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The age of cults

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This is a half-baked post that I haven’t thought through at all, which I’m throwing out for the purposes of the discussion of a hypothesis.

Which is: American culture at present is especially prone to cult-like thinking, and the associated behavior and social organization that flows from this type of thinking.

Examples, many of them inter-related in creepy synergistic ways:

Donald Trump Inc.

Evangelical Christianity

Catholic Integralism. BTW I’ve got some really serious concerns about Amy Coney Barrett in this regard, although I know nothing terribly specific about this side of her. See also Adrian Vermeule et. al.

An overtly secular version of the first three enthusiasms: The quasi-messianic tendencies of the entire tech sector. Peter Thiel is symptomatic here.

Crypto. The whole Sam Bankman-Fried thing is just extremely weird to me, and seems to call for some sort of psychological explanation of the mass delusion type.

Elizabeth Holmes and her countless epigoni in the miracle cure scam sector (Again lots of overlap with previous catagories).

Some flavors at least of the current AI enthusiasm

Elon Musk as representative of the compulsive ongoing search for a crackpot libertarian messiah.

The ten thousand flavors of contemporary conspiracsm (“A lot of people are saying . . .”). The bizarrely rapid mainstreaming of anti-vax ideology in the context of the pandemic is particularly interesting here.

And underlying and deeply connected to all of this: Revenant Fascism.

There’s something happening here, and what it is ain’t exactly clear, but it’s the spirit of the age.

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