How the Modern GOP Is Like a Death Cult
Some observers were shocked and surprised by the behavior of the Tea Party Republicans and their supporters during the primary debates. Others have complained that CNN's surrende
From the proclamations of Republican officials that the unemployed are poor because they lack spirit and drive, an Orwellian political vocabulary of "job creators" and " non-productive citizens," opines that poor people in America have it relatively easy (thus austerity politics ought not to be that painful), and a belief that the social safety net (basic programs such as Social Security and unemployment insurance) has destroyed the United States and made people "lazy,"contemporary conservatism has fully embraced a politics that are utterly and totally bereft of human empathy.
My claim that the Republican Party is a death cult is a strong one that demands explication and transparency. "Cult" is a signal to the narrow thinking and state of epistemic closure that has come to dominate conservative, right-wing political thought. As I have suggested elsewhere, populist conservatism is also colored by an unflappable instinct that faith should be the guiding principle in political decision making--what is a belief in the unprovable--that fuels a theocratic vision of public policy under the umbrella of Christian Nationalism and Dominionism. Because the Tea Party GOP's foot soldiers, as well as the Bachmanns, Palins, Perrys, and Cains believe a thing to be true--often in the face of all available evidence and data on the subject--it must in turn be as they imagine. Reality must always bend to their will: the anti-intellectualism of populist conservatism demands that the facts are to be damned; empirical reality is to be discounted as some type of plot by the mainstream media, "liberals," or "elites."
The cultish behavior of the Republican Party is manifest by a rigid orthodoxy of ideology. Those who do not pray at the mantle (and in the approved position) are labeled heretics. Any conservative who challenges the far-right agenda or believes in pragmatism and normal politics, i.e. working with President Obama and the Democrats in the interest of the common good, is labeled a traitor or a heretic.