abuses of the group/leader.
• Followers feel they can never be “good enough”.
• The group/leader is always right.
• The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing “truth” or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.

I guess I should have bolded what maybe didn’t apply to the MAGA movement instead of what does apply. It is almost eerie to see how all of this so accurately describes the MAGA cult leader, isn’t it? This article was written at a time when Trump was no more than a background nuisance, so you can’t argue that he is just picking on your president as you may think so many others do.

Coming to a conclusion here, It very much seems that the MAGA folks are entwined into a cult to one degree or another. So, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck it must be…

I gotta study this some more. The one thing I do know is that those trapped in a cult almost never recognize that they are trapped in a cult. I want to learn how we can prevent something like this from happening again? More on that later…

Will The MAGA Folks Ever Realize They’ve Been Duped?

One thing that has always astounded me is how all those senior citizens and lower-middle-class rural MAGA folks are being duped into supporting something that is very contrary to their existence? Why don’t they understand that almost everything their leader does will eventually hurt them? Why do they cling to him so?

When I came across a post from my blogging buddy and fellow Jesus Follower over at Things That Need To Be Said I realized that I have not considered all the possibilities as to the reasons why. It is a story about a son and his seventy-four-year-old mother.

“She just believes every word out of his mouth, everything she watches on FoxNews.” he said. “I can’t reason with her. It’s like talking to someone who’s been brainwashed. She isn’t the mother I knew.”

This is how cults work. They gradually alter people’s brains, attuning them to a singular voice, and weaponizing them against any dissenting opinions. To their manipulated minds, efforts to reach them with objective truth become acts of aggression against the one they see as divine—and trigger an ever-more passionate affection toward their leader. They will defend (even to relational death with people they once loved) that one person.

America is in a cultic crisis, and Trumpism is the cult.There is no other way to approach these days.

When you believe one man above Science, above our Intelligence agencies, above former CIA directors and retired generals and revered journalists—when you believe that one man above even your own eyes and ears—you are fully indoctrinated.

Source: John Pavlovitz

Could it really that simple and yet so complicated? That got me looking at the characteristics of cults and I was somewhat startled by the similarities I found!

I personally cannot fathom the possibility that I could ever be indoctrinated into a cult. My question everything foundations and strong will would never allow that to happen, at least I don’t think it would? But, I know that it happens to many, but the reason why escapes me.

I know this topic can’t be even lightly analyzed with just one post so I will finish it up my say on this topic tomorrow.

Is This The First Major Step?

Some of my more conspiracy-minded blogger friends say that the emergency declaration on the border is the first major step in dismantling our constitution. When a president with the flick of a pen can annihilate the principle of checks and balances, a fascist government will soon be on the way especially when there is no serious rebuke from the representatives who are losing power. When the Supreme Court can, due to weird circumstances, be packed with radical-right jurists, the third leg of government is also castrated. Is this a “perfect storm” that is happening now similar to what happened in Germany in 1933?

Can the people, without the support of spineless representatives take back our country? We just might be finding out the answer to that question in the coming months. I know we are just waiting for the dramatic music to play, as it does in the Armageddon movies we watch, to tell us it is really happening. But let me clue you in on something, that never happens except in the movies.

Democracy depends on norms, some written into the Constitution, others implicit in it.

Donald Trump regularly disparages or repudiates at least ten of these norms:

(1) an independent judiciary;

(2) the freedom of the press;

(3) the presence and function of independent actors within government;

(4) the peaceful resolution of political disputes rather than the encouragement of violence;

(5) the acknowledgment of the legitimacy of election results and recognition of the sanctity of the right to vote;

(6) to never threaten legal prosecution against political opponents;

(7) the condemnation of brutal foreign dictators;

(8) a respect for transparency within government;

(9) a sharp separation between the private and public interests of governmental officials;

(10) at least a minimal commitment to the truth.

These norms are essential to American democracy, yet Trump routinely violates them.


Tipping points most often happen without hardly a notice up front. Just ask the Germans whether they saw it coming. Will the destruction of our constitutional government cause a collapse or our country and maybe even the world? That is the question that needs to be asked, especially by those representatives who cowardly sit back and wait for someone else to do something about it.

Source; Holocaust Museum

I hope in the coming months and years I can look back on these words as one of those “the sky is falling” posts. I dream that I can look back and see that action was taken to prevent it from happening. But if history is any clue that’s not likely to happen. Tipping points, like the one we are about or have already crossed with global warming, usually happen silently with hardly a whimper from those whose lives are about to be destroyed.

This N’ That – Who’s The Liar-In-Chief?

Not Enough Teachers

I saw an interesting article in the New York Times recently that says that students seeking an education in computer science is being stifled by the lack of teachers/professors. I don’t know how much college educators make but I’m sure it is low compared to the likes of Silicon Valley’s six-figure salaries.

Many of today’s college-age students see their future in computer science so the number of people seeking degrees in that academic area has doubled in the last four years. Maybe the teacher shortage is a good thing as it will prevent an overabundance of graduates?

About Lying

I never thought I would see the day when our president would be known primarily as the Liar-in-chief, but the graph above proves that to be the case. I realize it only covers his first 10 months in office so it’s a little dated. I saw a more recent count that was 6,420 lies in 649 days in office. He lied more in his first month than Obama did in eight years! Why aren’t the MAGA folks upset about that is beyond my ability to imagine! But, then again, everything about the MAGA folks, except maybe for their willful ignorance, is beyond my understanding.

Keeping Up Hope

I suffer from depression more in the winter months than any other season of the year, and this season seems worse than some others. Sometimes I wonder why I am even putting in the effort to maintain two blogs that mainly deal with the problems of our times; one is about things religious and the other about political issues and overall life experiences.

Sometimes it’s necessary to step back and see what my heroes in life have to say about the times we live in. Gandhi’s words above help me to realize that humanity is more than the dirty people who are the most vocal.

Techie Saturday – eBooks vs Paper

This week in our series about eBooks I want to show you some of the advantages and misunderstood disadvantages of going electronic. If you missed last week’s post you may want to go back and review it by clicking here.

One of the most obvious advantages is that it saves trees. I don’t know how many, but I suspect it is in the millions. Fifteen years ago I got most of my monthly bills in the mail. I would then write a check and post it back to the mail. I think you get the idea. The world is going paperless, and that is a good thing.

Another advantage is as I mentioned last week, it saves shelf space for those of us who are avid readers. 95% of my books from the last at least five years now reside on a device that is about half the size of an average paperback. I have about three hundred books that now reside there.

Note taking is drastically simplified with ebooks. No longer do I need to scribble out unreadable notes about what I read. I don’t have to worry about earmarking pages and highlighting paragraphs in hopes that I can find them later. Highlighting text for retrieval later is done with the flick of the wrist and then stored away for easy search and retrieval.

Ok, now let’s look at a few perceived problems with ebooks. One is that you have to buy them instead of just getting them from the library. I know Kindle books pretty well so I will talk about that, but I’m pretty sure there are others who provide similar services. If you don’t want to buy a book just take it out of the Kindle Library. With Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited, there are about almost 1.5 million books you can borrow for free with no due dates, including current and former best sellers. I get about half my books in this mode. You can keep ten library books at a time. When you reach that limit you have to return a book in order to borrow a new one. To see more about this click here

One of the biggest perceived negatives is that some of us just don’t like to do extensive reading on what we see as a glaring computer screen. I personally spend a lot of time in front of my Mac and understand that problem. But there are now ebook readers that are pretty much the same as reading a paper book. The technology is called e-Ink. It was originally introduced in 2010 but has been improved drastically since then. One of the distinct advantages of reading ebooks is that they are subtly background lit so you can read them without having to turn on a light. That’s pretty important for us old guys, and for those bed reader who don’t want to keep their spouse up at night. Another is that you can make the text size as big as you want!

Next time I will close out this series by discussing the tools that make ebooks possible and what I consider the ultimate secret advantage of ebooks.

You Don’t What You Don’t Know

There are some people in this world who are just not opened to the possibility that they don’t know everything about everything. It’s interesting to note that mentality was one of the primary causes of “Early Middle Ages”, otherwise known a the “Dark Ages” between the years 500-1000. Basically, the church, which pretty much ruled the world after the fall of the Roman Empire, declared that everything God intends us to know has already been learned. This basically halted all scientific exploration as well as philosophical studies for a five hundred year period. Yeah, the church was that powerful!

Getting back to today’s “I already know everything” people, global warming can’t be true because they don’t believe it. In other words, if something is too complicated then it’s fake. They too often look for that single “silver bullet” that will cure everything. Everything that can’t be solved with gut feeling or a silver bullet just isn’t solvable to them.

Even if they are not formally educated on the subject they consider themselves to be “street smart” and that is all that matters to them. Many of this category likely make up the MAGA base.

In reality, the more knowledgeable you are the more you realize how much you don’t know. That brings to mind something I learned in my only philosophy course in college. The graphic below illustrates the concept.

The Extent of Knowledge

Just think of the box as the extent of knowledge available to you. The top left corner is what you know. The little box inside that box are the things you think you know but aren’t true. Then comes the bigger box of what you know you don’t know. And finally, there is what you don’t even know that you don’t know. Don’t think of the above as being to scale. In reality, the “what you don’t know you don’t know” will fill a football stadium!

Since I found so many neat illustrations I will leave this post with a few of them.

Getting back to the guy who thinks he is an expert on everything (you know who I am talking about), we must realize that he actually doesn’t know much of anything at all and a big majority of what he thinks he knows is wrong. But, the sad part of all of this is that those MAGA followers are even worse than he is, as they unquestionably believe him!