We do in all honesty hate this world.
— Heaven’s Gate cult leader Marshall Applewhite
Many conservatives long ago declared their willingness to let others suffer in order to advance a political agenda (e.g., if a 100,000 Iraqis had to die so Americans could buy SUVs, too bad).
Then they increased their zealotry by making suffering an integral part of their appeal (e.g., let’s stuff migrant kids into cages for the sole reason of inflicting pain on them and their families).
And now they have topped out their fanaticism by embracing homicidal—and even suicidal—behavior (e.g., dying of coronavirus is worth it, just to own the libs).
No, the GOP isn’t merely a fractured political party.
It is now a death cult.
Of course, the phrase “death cult” has been employed “to describe the Republican Party enough lately that it’s probably lost any real meaning, but it’s not far off as a descriptor.”
After all, this is the party that has advocated—strenuously and vigorously—for Americans “to go back to work and make their employers richer even if it kills tens of thousands or more, because they would rather have that happen than adopt the social welfare policies of a civilized nation.”
This is the party that believed voters in Wisconsin should court death to cast their ballots.
This is the party that believes letting Americans die of coronavirus is the “lesser of two evils” compared to harming the economy.
This is the party that dismisses those who have died because they “were on their last legs anyway.”
This is the party that sincerely believes that there are “more important things than living.”
So yeah, the term “death cult” is not an exaggeration.
Still, we have to wonder where this embrace of nihilism and destruction came from. In less than a decade, we have gone from conservatives screaming that fictitious “death panels” were a liberal plot to conservatives screaming that actual death is your patriotic duty.
Well, studies have shown that many of Trump’s supporters have a pathological “need for chaos” that manifests itself in a strong desire “to tear down the system.”
By their nature, these conservatives “think society should be burned to the ground.”
Much of the white working class (i.e., Trump’s base) are depressed about how their lives turned out. Furthermore, they despise both the force of unstoppable demographic change and their loss of unquestioned power and status. They fear the new face of America, which is young, urban, and not white.
Now combine that hatred and anger with a belief that is rooted in hardcore religiosity and/or unyielding political philosophy. And this belief states that “mass death is either necessary or actively good, the product of a higher power—God, the planet, the economy—working its will.”
For good measure, throw in a refusal to admit that they were even a tiny bit wrong to support a corrupt psychopath incapable of empathy or sacrifice (or sarcasm).
You see, “continuing to proselytize on behalf of a doomsday cult whose prophecies have been disconfirmed, although it makes little logical sense, makes plenty of psychological sense if people have already spent [time] proselytizing on the cult’s behalf.” This is because “persevering allows them to avoid the embarrassment of how wrong they were in the first place.”
And wow, were they ever wrong.
Today, “to be a Republican is to believe either that people won’t die if social distancing is ended or that if they do it’s alright.”
Fortunately, even as Covid-19 ravages the country, and armed zealots shriek about “freedom” in a self-righteous suicidal frenzy, most Americans “are striving for social cohesion and solidarity.” This is true even though “Trump is doing everything in his power to divide us, to keep people on edge, mistrustful and at one another’s throats.”
But coronavirus is only the most visible aspect of the GOP’s fascination with death. We know, for example, about the conservative opinion that guns are more important than the lives of schoolchildren. This fanatical devotion to firearms ignores all statistical proof and anecdotal evidence, causing Republicans to view homicide as a minor inconvenience compared to, say, not having a closet full of AR-15s.
And what of the Republican Party’s insistence that climate change is no big deal? Despite just about every scientist in the world saying, “This is going to kill us all and wipe out civilization,” the American conservative basically says, “Like I care.” In fact, the Trump Administration has reversed or weakened almost 100 environmental rules designed to, among other things, prevent the planet from turning into a molten ball of lava.
No, the concept of death does not frighten Republicans—unless it’s at the hands of some swarthy foreigner. Then they’re petrified.
Otherwise, many of them appear to relish the idea of more devastation and violence. They are willing members of a death cult.
In Trump’s inaugural address, he evoked the phrase “American carnage,” which remains a great name for a punk band. Our deranged chief executive—who cannot even be bothered to acknowledge the 50,000 Americans who have died in the last few weeks—promised that he would end this so-called American carnage. Instead, he has brought it to life. Now that “the real carnage has arrived, he is reveling in it. He is in his element.”
As are his most devoted followers. And they insist that we join them.