By CHERI ROBERTS for Challenging the Rhetoric
In the United States of America we talk about ‘extremist groups‘ as if they are distant from where or even who we are. The Tea Party is a perfect example of an American extremist group. Could they be an actual modern-day cult?
The extended definition of a cult leader with its explanation of isolation tactics is antiquated and does not address the invent of mass technology that connects people around the world at the push of a button. No longer does a cult leader need to isolate his follower’s ala Jim Jones. With enough contrived fear, control is easily manufactured by mass communication methods. In dividing by ideology while breeding fear, cult leaders can now achieve a more modern version of “isolation” on a grander scale.
What’s more, technology allows for easy indoctrination via frequency of message and today’s media consumers have been proven in studies to gravitate to media outlets that confirm their already ingrained biases. Frequency sells.
A Very Important Date
In 2008 I arrived back in California after a brief stint in Tennessee just in time to attend an activist march in sunny Santa Monica. When I arrived I was surprised and a bit let down that I saw more Ron Paul banners, signs and shirts than I did those regarding a new investigation into the events of September 11th [which BTW is what the long-planned march was supposed to be about]. Imagine my surprise when at the start of the festivities numerous “Boston Tea Party” hats were donned and a “Proclamation” was read. Little did I realize I was attending what turned out to be one of the first real political ‘Tea Party’ events in the United States.
In the brief time I had been away in another state, California’s 9/11 Truth Movement had gone through a transformation and many misdirected ‘Truthers” had erroneously glommed on to former U.S. Congressman, Ron Paul, because of the tease he would initiate a new investigation into the 9/11 murders. Truthers everywhere fell for it. Of course Ron Paul, like others, never followed through with any investigation.
A little more than 10% of American’s identify with the Tea Party whose stances are mostly revolve around limited Government, the Federal Reserve, ObamaCare and immigration.
Every Party Has a Host. Every Cult has a Leader.
If “End the Fed” Ron Paul was the impromptu host it was people like, Alex Jones, who became the leaders of the movement. The Tea Party’s roots stem specifically from Paul and Jones.
Although a mostly conservative group today, many progressive and third party voters also joined the early Tea Party movement. A new political fringe party — was born. However, quickly the Tea Party became known for their aggression, arrogance and intimidation factors. Many, if not most, were/are vapid followers of Jones’ hate breeding fear preaching shows Infowars and Prison Planet..
The word, ‘Cult’, is derived from the French word ‘culte‘ which came from Latin noun ‘cultus‘ which is related to the Latin verb ‘colere’ which means, ‘to worship or give reverence to a deity.’
- 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.
- Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).
- 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 leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).
- 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, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).
- The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.
- Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.
- The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
- The group is preoccupied with making money.
- Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
- Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.
- 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.
It’s Their Party, They Can Lie If They Want To
Hypocrisy runs deep in any society, but is especially so when it comes to political parties or even social justice movements. Often leaders are busted for not practicing what they preach and Tea Partiers are no exception. Tea Party members are quick to forgive their own
cult sisters or brothers and make self-righteous excuses for their bad behavior.
Gun totting, “Christian values” preaching Holly Fisher’s philandering and lying escapades are a prime example of this disassociative behavior. The very real elitist attitude within the Tea Party is ironic since the majority of them are often found lambasting and educating on, the so-called “elite”. Lock-stepping line dances around reality are par for the course with any cult and this group thinks waving Bibles and guns around gives them a free ride to be hypocritical assholes and claim a Constitutional right to be so.
The flack that Holly Hobby-Lobby has received from non-fans over her affair and the mountain of lies that followed has little to do with the forgivable fact that everyone makes mistakes and instead has everything to do with the fact this woman has been an offensive in your face poster child for all things Christianly clean and a representation of what it means to be a Tea Partier.
In addition, Tea Party members are mostly responsible for many of the “everything is a conspiracy” conspiracies perpetuating countless viral “hoax” stories at the same time they thrust their phony “family values” and ultimately not-so “Christian” beliefs in front of any willing audience or camera.
Guns, God, Racism & Hate Is OK-K-K
There is little question race has been a major topic in the last couple of years and some of the loudest and most offensively racist mouths come from America’s Tea Party. A former CTR co-host (and her friends) paint the ugly truth of hate and racism in some of their latest Facebook posts…
The post is mild in comparison to most others you will find, but you can clearly see this example for what it is. There is a wealth of evidence highlighting the biggoted views of this groups ideology and according to them all ya gotta do is say, “Amen”, and if that doesn’t work? Wave that gun a little higher, or get a bigger gun. Some Tea Party members have direct ties to hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).
Although most demographics describe the Tea Party as one made up mostly of men who are white, married, older than 45 who regularly attend religious services and are conservative, the Christian Science Monitor says differently,
“ … polls suggest that tea party activists are not only more mainstream than many critics suggest, but that a majority of them are women, not angry white men.”
If the shoe fits …
Tea Party members openly talk about violence and their intent to use it any time they should deem it to be necessary. And, violent fearmongering rhetoric spewed from mouths like talk show personality, Alex Jones, only fuels their paranoia and rage. They have a running list of grievances they will fight to the death for, many of which revolve around gun rights and immigration. They often refer to Constitutional rights as their, “God given rights” and in fact invoke God often as if He is on their side and their side alone; even though they are just as fallible and sinful as Holly Fisher proved in such a grand way.
I am pretty sure God [or Jesus] isn’t walking around somewhere brandishing an AR-15 aggressively bullying anyone He comes in contact with if they differ in their views. I’m pretty sure He wouldn’t support negativity, aggression, hate, and the willingness to let one’s fellow countrymen go without food, shelter or care. I am even pretty sure He too would forgive Fisher her sins, but first she would have to actually repent instead of make excuses and ride on a fresh wave of popularity.
If you like this or other Challenging the Rhetoric articles, please share it with others; follow our website, Facebook page and/or follow us @CTRNewsFeed on Twitter. Don’t forget to listen to the LIVE show every Weds. @6pm PST/9pm EST. Thank you!
Please also read other articles published by Challenging the Rhetoric contributors:
- Mass Media and the Age of Pundits
- Are YOU an Extremist?
- Cuba and the United States: The Last Cold War Gets Warmer
- Chris Matthews Says Tea Party “Not Far” From Being White Supremacist Party
- Israel Taken Off The Map
- LIAR OF THE WEEK: James Mitchell the Torture Architect
- Dick Cheney Says He’ s ‘OK’ with Killing Innocents
- How Corporations Take Over Small Communities
- Countless US Torture Photos May Soon Be Released
- What Happens to Pot Prisoners Now That it’s Legal?
- Did the Arizona Highway Patrol Capture a Sasquatch Family on Cam?
- Are Two [Penis] Heads Better Than One?
- A Video Game for Your Vagina: Guess Where the Controller Goes?