A year ago or so I had an epiphany and realized I no longer believe in the political party I used to believe in, or should I say I had the most in common with as far as my political beliefs, and thought I was a member of. Something inside of me just didn't feel right. It felt as if I was being betrayed, Lied to, that my party lost sight of what it was supposed to be. Or maybe I just never understood what the political party I aligned myself with really stood for.
That being said, it's not enough for me to realize I had a change in thought and ideals I needed to understand why I had a change of Heart. I really didn't think about it too much other than to think that the party itself no longer stood for what it says it believes in. But then again maybe the party itself never really changed and it was I that had changed and I had grown as an individual or become more informed or analytical.
Then last night I was watching the Discovery channel and they were doing a show on Charles Manson. The show talked about The Manson family and Cults and how people can be manipulated and convinced to follow just about any beliefs and do just about anything. Then I started thinking about other cults, the Branch Davidians, Heavens gate, Rashneesh's, etc…
Then it occurred to me, "Could my change in Heart, the feeling I had when I became disillusioned with the party I believed in, be because political parties have actually become or are "cults"". So I started looking into what a cult is. Doing some searches online. It turns out that the word "Cult" is normally used to describe religious groups. But cant any group that is trying to control you, gain your support, control what you believe, be considered a "Cult". We'll that's what I wanted to know.
"Characteristics Associated with Cultic Groups - Revised
Janja Lalich, Ph.D. & Michael D. Langone, Ph.D.
Concerted efforts at influence and control lie at the core of cultic groups, programs, and relationships. Many members, former members, and supporters of cults are not fully aware of the extent to which members may have been manipulated, exploited, even abused. The following list of social-structural, social-psychological, and interpersonal behavioral patterns commonly found in cultic environments may be helpful in assessing a particular group or relationship.
Compare these patterns to the situation you were in (or in which you, a family member, or friend is currently involved). This list may help you determine if there is cause for concern. Bear in mind that this list is not meant to be a "cult scale" or a definitive checklist to determine if a specific group is a cult. This is not so much a diagnostic instrument as it is an analytical tool.
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."
So how many of those Items can you say are true about political parties?
If you believe in and support a political party does that mean you're a "Cultist"?