From Rick Ross's Cult Education Institute -- Getting Started:


How can you determine if a group or leader might be potentially unsafe?

Are you trying to determine if a group or leader is destructive or might pose a possible problem, but can't find anything specific about that group, organization or leader on the Internet? You might try "Warning Signs" as a meaningful list of criteria to evaluate the group, leader or organization that you are concerned about. Many groups and leaders, which may be potentially unsafe, seem to share the same characteristics. Reviewing "Warning Signs" could help you to determine if a group or leader conforms to that pattern.

If You Need Help Now

If you suspect that someone you know is involved with a destructive cult or potentially unsafe group and need help now, go to "Getting Help" where you can begin the process of arranging for an "Intervention." Or, if you are involved in a court case and are considering using an "Expert Witness." The Cult Education Institute also offers educational DVDs that will help you to better understand the subject of destructive cults and abusive controlling relationships.

Basic Questions

What is a cult? Why do people join? What kind of people join cults? These and many more commonly asked questions can be found at a section titled "Frequently Asked Questions."

Mind Control

Are you trying to understand the process of intensive indoctrination used by many groups to gain undue influence? See the section titled "Mind Control." Are you curious how and why some people seemingly give up their individuality and critical thinking within certain groups? "Is this like brainwashing?" See the section titled "Brainwashing?."

There you will find a list of specific criteria developed by the renowned psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton (the definitive authority on "mind control") that can help you to determine if a group, organization or person are actually using "Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism."


Are you struggling to leave a destructive cult or group, or working through a recovery process after breaking away from such an experience? See the section titled "Recovery." Here you can find constructive advice from leading experts in the field, such as educator and clinical psychologist Margaret Singer, the preeminent authority concerning cults of the 20th Century.


One of the largest virtual libraries about destructive cults, cults, controversial groups and related subjects on the Internet is available at Books. Here you will find hundreds of reading selections instantly accessible for ordering in partnership with Amazon.com.

See also the fascinating Objectivist Living topic, "Secret Objectivist Cult," a funny and intriguing thread started by Dear Leader seven years ago: 

I am a big fan of Tony Ortega's blog The Underground Bunker. Tony is former editor of the Village Voice, where he began his decade-long examination of Scientology. Some readers here may have seen him on various episodes of the Leah Remini cable series "Scientology and the Aftermath.

Tony had a 'public service' announcement in an awful GQ article that dared to compare Trumpism to a cult ...


It seems to me, rightly or wrongly, that the word cult gets flung around with wild abandon at the best of times. My first immersion into "cult studies" came in the mid-nineties, when a couple of trends in psychotherapy met and melded with moral panic into a belief that an intergenerational and international "Satanic Ritual Abuse" cult was stalking children and adults (sound familiar?). 

One of the many astute chroniclers of this time was Frederick Crews, whose "The Memory Wars" still stands out above the rest. I note in passing his most recent book, a stunning tour de force in my opinion. See Freud: The Making of an Illusion. I have mentioned his work a couple of times here on OL.  He is the author of a book review just out, published at the online site of Skeptic Magazine, which is -- to say the least -- becoming massively controversial.  See this critical blog entry to grasp the contours of the controversy.  In a nutshell, the book reviewed suggests that Jerry Sandusky may be innocent ... 

Anyway, back to the main subject, cult warning signs, and what to do or say and how to behave if you suspect someone is trapped in cult-thinking or a 'High Demand Group.'  Here's another PSA:


-- finally (save for edits), what compelled me to post this rambling topic. 



NB: I have never, ever used the word "shithole" on Objectivist Living, to the best of my memory (which unfortunately, may not approach the 'best memory' of the US President). I much prefer "socialist hellhole."  


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Is there such a thing as a mainstream media cult?

I just adapted the hidden Trump Cult thingie:

Top Mainstream Media Cult Warning Signs:

  • The mainstream media is always right.
  • Whenever the mainstream media is criticized or questioned (especially as fake news) it is characterized as "persecution."
  • Anything the mainstream media does can be justified no matter how harsh or harmful.
  • Extreme obsessiveness regarding the mainstream media resulting in the exclusion of almost every practical consideration.
  • The mainstream media is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.

I bet we can replace "mainstream media" for "elitist ruling class" and get the same good results. I bet it even works with "government funded science."


:evil:  :) 


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3. Don't be confrontational, antagonistic or argumentative about the group, leader(s), or beliefs. Maintain a friendly, neutral position for now.

Asking well thought-out questions is the most effective way to stimulate critical thinking skills.

"What are the differences between Trump-haters, Trump-critics, Trump-doubters, Never-Trumpers, Trump non-supporters, and Trump analysts -- if any?"


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An interesting term is "Cult of Personality," with its obvious models in Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Ceaucescu, Hoxha, the Kim dynasty in North Korea, as well as in lesser instances -- arguably Obama, the first Trudeau (Trudeaumania), and other leaders of note (Ataturk, Chavez, Erdogan). A personality cult does not, in my mind, form only in authoritarian or totalitarian states, but can emerge in mature democracies. "I alone can fix it."

Wikipedia offers a useful portal to discovering aspects of the concept. Here is an excerpt from under the heading "Characteristics" -- I highlight a couple of constituent aspects that strike me as important:

There are various views about what constitutes a cult of personality in a political leader. In his Ph.D. dissertation, The ABC of Sycophancy: Structural Conditions for the Emergence of Dictators’ Cults of Personality, Adrian Teodor Popan defines cult of personality as a "quantitatively exaggerated and qualitatively extravagant public demonstration of praise of the leader". He also identifies three causal "necessary, but not sufficient, structural conditions, and a path dependent chain of events which, together, lead to the cult formation: a particular combination of patrimonialism and clientelism, lack of dissidence, and systematic falsification pervading the society’s culture."

Pampler has written that modern day personality cults display five characteristics that set them apart from "their predecessors": The cults are secular and "anchored in popular sovereignty"; their objects are all males; they target the entire population, not only the well-to-do or just the ruling class; they use mass media; and they exist where the mass media can be controlled enough to inhibit the introduction of "rival cults"

In his What is character and why it really does matter, Thomas A. Wright states, "The cult of personality phenomenon refers to the idealized, even god-like, public image of an individual consciously shaped and molded through constant propaganda and media exposure. As a result, one is able to manipulate others based entirely on the influence of public personality...the cult of personality perspective focuses on the often shallow, external images that many public figures cultivate to create an idealized and heroic image."

Teodor Popan notes that "The cult of the leader has been already defined by scholars in various ways. Only two characteristics of the cult have been identified by all scholars who deal with the phenomenon: first, it is defined by a quasi-ubiquitous praise, manifested through eulogistic articles in mass-media and adulatory public parades, and, second, the adulation of the leader is not entirely sincere, but largely coerced through employing the state apparatus in the organization of the named parades."

Snatched from the jaws of Google, a histrionic "Trump Cult" effort, and a pushback rejection of the notion:

The dangerous cult of Donald Trump - LA Times

Nov 6, 2017 - The president's most ardent supporters show signs of begin a group bound together by extreme devotion to a charismatic leader they've elevated to prophetic status.


The myth of the Trump personality cult - The Boston Globe

Nov 6, 2017 - Many opponents of Donald Trump believe that his supporters are captives of a delusional Trump personality cult, unable to recognize the great damage he is doing to the nation and caught up in such hypnotic dedication to the man that it blocks critical thought about what he says or does, something akin to ...

More to the central point of Objectivist Living, a few of the present readers will have read or learned of the Jeff Walker tome, "The Ayn Rand Cult." I wrote about this, with a dozen excerpts, at SOLOpassion, in between my various bannings, in Parsing Walker's The Ayn Rand Cult. Hilarity ensued. Not.

I include here my most popular Youtube video, which manages to have as many impressions as a David Seaman video, and attracted much commentary. I find it bittersweet, especially the response to 'listening to the "other side,"' other opinions ...


Edited by william.scherk
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In a spirit of civility, cooperation and caricature, let me offer the following photo.


It might come in handy one day for propaganda critical thinking.

:evil:  :)


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Trauma bonding is a common method used by cults for control, or less than that, by narcissists and the dark personalities in general:

  • Perceived threat to one's own life - This can be real or imaginary, and the life threat can be physical, mental, or spiritual (identity, way of life, etc.).  Example:  Trump, "We either have a country or we don't."  And paraphrasing, "People are pouring into our country and we don't know who they are or what they want to do."  Trump's comments on crime.  Also a paraphrase, "If we don't do something now we won't have a country anymore."
  • Acts of perceived kindness - The person giving the trauma is actually the same person who can help.  Example:  Trump, "I alone can fix it."
  • Isolation from outside perspectives - This is often handled indirectly, to limit perspectives that might kick them out of it, with the goal of isolation from any outside perspectives so that the victim will only go to the abuser for perspective.  This often involves effort and continual maintenance by the abuser.  Example:  Trump seeking to discredit and/or destroy anyone who doesn't share his perspective.  Also, the "fake news media."
  • Perceived inability to escape - Real or imagined, the person giving the trauma influences the victim/target so they will believe there is an inability to escape their situation, or condition, etc.  Example, living in the USA and Trump's statements of what the American condition is.

Is there a Trump cult?  Is it cult-like?  Cult-ish?

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President Trump will continue to gain fans as the world wakes up to the fact that he is fighting highly organized international evil and winning. But, as I said before the election and even before his nomination, it would make no difference if he were assassinated now. People are waking up and it can’t be stopped. The Alliance he is a small part of is ascendant and the takedown is inevitable. It never was about one man, although he played an important role. Great Man Theory, Cult Of Personality type bullshit is for the clueless who never understood the Trump phenomenon and still don’t. Also for those who do understand all the above and don’t want to talk about it, don’t want more people figuring it out, and opt for attempting distraction and misdirection.

His assassination now would seal the fate of every one of his enemies, it would just speed up their demise.

He is on a huge team - that’s why he is still alive and why he is always six steps ahead..

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22 minutes ago, Jon Letendre said:

Great Man Theory, Cult Of Personality type bullshit is for the clueless who never understood the Trump phenomenon and still don’t. Also for those who do understand all the above and don’t want to talk about it, don’t want more people figuring it out, and opt for attempting distraction and misdirection.

But... but... but... Jon...

Don't you want to be patted on the head and have a superior human (of which, sadly, neither you or I are one) deprogram the Trump out of you with behavior techniques?



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Bait and Switch

On 1/13/2018 at 9:22 AM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:
On 1/13/2018 at 8:51 AM, william.scherk said:

Maintain a friendly, neutral position for now.

Asking well thought-out questions is the most effective way to stimulate critical thinking skills.

Why does this make me think of bait and switch?

I don't know. Answering a question with a question is time-tested rhetoric ... How does one encourage or stimulate critical thinking about any aspect of President Trump and his policies if an interlocutor suggests that all critics or questioners are Haters?  

That in perhaps unanswerable ... so let me turn to a very interesting passage from Secret Objectivist Cult:

I think we should target young people who show the following traits:

  • They are afraid to be alone.
  • They strongly feel like victims and want revenge.
  • They feel guilt about not being worthy.
  • They are prone to be naive and gullible.
  • They are open to accepting circular logic.
  • They like oversimplified ideas as answers to complex issues.
  • They long for an us against them group to belong to.
  • They handle money poorly and are used to asking others for money.
  • They are generally unresourceful.
  • They blow off facts to cling to milk-and-honey optimism.

We can mold this human clay to do whatever we want with minimum effort.

On 1/13/2018 at 2:01 AM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

I just adapted the hidden Trump Cult thingie:

Yes, you did.  And here I 'adapt' a passage from your quite thoughtful remarks on Ayn Rand's fiction:

Booby Trap

Here's an even deeper booby trap. If you, as an aspiring political pundit who fell in love with Trump's ideas, happen to like the feeling of superiority you get from being one of the enlightened ones when you support Trump, a feeling that he encourages in his "us against them" bellicose rhetoric, you cannot be confused. Ever. That is not an option. You have to have the answers and the correct ones. Otherwise the superiority feeling goes away anxiety sets in as the impostor syndrome wreaks havoc on your soul.

But, as a human being, you are confused on many things. You always are. If you are never confused, you never have to learn. So what to do to keep the superiority feeling running? Easy. You give up critical or skeptical thoughts and keep to preaching to everyone. At least you can understand preaching--you make some kind of moral statement about what others do, you do that in a tone of certainty, then praise and condemn with gushes and outrage at will.


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32 minutes ago, william.scherk said:

How does one encourage or stimulate critical thinking about any aspect of President Trump and his policies if an interlocutor suggests that all critics or questioners are Hater


And how does one take seriously anything based on the presupposition that one does not know what critical thinking is, because if he did, he would not support Trump? And if he supports Trump, he belongs to a cult?

Thus, the only thing such person needs to do--should do if he had any decency, and by God, the only human thing for him to do is sit down, shut up and learn from his anti-Trump betters what critical thinking is and how to do it.

Yeah, right...

The anti-Trumper elitists have been shitting on people who came out for Trump for decades--in popular culture, in open mockery, in demonizing them for every ill within the American culture.

Seems to me like the demonized folks are not the ones who need to learn critical thinking. It's the demonizers.

That's why offers of being schooled in critical thinking by the demonizers fall flat right now.

It's Lucy with the football. This time it will be different.

Yeah, right...

Do the demonizers hate? Maybe. Maybe not. Some do and some probably don't. But all of them sure as hell hold contempt for those they demonize--especially if the demonized are white Christians. (Oh... there are others they revile, but white Christians are the main object of their racism and bigotry.)

It probably stings like all get out that the ones they demonize hold government power right now. Forgive me (or not :) ) if I think the demonizers want back the government power they lost and want it back at all costs. And if I think they are phony-baloney in their sudden reasonableness as they try to seek an edge. And if I think they have no intention of changing their attitude. Ever. And if I think they are play-acting and doing a poor job of it.

In fact, if they get power back, I expect them to hail down as much vengeance as they can without mercy on those they blame for daring to get uppity.


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39 minutes ago, KorbenDallas said:

Why does there have to be a Trump/anti-Trump dichotomy?  Is that the only categories there are?


When anti-Trumpers bully Trump supporters, it's quite useful...


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1 hour ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:


When anti-Trumpers bully Trump supporters, it's quite useful...


I have several family members who voted for Trump, but I wouldn't have called them 'Trumpists'.  They fell into different categories, and I don't know their level of support now, my assumption is they'd probably vote for him again.  And I think there are more categories on the other end than 'anti-Trump', 'critical of Trump' comes to mind.

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My real beef, and I believe the beef of 99%+ of Trump supporters, is the set of people with a ruling class elitist mentality. These are smug condescending asshole control freaks who think they were born to rule over others. They consider themselves innately superior to human cattle (which, to them, is the vast majority of mankind).

I wouldn't mind leaving them alone to live out their pathetic little delusions of grandeur, but they keep getting government power and screwing up the world, including my corner of it. For example, look what Bush and Obama did to the economy. 

President Trump is wealthy, but he does not have this ruling class attitude. He has no interest in telling you what food you should eat or what words you are permitted to say or how ashamed you should be for this and that. And he celebrates it when you get wealth--especially through productive efforts. He's harsh on his critics and bad guys like ISIS, but loving to everyone else.

Some people--even among those who are not elitists--have difficulty discerning this difference. Elitist sure as hell do (although I suspect they know--they just hide it). But once you see it, you can't unsee it. It's every friggin' where.

Look around you as you walk around. There are people in your everyday life who feel good when you feel good. They celebrate you. Those are my kind of people (and they generally vote for Trump. :) )

Then there are others who want to tell you what to do all the time. They're always nagging at you and spoiling your good times. These are the elitist control freaks. And if you ignore them, they play guilt and shame mind games to get attention. I pity these people, but more and more, a feeling is growing in me that I can't stand them near me. I've got work to do and these folks constantly get in the way without contributing anything except being a legend in their own minds.

Who needs them except them? All they do is take and snark and posture about how much smarter and better they are than everyone else. They are about as useful to productive people as donuts are for sex. :) 


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Let's say William Scott Scherk is in a 'cult of belief' or a 'cult of ignorance.'  Let's further narrow it down to a subject area, one that WSS has written on at various times since he joined the forum -- the subject of Climate Change or Global Warming.  I note that Michael and I have butted up against each other's opinions more than once. I find these buttings of heads to be interesting to my interests in productive disagreements (and also to the tribulations of being in opposed "tribes").

There is one place in the various buttings where I think we were on the cusp of understanding each other. Here I include a long long post that served as an inflection point in discussion ...

On 11/17/2015 at 11:41 AM, william.scherk said:

Michael, thanks for the list of links/stories to examine -- I am always up to assess the level of whoopee in media treatments of climate change issues -- even if I was trying here to keep to a tight subject area within a larger ongoing discussion. As for the rest of your argument, I wish you more often engage with the points (or 'story') in my comments -- as well as more generally judge that I am 'doing it wrong.'

That said, a couple of earlier posts of yours stressing my lack of persuasive chops are still in my 'dry-dock,' only part way to launch. It is interesting to me, disagreement -- it is where the action is, so to speak. The OL consensus on climate change interests me because of any group of persons, a rational quorum is the one most likely to arrive at reliable knowledge. We almost all of us here believe in reason as best tool to arrive at that knowledge. We almost all have a faith that 'reality' can be apprehended through concerted reason.

We have had an exchange of climate topic meta-views, you first, and then me. To my chagrin, none of what I wrote opened any mental doors for you, as far as I could tell. I don't know how to engage you in the points that interest me. You perhaps don't know how to engage me in the points that interest you. We may be on entirely different flight paths to the same destination. In which case, it is an individual journey to understanding. I shouldn't perhaps expect you to engage in the pith of my commentaries until I more fully engage with the earlier comment to your satisfaction.

In 'dry-dock' is a longish piece from you suggesting several ways of 'doing it right'; I'll just straight up say I don't know exactly how to respond to its fullness. I will share one bit of the analytic work I did in plotting a response. Off the top I my head I wrote:


On my first read through of your comment/reaction above, Michael, my eye caught out a few signal phrases. . Then I figured I should read through carefully a second time for theme and story ignoring rhetoric in favour of core message, then I read through again to figure out three further things: where was the edge of divergence between you and I on the topic of the thread, which were the elements of agreement at various levels, what should be the story structure and tone of my response.

I could have done then a point-by-point venetian-blind response, but I chose not to, because you hadn't a ctually quoted or commented on any of my actual thousands of words. I went with a story that said "I am attracted to disagreement in order to get to agreement."

Now I can try to do this again, but more explicitly. The signal phrases were winnowed to two: "you and people like you" and "sleaze." The pith of your remarks are there.

I then began a 'venetian blind' response, then stopped, trying to winnow out the pith. Here's some of the phrases that I compiled:

  • those of your way of thinking, sleaze, scientists and administrators
  • promoting the end of times
  • power grab has been breathtaking in its amateurishness
  • do I see you, or people who think like you, slamming the dishonest assholes?
  • scientist who promotes AGW cannot be trusted
  • Al Gore is a clown and jerk
  • You just keep arguing
  • blast the idiots who abused their authority and good name
  • ostracizing them
  • Only after that can you have skeptics listen
  • huge mess of manipulation
  • "that guy" was a dishonest prick
  • filling his pockets
  • intimidating honest scientists
  • staging a power grab
  • not OK to ignore "that guy."
  • sleazy folks
  • Throw the bums off the team and I, for one, will start listening to other options
  • nobody believes people who tolerate and welcome scientists and administrators who sell-out their integrity on their team.
  • one of the main reasons for their skepticism is the sleaze on your side.
  • get rid of the sleazy folks.
  • Get pissed
  • sleaze. From nobody. Especially from folks on your side.
  • assholes betrayed you,
  • ignore it like you have been doing
  • you and those who think like you
  • You are afraid of the sleazy folks on your side come after you like you know they will
  • you keep dwelling in this alternate universe driven by end of times panic
  • contaminated
  • sheer greed
  • money and power
  • clear foundation is that lying and sleazy behavior to persuade people to save the planet from an ecological Apocalypse is virtue

-- a quite uncharitable interpretation of this is that I must behave as suggested and believe as suggested, and conclude as suggested, and then and only then will Michael engage with my comments at a deeper level.

This is a challenge. I am not done thinking about it. I wonder if it is going to be worthwhile to offer a challenge or challenges of my own.

In any case, it's all good, as they say. I am in this (paying broad attention to and writing on climate change issues) for myself above all. It is my own understanding which is my primary goal.

To that end, I can take on board Michael's trenchant criticism, and give close attention to the stories he wishes me to denounce. Who knows, maybe I will come out denouncing every single item in approved terms. Then, perhaps, I can interest Michael in reading the Spencer Weart book that I have touted here and there. Maybe that will be my challenge to thim.

So, this is part one of three responses. I will really try to respond to each strand of Michael's post. It is part of the chore of reasoning, a chore that I actually enjoy most times.

Almost immediately, Michael posted an equally long comment:

On 11/17/2015 at 3:02 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:


I do not consider you, or those similar to you, like the crappy dishonest AWG manipulators and sellouts. I think you have honest concerns and I would not be against looking at some of them (within my time constraints). But in neutral territory for real. Not from within your preordained core story and conviction that I do not share. (Nor mine, for that matter.)

I don't want to play a persuasion game. I want to identify correctly in order to evaluate correctly. I am willing to share that as common ground.

But I have been unable to get a simple idea across to you.

This can only happen when there is credible stuff to look at.

So long as there is silence from you and those similar to you about the crappy AWG manipulators and sellouts, I will not be persuaded to turn over my sanction for more money and power to those who wish to govern mankind's efforts against the alleged coming planetary apocalypse. Because that's what they are continually demanding: more money and more power. And they want to restrict what people can produce and how well they can live with manufactured goods. I do not treat their wishes for money and power as a distant abstraction. Nor do I treat all the dishonesty from AWG manipulators and sellouts as an inconvenient trifle.

Crappy AWG manipulators and sellouts, especially the ones who have been busted, are no longer credible.

And when you preach their causes, but give them a pass, your arguments get tainted by what they did. You can't get people to simply look because they have already seen too much from those who betrayed science.

I fell into this trap before. I went through technical studies, not once, but several times, trying to keep awake and interested. Forcing myself to be honest and open-minded. Then I discovered the people who wrote them were intent on deceiving the public because their own money depended on it. And they pressured peers who disagreed with them to leave the profession. (I actually started a few years ago by looking at Al Gore's documentary, then went on looking at some science papers. And news accounts. Then more papers and some nasty discussions.)

That was too much effort by me for that result. I can enjoy the story of a simple con by turning on the TV and watching a crime show. I don't need to fill my mind with technical data I will never use.

But, whenever I see you try to talk to folks like me about AWG, here comes a War and Peace size exposition of the same thing nobody ever looks at. I realize you deploy a lot of passion and work in getting it together, but it's almost like an intimidation tactic.

(The subtext--not by you, but when others do it--is if I do not expend long hours going religiously through all that stuff, I am too stupid to have an intelligent opinion regarding the big picture. In general re AWG, this no longer works as a silencing tactic and it sure as shootin' doesn't persuade anyone. I'm not saying you are trying to manipulate, but you are a primate and primates learn mainly by imitation. This tactic is something the AWG manipulators have done abundantly since the beginning. It almost seems natural to do it. If I were an AWG supporter, I would probably do the same. God knows I have imitated Rand's forms of writing before. :) )

And it accompanies questions like: "Which parts do you disagree with?" (Granted, with you there is usually some honest soul-searching mixed in and a bit of perplexity about why your message is not resonating, both of which I greatly appreciate.) But all throughout the exposition, there is total indifference as to whether your reams of homework for me and others might involve some of the crappy AWG manipulators and sellouts. Total silence about them.

Well, I'm not Charlie Brown and you are not Lucy with the football. I need a compelling reason to go through all that again since I have been burned a few times.

Let me give you a counter-example. Suppose I were defending a religion, say Christianity. Whenever you tell me you think there are honest religious folks, but you really dislike TV evangelists of the huckster kind, you think they are conmen, I go, "OK. Anyway, what do you find wrong with this?" And I list a ton-load of commentary on nuances of the Bible, including all the rulers in the ancient promised land before Samuel and Saul (the "judges" of the 12 tribes of Israel) and how they later related to Jesus and the Book of Revelation. And in the middle of it is a lot of the buzzwords and attitudes used by TV evangelists of the huckster kind, especially how you will resolve everything in your life if you accept Jesus as your savior, along with calls for more tithes and donations. Then I ask if you would please engage me in meaningful dialogue.

You ask me again, a bit uncomfortably, "What do you think of TV evangelists of the huckster kind? Like those who got busted with prostitutes and offshore accounts? Like those who fleeced the elderly? Like those sleazebags?"

I say, "Mumble mumble mumble... Anyway, I have good news for you. I have added to my list of Biblical nuance commentary. And it is only 297 pages of fine print. I've also included some folks who disagree with this or that religious doctrine. See? I'm meeting you halfway. So could you please let me know exactly which part you disagree with? btw - The people I support also want government control over you and everyone else on the planet, especially your sex life, because there's this big honking apocalypse coming and they need this control. But don't worry. They all agree with each other, so they keep each other honest..."

Then you ask, once again, "What do you think TV evangelists of the huckster kind? I think they are horrible, dishonest and a disgrace to their own integrity. They dishonor their religion. They are pure hypocrites. Why won't you repudiate them? I won't look at your information until you let me know what you think about them."

I answer, "Well... I mean... anyway... look here. I have some more Biblical nuance commentary. Another 312 pages. Isn't it exciting? I don't know why I can't get you or other people engaged. I know you are all intelligent, but you just won't engage... Why can't we have a rational discussion about this? Just look how you talk--the words you use when discussing religion:



fleece the elderly



disgrace to their integrity

dishonor their religion

pure hypocrites..."


In short, in this context, don't give me more technical homework. I've wasted enough time on that for my personal values. I will never use that stuff. Tell me a good story that sounds reasonable and I'll listen. But tell me to get on board with Al Gore's vanity apocalypse and treat me like I'm stupid or unfair for not analyzing all the details of that for 1,700 hours of tedious torture, you lost me.

(By Al Gore, I not only mean him, but every one of those who have been busted lying to the public and intimidating peers even as their fingers are still in the cookie jar.)

In further short, I have a great deal of contempt for scientists and science promoters who lie about the science under their watch to gain money and power. It perplexes me that honest people who formally hold science over religion (who hold science as sacred, in fact) are indifferent to this misuse when they seek to persuade and instruct the public about a cause they believe in.

My attitude is when an owner is fine with pickpockets freely running around in his store, I won't shop there. It doesn't matter how great he claims the quality of his goods are. I will avoid going in.

And should I go back (because "this time it's different") after getting ripped off several times and hearing about lots of others, I will be suspicious and ready to bolt in a moment's notice...


Yes, so, WSS is in a cult, or enveloped within a filter bubble, or is an unquestioning follower of an AGWA religion. Upon that supposition, can we use the Public Service Announcements of the Cult News Network or Tony Ortega to help him find a way out of the belief-system?





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16 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

I wouldn't mind leaving them alone to live out their pathetic little delusions of grandeur, but they keep getting government power and screwing up the world, including my corner of it.

That's definitely proof of your mental illness. These people know better than you how to manage your life. To reject the care they're offering, out of the goodness of their hearts, is insane. We're all basically helpless children who can't choose what's best for us. We need theses superior beings to guide us and to decide for us. We have to let them control us, and confiscate the fruits of our labors, to protect us and keep us safe. To not want to surrender to the warm embrace of their care, and to prefer the danger of your own deficient thinking, is the definition of crazy. Accept what's best for you.

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6 hours ago, william.scherk said:

Yes, so, WSS is in a cult, or enveloped within a filter bubble, or is an unquestioning follower of an AGWA religion. Upon that supposition, can we use the Public Service Announcements of the Cult News Network or Tony Ortega to help him find a way out of the belief-system?


We don't need to make so much effort. How about arriving at something reasonable, some way to find a middle ground so I can teach you how to think critically and maybe get you to realize the nature of the cult you are in?

What could I say to help convince you of that?

Reasonably speaking, of course.

Maybe not saying you are not in a cult?

And saying you know how to think for yourself?

By Jove, let's not be confrontational...

:evil:  :) 


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22 hours ago, william.scherk said:




When I'm told by people who have very strong beliefs in AGW that I'm anti-science and a flat-earther (while I'm asking them to show me the science that they think they're talking about), I naturally ask "well thought out questions" to stimulate Thought Provoking dialogue and critical thinking skills. I like to cite a brief identification of what the scientific method is, quickly touching on the importance of observation, experimentation, falsifiability, and most importantly, prediction and repeatability/verification. And then I ask them to show that method successfully being applied to AGW.

Thats usually when they start talking about "consensus" instead of delivering the science.

I like to try to get the discussion back on track, sometimes by quoting a favotie of mine from Crichton:

“Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

“There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.

“… Finally, I would remind you to notice where the claim of consensus is invoked. Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E = mc². Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way.”

And then I ask again for examples of AGW models successfully predicting reality. Let me see just one successful model, the whole thing, the program, the data, the equipment, the locations, the process, the whole ball of wax. Free and open review. I've found that insisting, persisting, and dragging the discussion back to the issue that they don't want to talk about seems to have the best chance of being effective.

Some people are very stubborn, but persistence often wears down their support crew and convinces them to at least abandon the snarky certainty and name calling.


P.S. And the same is generally true of cultish Objectivishes.


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I riff on the theme of fireplace chats.

On 1/15/2018 at 10:04 AM, william.scherk said:

Let's say William Scott Scherk is in a 'cult of belief' or a 'cult of ignorance.' 

Here is proof.

As soon as the views on this video reach 25, I am sending 50 bucks to support Objectivist Living ... it's not enough to provide content for readers. I think Michael and Kat deserve a lot of appreciation for this place. So, put your money where your big mouth is.

Edited by william.scherk
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On elastic terms used in persuasion. "Suppressive Person," "Enemy of the People,"  "The Demonizer,"  "Anti-Trumper elitist." 

On 1/14/2018 at 1:56 PM, KorbenDallas said:

I have several family members who voted for Trump, but I wouldn't have called them 'Trumpists'. 

-- From "Five Types of Trump Voters":



On 1/16/2018 at 2:27 PM, KorbenDallas said:
On 1/16/2018 at 10:14 AM, william.scherk said:

As soon as the views on this video reach 25, I am sending 50 bucks to support Objectivist Living ...

11 views at the time of this post... comon' folks!  Click that video, for the OL tribe!

20 views now ...

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23 hours ago, william.scherk said:
On 1/16/2018 at 2:27 PM, KorbenDallas said:
On 1/16/2018 at 10:14 AM, william.scherk said:

As soon as the views on this video reach 25, I am sending 50 bucks to support Objectivist Living ...

11 views at the time of this post... comon' folks!  Click that video, for the OL tribe!

20 views now ...

22! Help me reach my OL funding goal.

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Fifty Canadian dollars is released from bondage and sent on its way to Michael and Kat. Thanks for the clicks.

As a palate cleanser, the latest Luciferian Cult News from one of OL's officially-favoured barking dogs, David Seaman.

BONUS: I am compiling a list-bound blog post tentatively titled 25 Reasons to Love the Trump Presidency.  If you have any suggestions, poke them into the live-chat thing below.

Edited by william.scherk
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