Sunday, May 22, 2011

beware the witchfinder generals of the world!

In my ongoing attempt to understand cults in general and capitalist antiracists in particular, I was struck by this sentence from an article that I recommend, How to spot a psychopath | Jon Ronson | Books | The Guardian: "'What if you've created armies of people who spot psychopaths where there are none, witchfinder generals of the psychopath-spotting world?'"

Cults are armies of people who see their opponents where they do not exist.


  1. This isn't a behavior exclusive to cults, unless you want to stretch the definition of cult beyond usefulness. For instance, the entire US could be considered a cult by that criterion, since a very large part of its population spots terrorists wherever there are beards, turbans, and dark skin, and they're willing to settle for two out three of those attributes in most cases. And yet there isn't the uniformity of belief in other areas that marks a cult.

  2. While I take your point, I think you exaggerate the number of folks who see terrorists everywhere.

    And I would happily argue that there are birther cults, anti-immigration cults, small-government cults, and more, just as there are Christian cults, and like Christian cults, they have some overlapping beliefs. So the absence of uniformity may simply suggest that you're seeing a Venn diagram of similar cults.

  3. And then of course there are the Big Fat U*U Witch-Hunters who spot cults where there are none. . . .

    Witchfinder generals of the U*U World?

  4. Frankly, I find that Bob Hare character a lot more disturbing and potentially dangerous than the alleged psychopath.

  5. Cora, I hear that. I also get a bit nervous when I hear about scientists who are sorry they can no longer give people electric shocks.