Do you remember Harold Camping? A bible thumping christian who made his living from predicting the end of days and sharing his theory over his radio station. He built up quite the following over the years. And they didn’t all desert him when the world repeatedly failed to end on time. But that’s not entirely surprising – that’s how cults work. A dedication and devotion that goes beyond any arguments from fact or reality. Harold Camping’s cult was pretty harmless as cults go. It was fringe, and laughable rather than dangerous. He died a few years back. In his defence, he saw the light before he breathed his last. Not the light of the rapture, mind you. A small degree of sanity took hold and he abandoned his wacky predictions.
Today, cults have gone mainstream. Populism functions as a cult. Talk to a die hard Trumpist or a Corbynista, and you might as well be attempting to have a reasoned debate on gun control with a Branch Davidian or a sensible conversation on the merits of extra terrestrial life with a good fellow from Heaven’s gate. It’s a pointless exercise. Armed with an extensive toolkit of alternative facts, whattaboutery, irrelevant false comparisons and – if needed – a healthy dose of lunacy, they will meet your reality based arguments head on. There is no longer any excuse for being a Trumpist. A believer in 2018 is a Trump Cultist.
Corbynistas are from the same populist pot, and many of them will demonstrate their cultish fervour quite openly. I am still surprised that so many people are both passionately against Brexit, yet equally passionately for a hard-Brexiter such as Corbyn. And they make absolutely no effort whatsoever to reconcile the two. The world is truly mad – for the Age of the Cult is upon us.