Within 24 hours of posting “Cyber Cults”, the anti-scientology cyber-cult came unglued. If you haven’t read Cyber Cults and its links, I suggest you do so before reading on. The links are to three thoroughly unrelated people – also unrelated to me – who independently shared experiences of cult-like behavior from flogger (a blogger who flogs the alleged lives of others for money) Tony Ortega. Immediately, Ortega followers zealously rallied to his defense, characterizing the calmly-stated, fact-filled observations I linked to as evil-motivated “attacks” upon their dear leader. What was remarkable was the almost uniform application of an important characteristic of cult behavior.
That is taken from Steve Hassan whom the Ortega cult itself has promoted as quite the authority on cults. It is, “Make the person feel that problems are always their own fault, never the leader’s or the group’s fault.” Like so many hyenas, the anti-scientology cult members reactively rallied to attack in Ortega’s defense (ignoring the substance of the observations about his conduct) and viciously went after me and all three of those sharing independent experiences about their leader. We were accused of being Scientology operatives, mentally ill, and a plethora of derogatory epitaphs not fit for re-publication here.
One of Ortega’s more hysterical devotees called for censorship of myself and the other three, then targeted a facebook group (containing more than 400 members critical of scientology) as being fair game for having had the temerity to discuss the substance of my post Cyber Cults. Those pronunciamentos (and their avid acceptance and support by other cyber cultists) demonstrated most of the elements of the following additional Hassan cult characteristic:
Require members to internalize the group’s doctrine as truth
a. Adopting the group’s ‘map of reality’ as reality
b. Instill black and white thinking
c. Decide between good vs. evil
d. Organize people into us vs. them (insiders vs. outsiders)
For any who doubt these characterizations of the reaction to Cyber Cults, they can verify them by reading the thread themselves (or as much as they can stomach) at ex-scientologist message board. While you read their treatment of the three I linked to along with me, keep in mind another of Hassan’s critical characteristics of a cult:
Promote feelings of guilt or unworthiness, such as
a. Identity guilt
b. You are not living up to your potential
c. Your family is deficient
d. Your past is suspect
e. Your affiliations are unwise
f. Your thoughts, feelings, actions are irrelevant or selfish
g. Social guilt
h. Historical guilt
This is an interesting study in extremism. As Robert Hughes aptly demonstrated in his book Culture of Complaint opposite extremes always seem to have a way of meeting (becoming almost indistinguishable in behavior). On that score, principal stars of the anti-scientology cult are warning people that it is “dangerous” to communicate with me. That’s right, it is dangerous to be exposed to ideas that don’t march lockstep with the cult’s doctrinal black and white, us vs. them mentality. These include people being promoted by Ortega for working with him on tv specials on scientology disconnection. They apparently are so appalled by scientology’s notion of disconnect that they are actively advising people to disconnect from me.
What I have witnessed personally on the part of the anti-scientology community’s leading lights recently is behavior that makes the average dedicated scientologist seem extraordinarily open-minded and tolerant by comparison.
As a final side note, I noticed a lot of cyber-cultists characterizing my recent posts as some sort of ‘war’ on Tony Ortega and that I wish to engage him in some public debate. That is another indication of their cult-like, insular belief that the real universe revolves around their play world. As far as Ortega is concerned I am only preparing the ground to correct the public record he polluted for four months about my family. He is merely one of thousands of click bait floggers plying his trade as floggers do. I have no intention of changing that – that is fundamentally who he is. The vermin he carries water for might be another story. It depends on how they continue to respond and not respond.