Demagogues succeed for one reason. They inspire blind followers in a large minority of a population to discard their critical thinking capacities and willingly become co-purveyors of THE LIE.
Demagogues throughout history have relied on The Lie, or in the case of President Donald Trump, The Lies, to provide them with a tempered grip on the minds and imaginations of their followers. They are also adept at training their followers in Pavlovian responses.
President Trump could stand his followers in front of a wall that is painted black and then announce that the wall was green and his followers would go right along behind him, proclaiming that the wall was green and ready to bash anyone who disagreed. Without missing a beat, he could switch and say the wall was white, and they would all start screaming in unison that the wall was white.
The rallies he holds are examples of crowd conditioning in Pavlovian responses. President Trump always seems to get around to saying at least one hideous thing about somebody — usually a powerful woman — and encouraging the crowd to chant violent wishes about her. Then he stands there with a satisfied look his face and grooves on the pleasure of listening to them chant.
The next day, when saner people respond with outrage, the White House issues a blatant lie that the President didn’t mean it that way and that those who are outraged are all liars and fake newsers. His followers immediately repeat this disclaimer with the same sense of near sexual satisfaction that the president demonstrated while he listened to his blind followers chanting hate at his rally.
This is crowd conditioning in Pavlovian responding in action.
Everything he says is an appeal to hate somebody. His followers are his little hate bots, let loose in our society like heat-seeking missiles, attacking everything and everyone he directs them to attack.
There is nothing new about this. It’s how demagogues have worked since long before the invention of microphones, television and the internet.
It is also a repeat of history many times over that he is using the churches to further his hatred and verbal violence, that preachers who have never really been Christians, but who are just demagogues in the religious sphere, coalesce around their true god, which is access to power.
I have no use for religious leaders who bow down before political powers. Their teaching is anathema to me. That means I don’t follow them.
I don’t follow religious leaders who “bless” abortion clinics.
I don’t follow religious leaders who support rapists. Who somehow “know” that every rape victim of a powerful man is lying when she finds the awful courage to speak out.
I don’t follow any religious leader who is a disciple of worldly power, who excuses evil in the name of politics.
I am not a very good Christian. I hope I have made that clear. I fail daily in following Him.
But I am a Jesus Christian. My hope — my only hope — is Jesus Christ and His mercy.
I love Jesus. When I see people who claim to be his followers mouthing hate of other people in His Name, it really gets to me. It feels like a blow.
Priests and preachers who claim they speak for Jesus Christ and follow after other gods, who teach and preach to their followers to run after other gods, are the teachers and preachers of evil. They are causing the loss of many souls and damaging the cause of Christ for generations to come. They are preaching and teaching that the mercy of Christ is a lie, that the love of Christ is a weakness, that the Gospels of Christ must be ignored for what they deem more important considerations.
The only morality they teach is a selective use of moral teaching to attack political opponents. They do not apply moral principles to their political allies. What they do instead is give their political allies their blanket imprimatur as religious leaders. They enable their flesh and bone political gods to commit any immorality at all and call it righteousness.
This is not just moral relativism. It is amoral, anti-Christ heresy, the Political Heresy, taught in the name of Christ with the moral authority of religious leadership.
I don’t know any words for the depth of depravity of this deliberate, power-seeking, evil-blessing, morality-defying, Christ-denying false gospel of hate these men and women of the cloth are teaching and preaching. I only know that it is does not come from God on high. It comes from the pit.