The Covidian Cult (Part II)

Back in October of 2020, I wrote an essay called The Covidian Cult, in which I described the so-called “New Normal” as a global totalitarian ideological movement. Developments over the last six months have borne out the accuracy of that analogy.

A full year after the initial roll-out of the utterly horrifying and completely fictional photos of people dropping dead in the streets, the projected 3.4% death rate, and all the rest of the official propaganda, despite the absence of any actual scientific evidence of an apocalyptic plague (and the abundance of evidence to the contrary), millions of people continue to behave like members of an enormous death cult, walking around in public with medical-looking masks, robotically repeating vacuous platitudes, torturing children, the elderly, the disabled, demanding that everyone submit to being injected with dangerous experimental “vaccines,” and just generally acting delusional and psychotic.

How did we ever get to this point … to the point where, as I put it in The Covidian Cult, “instead of the cult existing as an island within the dominant culture, the cult has become the dominant culture, and those of us who have not joined the cult have become the isolated islands within it?”

To understand this, one needs to understand how cults control the minds of their members, because totalitarian ideological movements operate more or less the same way, just on a much larger, societal scale. There is a wealth of research and knowledge on this subject (I mentioned Robert J. Lifton in my earlier essay), but, to keep things simple, I’ll just use Margaret Singer’s “Six Conditions of Mind Control” from her 1995 book, Cults in Our Midst, as a lens to view the Covidian Cult through. (The italics are Singer. The commentary is mine.)

Six Conditions of Mind Control

1. Keep the person unaware of what is going on and how she or he is being changed a step at a time. Potential new members are led, step by step, through a behavioral-change program without being aware of the final agenda or full content of the group.

Looking back, it is easy to see how people were conditioned, step by step, to accept the “New Normal” ideology. They were bombarded with terrifying propaganda, locked down, stripped of their civil rights, forced to wear medical-looking masks in public, to act out absurd “social-distancing” rituals, submit to constant “testing,” and all the rest of it. Anyone not complying with this behavioral-change program or challenging the veracity and rationality of the new ideology was demonized as a “conspiracy theorist,” a “Covid denier,” an “anti-vaxxer,” in essence, an enemy of the cult, like a “suppresive person” in the Church of Scientology.

2. Control the person’s social and/or physical environment; especially control the person’s time.

For over a year now, the “New Normal” authorities have controlled the social/physical environment, and how New Normals spend their time, with lockdowns, social-distancing rituals, closure of “non-essential” businesses, omnipresent propaganda, isolation of the elderly, travel restrictions, mandatory mask-rules, protest bans, and now the segregation of the “Unvaccinated.” Basically, society has been transformed into something resembling an infectious disease ward, or an enormous hospital from which there is no escape. You’ve seen the photos of the happy New Normals dining out at restaurants, relaxing at the beach, jogging, attending school, and so on, going about their “normal” lives with their medical-looking masks and prophylactic face shields. What you’re looking at is the pathologization of society, the pathologization of everyday life, the physical (social) manifestation of a morbid obsession with disease and death.

3. Systematically create a sense of powerlessness in the person.

What kind of person could feel more powerless than an obedient New Normal sitting at home, obsessively logging the “Covid death” count, sharing photos of his medical-looking mask and post-“vaccination” bandage on Facebook, as he waits for permission from the authorities to go outdoors, visit his family, kiss his lover, or shake hands with a colleague? The fact that in the Covidian Cult the traditional charismatic cult leader has been replaced by a menagerie of medical experts and government officials does not change the utter dependency and abject powerlessness of its members, who have been reduced to a state approaching infancy. This abject powerlessness is not experienced as a negative; on the contrary, it is proudly celebrated. Thus the mantra-like repetition of the “New Normal” platitude “Trust the Science!” by people who, if you try to show them the science, melt down completely and start jabbering aggressive nonsense at you to shut you up.

4. Manipulate a system of rewards, punishments and experiences in such a way as to inhibit behavior that reflects the person’s former social identity.

The point here is the transformation of the formerly basically rational person into an entirely different cult-approved person, in our case, an obedient “New Normal” person. Singer gets into this in greater detail, but her discussion applies mostly to subcultural cults, not to large-scale totalitarian movements. For our purposes, we can fold this into Condition 5.

5. Manipulate a system of rewards, punishments, and experiences in order to promote learning the group’s ideology or belief system and group-approved behaviors. Good behavior, demonstrating an understanding and acceptance of the group’s beliefs, and compliance are rewarded, while questioning, expressing doubts or criticizing are met with disapproval, redress and possible rejection. If one expresses a question, they are made to feel that there is something inherently wrong with them to be questioning.

OK, I’m going to tell you a little story. It’s a story about a personal experience, which I’m pretty sure you’ve also experienced. It’s a story about a certain New Normal who has been harassing me for several months. I’ll call him Brian Parks, because, well, that’s his name, and I no longer feel any compunction about sharing it.

Brian is a former friend/colleague from the theater world who has gone full “New Normal” and is absolutely furious that I have not. So outraged is Brian that I have not joined the cult that he has been going around on the Internet referring to me as a “conspiracy theorist” and suggesting that I’ve had some kind of nervous breakdown and require immediate psychiatric treatment because I do not believe the official “New Normal” narrative. Now, this would not be a very big deal, except that Brian is impugning my character and attempting to damage my reputation on the Facebook pages of other theater colleagues, which Brian feels entitled to do, given that I am a “Covid denier,” a “conspiracy theorist,” and an “anti-vaxxer,” or whatever, and given the fact that he has the power of the state, the media, etc., on his side.

This is how it works in cults, and in larger totalitarian societies. It isn’t usually the Gestapo that comes for you. It’s usually your friends and colleagues. What Brian is doing is working that system of rewards and punishments to enforce his ideology, because he knows that most of my other colleagues in the theater world have also gone full “New Normal,” or at least are looking the other way and staying silent while it is being implemented.

This tactic, obviously, has backfired on Brian, primarily because I do not give a fuck what any New Normals think of me, whether they work in the theater world or anywhere else, but I am in a rather privileged position, because I have accomplished what I wanted to accomplish in the theater, and would rather stick my hand in a blender than submit my novels to corporate publishers for review by “sensitivity readers,” so there isn’t much to threaten me with. That, and I have no children to support, or administrations to answer to (unlike, for example, Mark Crispin Miller, who is currently being persecuted by the “New Normal” administration at NYU).

The point is, this kind of ideological conditioning is happening everywhere, every day, on the job, among friends, even among families. The pressure to conform is intense, because nothing is more threatening to devoted cultists, or members of totalitarian ideological movements, than those who challenge their fundamental beliefs, confront them with facts, or otherwise demonstrate that their “reality” isn’t reality at all, but, rather, a delusional, paranoid fiction.

The key difference between how this works in cults and totalitarian ideological movements is that, usually, a cult is a subcultural group, and thus non-cult-members have the power of the ideology of the dominant society to draw on when resisting the mind-control tactics of the cult, and attempting to deprogram its members … whereas, in our case, this balance of power is inverted. Totalitarian ideological movements have the power of governments, the media, the police, the culture industry, academia, and the compliant masses on their side. And, thus, they do not need to persuade anyone. They have the power to dictate “reality.” Only cults operating in total isolation, like Jim Jones’ People’s Temple in Guyana, enjoy this level of control over their members.

This pressure to conform, this ideological conditioning, must be fiercely resisted, regardless of the consequences, both publicly and in our private lives, or the “New Normal” will certainly become our “reality.” Despite the fact that we “Covid deniers” are currently outnumbered by the Covidian cultists, we need to behave as if we are not, and hold to reality, facts, and real science, and treat the New Normals as exactly what they are, members of a new totalitarian movement, delusional cultists run amok. If we do not, we will get to Singer’s Condition 6 …

6. Put forth a closed system of logic and an authoritarian structure that permits no feedback and refuses to be modified except by leadership approval or executive order. The group has a top-down, pyramid structure. The leaders must have verbal ways of never losing.

We’re not there yet, but that is where we’re headed … global pathologized totalitarianism. So, please, speak up. Call things what they are. Confront the Brians in your life. Despite the fact that they tell themselves that they’re trying to help you “come to your senses” or “see the truth,” or “trust the Science,” they are not. They are cultists, desperately trying to get you to conform to their paranoid beliefs, pressuring you, manipulating you, bullying you, threatening you. Do not engage them on their terms, or let them goad you into accepting their premises. (Once they’ve sucked you into their narrative, they’ve won.) Expose them, confront them with their tactics and their motives. You will probably not change their minds in the least, but your example might help other New Normals whose faith is slipping to begin to recognize what has been done to their minds and break with the cult.

#

CJ Hopkins
April 21, 2021
Photo: Cheri Scudder-Thomas/Twitter

DISCLAIMER: DISCLAIMER: The preceding essay is entirely the work of our in-house satirist and self-appointed political pundit, CJ Hopkins, and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Consent Factory, Inc., its staff, or any of its agents, subsidiaries, or assigns. If, for whatever inexplicable reason, you appreciate Mr. Hopkins’ work and would like to support it, please go to his Substack page, or his Patreon page, or send your contribution to his PayPal account, so that maybe he’ll stop coming around our offices trying to hit our staff up for money. Alternatively, you could purchase his satirical dystopian sci-fi novel, Zone 23, or Volume I and II of his Consent Factory Essays, or any of his subversive stage plays, which won some awards in Great Britain and Australia. If you do not appreciate Mr. Hopkins’ work and would like to write him an abusive email, feel free to contact him directly.

82 thoughts on “The Covidian Cult (Part II)

  1. There is a third group of people you have failed to mention, and it’s those of us who are sick and tired of the two groups, one of which you are a part of. Some of us have no choice but to move within the new normal even though we know it’s bullshit. Because we have jobs we have to do every day and families we have to take care of. Lucky for you that you can stand on the sidelines and rant and rave and your mirror opposites. How can you afford that? I can’t. I have to make a living so my children can eat and can have normal lives. Do you have anyone else you’re responsible for other than yourself? As far as I can see, there are TWO cults battling each other, and I want no part of either. I’m tired of people like you and your Manichean views of life. Why does everyone have to pick a side on everything? You yourself have fallen into a trap you probably felt you were to smart to fall into.

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    1. Sorry, but when a society goes totalitarian (and there’s nowhere to run), there are only two sides. You either collaborate or resist. Yes, it is harder for those with families, but you don’t get to pretend that you’re sitting the fight out on the sidelines just because you have children to support. Or rather, you do get to pretend that, but, when the totalitarians ultimately lose, and historians take stock of how people acted while it was happening … well, I think you know. We all have to “move within the New Normal” to some degree at the moment, kids or no kids. You know that “it’s bullshit,” as you say, so resist it however you can without taking actions that threaten your family. That might be a better use of your time and energy than scolding those of us who have been publicly resisting it from the beginning, and taking the consequences for doing so. All best from sunny Berlin, CJ

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    2. Well, Serf, you sound exactly like an ex-cult member, don’t you. Stop attacking the messenger, look in the mirror, and ask yourself how you got your sorry ass into the state it is now. Then quit whining and blaming.

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    3. Wow, such vitriol for someone exposing what you seem to already know. People in your “group” just don’t want others telling the truth as it must make you feel ashamed that you’ve chosen to go down a path you do not agree with. Yes, we all have to participate in one form or another but knowing that you’ve chosen to be led down a path that you do not agree with does not give you the right to judge others for shedding light on the subject. I have many friends that are going down the path willingly for the same reason as yours. They have families and therefore will not open their eyes at all to what is happening right before those very eyes. Therefore, like you have done in your message, they lash out at people that speak the truth to justify what they are doing. In most cases, they will not even discuss opposing views because if they open their mind for one second to the lies that are before us, their entire house of cards collapses.
      I have compassion for you and I saw the writing on the wall that this was going to happen almost 20 years ago. It is the reason I chose not to have children (much to my disappointment and dismay). Since I do not have children and luckily have a partner that is an essential worker and also will not wear a mask nor take a vaccine. I am able to fight for her and you and everyone like you. I respect you for having an open mind and seeing what is happening. My only suggestions would be for you to have compassion for people that are spreading the truth; continue to have an open mind and regardless of your situation, support those that are spreading the truth rather than tearing them down; when you have family and friends calling people that don’t wear masks, refuse to get the vaccine, spread science that is being censored, etc., stand up for them (even if you don’t totally agree) as discussion and the sharing of ideas can meet in the middle and that is always where truth lies.
      I do not judge you for your views and I truly feel for your situation.
      Please, do the same. It may just save your family’s lives and freedoms.
      With Love,
      James

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    4. Stop trying to claw crabs escaping the boiling pot. I moved out to the country in East Texas with my wife and three kids and we started growing our own food, we homeschool our kids, and are disengaging from the beast system. It’s not easy, but it is without a doubt our coice and stance given where the “New Normal” is taking us.

      We do not wear masks and have stopped shopping at stores that require masks. We will become Amish before we even considering taking experimental gene therapy.

      We realized our Freedom, Liberty, and Happiness were more important than Lollipops and Fancy pantsand Freedom and Liberty come with EXTREME Responsibility which is VERY hard work, but worth it.

      We wake up each day and work toward creating the world that we want to live in. If that’s choosing a side, then I’m Guilty.

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      1. I loved the decision, I am in the federal capital, the city of Buenos Aires and my idea is to migrate to rural life, I have already convinced my wife that she is pregnant and I have a family support where I will go to settle, congratulations for your courage!

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        1. You will not regret your decision to move out to the country. It requires more work, but it is SO MUCH MORE satisfying than city living. You will wonder why you didn’t choose to do it sooner.

          Godspeed on your journey!

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  2. I like to see myself as a model citizen and do whatever the government tells me to do. I have been trained, like a performing seal, to respond in the appropriate ways to certain stimuli such denouncing critics of Bill Gates. I don’t know why I scoff and become angry when told vaccines are unsafe or there could be sinister efforts to depopulate the planet. When I drive in my car I like to let everyone know I am on board, that I submit, that I conform, that I am obedient: the windows are wound up tight, my mask is doubled up and my face shield correctly positioned and through practicing WHO directed breathing techniques I ensure I don’t re-breath any of my exhaled air that could infect me with Covid-19. I actually believe facemasks work!
    After a year of being hungry, having run out of money exercising my more than ample freedoms buying what ever I like from Amazon and watching anything on Netflix and giving the big thumbs up to the warnings issued to the world that anyone consuming, spreading and generating miss-information and wrong-think, lies and domestic extremist white supremacy hate speach will have their freedoms curtailed, bank accounts frozen, Internet access denied and be Labeled on a public register as Trump loving wacko nutjub conspiracy theorists as well. These criminals, once detained, are slated to be first in line for the extra special vaccine. However I don’t know how this works, shouldn’t we all get this special treatment?
    I know how important it is to present to the world as a card carrying conformist beyond driving around correctly adorned and filtered. My programming includes a collection of corporate provided, government approved positions on all things Covid and simply watching the news on TV every night keeps me updated and ready to perform dutifully when the lights flash and the sound of the buzzer is heard. The electric shock of social disapproval, sudden unemployment from my satisfying job scraping the shit off the toilets of my rich employers is something that I know how to avoid. And yes, I would inject hydrochloric acid into my eyes if it meant keeping my job so that I can feed my kids who spend theirs days locked up at home secured in large plastic bags to protect them from Covid.
    So to all those anti social, freedom hating extremists out there still running loose, those spreading confusion, monsters luring those not yet comfortable and asleep in the caring embrace of our Corporate and Government overlords, overlords whos only concern is our health, safety and happiness, you must know that dwelling in the shadows of doubt, being on the outside of sanctioned certainty is a sure route to exclusion, rejection and exile. Come, join us! Avoid being Cancelled before it is too late! Renounce your sins and join the flock and accept our God’s, Bill Gates, love into your veins, let him fuse into your cells’ DNA and help him change you into a better person!
    Hallelujah! Praise Bill, our Lord! Save us!

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    1. Just when I thought I couldn’t find another reason to worry about where my state is headed, someone like you can remind me it has already crash landed at its destination…

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  3. Excellent, the gates are closing.

    Just watched a Netflix documentary about Osho’s (Rajneesh) spiritual commune in Oregon. Filled with sophisticated, wealthy educated Americans . Even when he acquired 97 Rolls Royces, 2 Lear Jets and a large number of automatic weapons they passionately defended him. People too arrogant to believe they could be fooled and with total, sneering contempt for those that disagreed.

    The very same social class solidly defend the Covid cult. They put total trust in their experts just as much as the Oregonians put their faith in their guru.This to me is pure arrogance leading to evil criminal acts including attempted murder. They believed their superiority placed them above mere mortal karma.

    Best wishes to all

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rajneesh_movement

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  4. I think that the “Brian Parks” of the world, at least the ones that do at least notice that “something doesn’t quite add up” about New Normalism, do what they do because they feel like if they submit, they’ll be left alone.
    That couldn’t be further from the truth. Each time you submit to these psychopaths, for every “line” you thought you had, that you allowed them to cross… the danger you’re in increases tenfold.

    I really don’t know whether we’re outnumbered, though. The media lies about so much and pretends there’s a consensus over so much that in the real world, is hotly debated. On the National Post’s website, one of our main national newspapers in Canada, reader comments which call on the government to either provide proof that lockdowns work or to ‘get out of the way’ routinely get over ten to one ‘up-vote:down-vote’ ratio. I feel like the amount of people who would be at risk of being classified as an outright “Covid denier” might be under 50%, but I think it’s likely MUCH higher when you include those who probably do sense that there’s multiple inconsistencies in the New Normal narrative, who see flaws in the logic, et c., and who are just too scared of the repercussions of letting that be known, or are too scared to face the possibility that the world isn’t as they imagined it.

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  5. […] I’m not joking. Not even slightly. The Federal Office for Protection of the Constitution (“Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz”) is actively monitoring anyone questioning or challenging the official “New Normal” ideology…the “Covid Deniers,” the “conspiracy theorists,” the “anti-vaxxers,” the dreaded “Querdenkers” (i.e., people who “think outside the box”), and anyone else they feel like monitoring who has refused to join the Covidian Cult. […]

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  6. […] I’m not joking. Not even slightly. The Federal Office for Protection of the Constitution (“Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz”) is actively monitoring anyone questioning or challenging the official “New Normal” ideology…the “Covid Deniers,” the “conspiracy theorists,” the “anti-vaxxers,” the dreaded “Querdenkers” (i.e., people who “think outside the box”), and anyone else they feel like monitoring who has refused to join the Covidian Cult. […]

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