In your arrogance, you think you write the script. But you do not dictate the terms.
Logan’s manifesto serves as an examination of conscience for all journalists. After I watched it twice, I peered at the mountain of yellow pads, open files, and notes on my little desk. I scanned the Post-it-decked walls where captured half-thoughts and spurts of creativity document the effects of hypergraphia.
I think about my “beat” here at PJ Media: cults — the process of member indoctrination and re-socialization for survivors. The 60 Minutes host praised “beats” which she defined as a journalist’s area of specialized knowledge developed through long-term, single-issue research concentration. Does reporting about cults meet the standard of true journalism she re-established? I know I have tried to tell the truth about life in cults, but does it matter?
Does anyone really need to know how cults seduce millions of people a year? Is the human debris field that manages to claw his or her way out of a cult worthy of our understanding or attention? Do cults really constitute a true threat?
Americans really are living in daily danger of being murdered by cultic, fanatical Islamists. Last week’s foiled attempt by an al-Qaeda operative to blow up the Federal Reserve proves this. As Logan said in her talk, all we have done since the first 9-11 was:
…kill the slow and stupid ones. The ones who remain have not even begun to fight.
Radical Islam is indeed a cult. The Islamist movement creates and depends upon the same mental and emotional mechanisms that led to the Jim Jones People’s Temple mass-suicide in 1978, the current enslavement of thousands of American women in the cultic polygamous towns in our Southwest, and the family-decimating billion-year contracts of Scientology.
We might doubt the likelihood of our personally adopting Sharia, drinking Liberation Theology’s Kool-Aid, consenting to share a spouse, marrying five or six new wives, or ever abandoning our children as suppressive persons. The thought we might fall for the “big cults” seems ludicrous in spite of the fact that every year millions of perfectly normal, intelligent American do just that.
But cults are not synonymous with these stereotypical, external trappings, their essence is the systematic alteration of normal processes of the mind and will by which truth is replaced with illogical belief systems and personal accountability to natural law with arbitrary group-ethics. Individuation is the core of human essence. We are not designed to function as extensions of a collective mind and heart. Human beings and human societies fail when we sacrifice personal development for lock-step conformity and pursuit of social Utopia.
People in cults no longer live in objective truth. Everybody falls into isolated error at some point in life, but cults systematically suppress the mind and the will’s ability to adhere to or act upon truth. Cults damage the faculties that allow us to process the evidence of reality. We need to start by being aware that thousands whose bodies may not be destroyed by violence are dehumanized by absorption into a collective.
Lara Logan’s conference marks a “watershed” for journalists. She reminds us that truth matters and defending our way of life is a cause worth sacrificing everything. Cultic error seduces millions and though we may not encounter the more “spectacular” cults in our daily lives, the loss of even a single person to a cult matters. It is, in its own way, an attack on our way of life, a way of life rooted in an unshakable belief in the dignity of the individual human person.
Check out the previous installments in Jeanette’s ongoing series: