They all seek the End Times
By the nature of psychological delusion the one who is deluded cannot consciously see his own delusion. He may subconsciously have some notion of the affliction but it is only seen as the delusion of others who are not part of the delusion. Being subsumed into a cult is very much the same.
In the film What Dreams May Come (1998), the character Chris Nielsen dies in a car crash. He experiences an idyllic afterlife, but one devoid of his wife who committed suicide and ended up in Hell. Chris is advised she could leave anytime she wanted to if she would see the truth. Her delusion is so great she accepts her fate and doesn’t try to leave. Chris decides to “go in after her” and bring her out. For his journey he is advised to not stay too long lest he begins to believe her delusion and joins her rather than pull her back.
People experiencing delusion for any number of organic causes, those entering addictions and people who embrace cults their behaviors are very similar. They adhere to the rules and culture of the delusion and deny they are deluded in the first place. They see any variance from what they have come to believe as an attempt to divert them from their Truth. Mental illness induced delusions are singular in their manifestation. Addictions are also mainly singular but is easily shared among a small group of people when the addiction is highly destructive as with Crack, Meth and Heroin. Simple(er) addictions such as pain-killers and other prescription drugs, alcohol or nicotine do not tend to create communities of addicts who embrace any dogmas.
Cults on the other hand are not organic in their origins. They are carefully crafted by a charismatic leader and generally are perversions of faith-based communities. This is not to say an ordinary community of people which arises organically cannot be taken over by a cultist leader. After all it is far easier to modify an existing society and make it comply than it is to assemble one from scratch.
The Synanon cult started out as a self-help community of drug addicts. They tried to make an idyllic life of work and service. Soon founder Charles Dederich and other internal leaders arose and militarized it with paranoid delusions that they needed to defend themselves with violence. At one point in the 1970s it became the Church of Synanon and then under government pressure disbanded in 1991. The trajectory of cult formation always points downward. They are the embodiment of absolute power corrupting.
David Koresh and his Branch Davidians all died in the conflagration at Waco, Texas in 1993 where 51 people perished in their cult compound. The Rev. Jim Jones also led a cult to their doom in Jonestown, Guyana when 909 followers and Jones himself died in a mass suicide/murder spree in 1979. Both of these men and other cult leaders had the idea for dying rather than being disbanded. They each believed they knew what was best for their followers, i.e. be dominated by them or be dead.
The hallmarks of the cult leader is one where the leader engages in a continual stream of misinformation, lies, cult messaging and victimization. Everyone else is wrong, evil and the enemy. Trust can only be vested in the one leader. Like the queen in a bee hive, she can tolerate no rivals. The cultist leader must denigrate everyone who is not loyal in the cult. External rules and laws do not apply to him. After all he makes the rules. His vision of the future is the one and only version possible.
In this manner the cult tries to exist in isolation from the non-cult. The trouble is the non-cult has a stake in the future too. They are like Libertarians. They believe they have the right to do whatever they want and nobody else matters.
The Trumpian Cult is fully defines as such by their merits. People are recruited to follow the leader and ask no questions. They are provided with regular doses of dopamine in the form of catharsis and chanting the mantras of the leader. He gives them the chemical pleasure and they give him adulation. This process would not be so bad if it were the magnitude of a Branch Davidian or Jonestown compound, but this is the entire nation we are talking about. The petty cultists of the past were merely mosquito bite irritations none of which produced any long standing damage to society.
The peril of the Trumpian Cult is it is two or more orders of magnitude larger than any spiritual cult of the past. It has the power of Congress and the Judiciary in its grasp. The Executive Branch of government and the military are led by the cultist Donald Trump. Whereas, Jim Jones had a mere 900 followers, Trump had 62 million people vote for him. While not all of them rise to the level of cult followers, many do. The more worrisome cult followers are not constituents but are the people who constituents elected in the last election. The 250 GOP members of Congress are cultish supporters of their leader. They control a huge segment of the economy, government and society itself.
All of the people who have attended a Trump campaign rally do not exceed 1.5 million people and not all of them are cultist in their devotion. Those who are are also bolstered by the Cult Network that spreads the cult message across the airwaves and through the Internets. Each person who signs on to the following enhances the effectiveness of the cult. Corporations such as Facebook led by people who will not take a stand against the cult serve to further its influence.
The cultish nature of the Trumpian Administration would also not be so terrible except that it seeks to completely disrupt the Administrative State and attempt to remain in control via extra-Constitutional, extra-judiciary means. The very real threat is the notion the present President might attempt to circumvent all normalcy and constitutional processes to remain the cult leader beyond his term limited 8 year reign.
Every directive Trump has made inches the country and thereby the globe toward a catastrophic end. Whether he is able to remain in office long enough to implement the total restructuring of the State is yet to be seen. The trajectory of this Administration is toward doom and gloom. They are pointing us toward destruction which we may not recovery from any time soon. As with every doomsday cult, this one seeks to attain some new utopian future or none at all.
The measure of utopian in the mind of the Administration is one where people and corporations with great wealth pay zero taxes, do whatever they want to do to make a profit and completely ignore the plight of working humans as being an externality and not worthy of consideration. Land and mineral resources are for exploitation and the air and water be damned. Sea-level rise is an opportunity for creative destruction and rebuilding at higher elevations. Polluted lakes and streams are the impetus for drafting water from aquifers and for-sale in plastic bottles. The all too hot summers are reason for more air-conditioning. Coal, gas and oil are the traditional energy sources in which most investment has already been made. With all of the negative pressures being brought down on the environment, civilizations cannot last in their present forms.
Dominionism is a concept of the rule of God over all laws of mankind. Dominionists believe the end is near and it will arrive with the second coming of Jesus. There are a lot of them in positions of influence and power within the US government. Certain things must come to pass in order for that glorious event to manifest. Those prerequisites can either be naturally occurring or helped along by the machinations of the faithful. The Trumpian cult is a natural for providing the human induced events for the end to come. To them the End of Times is a glorious and desirable event. To others it would be horrendous. This would be especially true if we got halfway there and the End did not come.
The Trumpian Administration is acting like the doomsday cult in that everything it does serves to damage and destroy every aspect of government, economy and society it touches like there was no tomorrow. We are watching a slow-motion disaster movie in the making. It is as though the Administration and Trump himself have already decided the end is inevitable and there is no purpose in trying to rectify the conditions causing it. Indeed, if nothing is put in place to curtail the creeping destruction we will experience it.
When I write of the Principle of Imminent Collapse I need to reiterate that the collapse rarely ends in extinction but in a New Equilibrium. It may be a new equilibrium but it will not be one that can include all of us.