28th September 2012, 08:56 PM
Has the Republican Party become a cult?
Has the Republican Party become a cult? In my view, the answer is "yes".
There's much to recommend a true conservative party that is informed by the principles and values enumerated by Russell Kirk in Ten Conservative Principles. These principles are central to most of the contributors and editors at The American Conservative. Ironically, many of these principles are expressed by the Blue Dog Coalition of the Democratic Party.
In the past, the Republican Party was a true conservative party. That cannot be said, in my view, of the Republican Party today. None of the Republican Party's past Presidents since the Second World War--Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, H. W. Bush, or W. Bush--would be extreme enough for today's Republican Party.
The notion that the Republican Party has become a cult is not a conceit of this thread. In the "Grand Old Cult", Richard Cohen writes,
In "Has the GOP become a cult?", Deborah Small writes,
Someone ought to study the Republican Party. I am not referring to yet another political scientist but to a mental health professional, preferably a specialist in the power of fixations, obsessions and the like. The GOP needs an intervention. It has become a cult
This intellectual rigidity has produced a GOP presidential field that’s a virtual political Jonestown
. The Grand Old Party, so named when it really did evoke America, has so narrowed its base that it has become a political cult. It is a redoubt of certainty over reason ...
I’m just one of the millions of “brainwashed” black people Herman Cain (aka Uncle Ruckus) likes to deride. But I did have a certain grudging respect for the Republican Party – it’s ability to maintain discipline, articulate a clear message with conviction and stick with an issue – however unpopular – until it gained legitimacy in the political mainstream (e.g. school vouchers, prison privatization, HMOs, etc.). Lately that grudging respect has turned into terror.
When I look at the Republican Party today, the cartoonish cast of characters that purport to be its leaders (either as presidential candidates or legislative officials), the hateful and ignorant rhetoric that substitutes for substantive policy analysis and the slavish devotion to positions that make no sense (e.g. rejection of climate change, the so-called ‘birther’ controversy, supply-side economics) it occurs to me the GOP has morphed from a legitimate political party into something that resembles a modern day cults
In, Ex-GOP Congressional Staffer: Republicans 'Becoming an Apocalyptic Cult', Mike Lofgren, a former GOP Congressional analyst, said,
Over and over again, and, it seems, with increasing frequency the words "Republican" and "cult" are linked.
I left the party because it was becoming an apocalyptic cult
. Because you cannot govern a country of 310 million people that is the greatest economic power on earth and the greatest military power on earth as if it's a banana republic. You can't govern it with people who think that Obama was born overseas or who believe in all manner of nonsense about climate change. They don't even know, apparently, where babies come from, if we're to believe Todd Akin.
Of course it sounds over the top to charge that the Republican Party has become a cult. But, what other conclusion can be drawn? Given the utter irrationality of the party's leaders, the strange, other-world proclamation of so many of its followers, the disconnect between internal cant and dogma and the real world, there is no other rational conclusion. The Republican Party of 2012 is, in fact, a cult.
Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd - Voltaire
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