One of the most commonly occurring mainstream media propaganda tropes when it comes to people who support Jeremy Corbyn is that they’re a “cult”.
Mainstream media outlets that have regularly resorted to this “cult” smear include the Daily Mail, Telegraph, Times, Sky, S*n, Guardian, Spectator, Bloomberg, LBC, Mirror, Express, Financial Times, Independent, City AM, and the supposedly ‘impartial’ BBC.
Other less mainstream outfits that have resorted to the “cult” smear include the vile Guido Fawkes hate chamber, the excruciable New European ‘centrist’ rag, and the Politics Home blog.
One of the oddest things about this “cult of Corbyn” label is the fact that most of the establishment politicians and journalists using it remain blissfully unaware of the fact that they’re the cheerleaders for a much more obvious cult: the cult of orthodox neoliberalism that has infected the Westminster establishment class for four ruinous decades.
There are many reasons that the professional political pundit class refuse to admit that they’re the paid cheerleaders for a dangerous and increasingly unpopular cult. Here are just a few of them.
If the majority of your peers and colleagues are also members of the ideological cult, it’s easily possible to imagine that you and your friends are the normal ones, while it’s those on the outside have been infected with some kind of ideological degeneracy.
The tendency to deny one’s own cultish behaviour because it’s completely normal within the cult is clear evidence of cultism.
The reason that establishment elitists so often take the position that “the stupid plebs are wrong again” is that they simply won’t accept anything that goes against the core pillars of their cult-like faith in neoliberal economic dogma.
Even when two of the pillars were completely destroyed in front of their eyes, the neoliberal cultists somehow managed to keep their unshakeable faith in them.
In 2007-08 the UK financial sector collapsed into insolvency as a result of their reckless unregulated gambling on complex financial products they clearly didn’t even understand.
The only way the government could save the bankers’ from the consequences of their own actions was to initiate the biggest state intervention in the history of the British economy.
Thus two pillars of orthodox neoliberalism were reduced to rubble in front of the nation’s eyes. The belief that deregulated markets regulate themselves rather than collapsing into insolvency, and the belief that state intervention is bad.
But somehow the neoliberal cultists in the Westminster establishment simply blocked out the undeniable evidence that the pillars of their faith had broken, to continue pushing the same pro-deregulation small-state fanaticism that everyone can see is flawed.
The tendency to perform absurd mental gymnastics to maintain faith the face of demonstrable evidence that it’s wrong is evidence of cultism.
To neoliberal cultists mantras like “private sector good, public sector bad”, “more deregulation”, “more privatisation”, “tax cuts for the rich, welfare cuts for the poor”, “more outsourcing” seem like perfect common sense, because it’s pretty much all they ever hear within their bubble of privilege.
To many on the outside these ridiculous incantations sound like the gibberish of brainwashed fools. But the neoliberal cultists will never accept that they’re wrong because their belief in all of this nonsense is continually reaffirmed by others within the echo chambers of privilege they occupy.
The tendency to resort to ridiculous incantations of faith that sound like gibberish to normal people is evidence of cultism.
To outside observers it’s remarkably obvious that Westminster is utterly obsessed with the cult of neoliberalism.
Until Jeremy Corbyn came along all three of the Westminster establishment parties offered the public only slightly differing concoctions of the same nauseating gruel of pro-austerity orthodox neoliberalism.
The polls are absolutely clear that there is massive public support for ideas that go against the neoliberal orthodoxy: Renationalisation of the railways. Higher taxes for the rich. Better pay and working conditions for ordinary workers. Increased funding for the NHS. Investment in social housing …
However it’s much easier for the cult members to believe that “the stupid plebs are wrong again” than to actually question the core tenets of their economic ideology.
Thus if the public believe that rail privatisation is a shambles, it’s not because they can see the evidence of their eyes that it is, it’s because they’re too stupid to know that it’s against the rules of the cult to ever question the wisdom of privatisation.
If the public ask why the Tory government imposed ideological austerity on the poor and ordinary whilst showering corporations and the mega-rich with handouts and tax cuts, it’s not that they’re right to be complaining about the transparent unfairness, it’s because they’re too stupid to know that it’s against the rules of the cult to ever question the upwards redistribution of wealth.
If the public ask why the Tory government kept showering the borderline insolvent company Carillion with contracts, it’s not that they’re right to be asking about such idiocy, it’s because they’re too stupid to know that it’s against the rules of the cult to ever question the wisdom of corporate outsourcing.
The tendency to treat outsiders and non-conformists as dangerously stupid people who are best ignored is a classic sign of cultism.
If you’re incapable of seeing how elitism, arrogance, and aloofness are absolutely commonplace within the Westminster establishment, there’s really no helping you is there?
The Westminster political establishment behave like an elitist mafia, constantly closing ranks to protect their own from the criticism of outsiders.
And the mainstream media more often behave as their official scribes, mindlessly churnalising government press releases and propaganda narratives from within the Westminster establishment bubble, rather than acting like people charged with actually holding the wealthy political elitists to account.
The tendency to consider cult members as the enlightened few is a classic sign of cultism.
Orthodox neoliberal politicians continually share links to mainstream media sites, and even to vile right-wing hate chambers like the Guido Fawkes blog because these are the cult’s approved sources.
And they’re also desperate to smear independent media sites (like Another Angry Voice, Novara Media, Evolve Politics, The Canary, Skwawkbox, Double Down News, Tom Pride, Vox Political) as unreliable “fake news” to be ridiculed and ignored.
Of course Independent media sites are not infallible, but anyone trying to make out that independent sites like Another Angry Voice and Evolve Politics are somehow worse than the Daily Mail propaganda outfit or the grotesque Guido Fawkes hate mob is clearly pushing an ideological vendetta.
The tendency to revere select texts and writers as the only reliable sources, and to deride the entire output of other writers and sources as unworthy of attention is definitely cult-like behaviour.
Just think of the enraged right-wing Labour MP Ian Austin furiously haranguing Jeremy Corbyn in parliament as he was apologising for Labour’s role in the Iraq war in light of the damning Chilcot Report.
As far as cult members are concerned, it doesn’t matter how much evidence they’re shown that their beloved leaders deceived them, tricked them, lied to them, led them into disaster … they’ll never accept it, and they’ll turn their fury on those who dare to criticise their idols, or hold them to account.
If anyone suggests Tony Blair should be held to account for war crimes in Iraq, or that David Cameron should be held accountable for driving the UK off a Brexit cliff just to nab a few votes off UKIP at the 2015 General Election, then cult members react with absolute fury.
The tendency to relentlessly attack those who attempt to hold the cult leaders to account is a definite sign of cultism.
Now that the cult of orthodox neoliberalism is so firmly embedded within the power structures of the establishment, any politician who comes out fighting against the core tenets of the cult is obviously going to be treated like a heretic and a pariah.
And this is exactly what has happened to Jeremy Corbyn for proposing stuff like public ownership, free education from cradle to grave, ending the reliance on dodgy one-sided outsourcing contracts, a national investment bank, a real crackdown on tax-dodging, improved pay and working conditions, increased funding for the NHS and emergency services, investment in social housing, and a proper planned industrial strategy rather than the ruinous “leave it to the markets” chaos of the neoliberal cultists.
The three year long campaign of hate from pretty much the entire Westminster establishment class (including dozens of members of his own political party) and the mainstream media is firm evidence that in the eyes of the cultists Jeremy Corbyn is a heretic who needs to be eliminated for his refusal to comply with the strictures of the cult of orthodox neoliberalism.
The ostracisation of heretics is one of the most obvious indicators of cultism it’s possible to witness.
They can’t be unaware of the downside of neoliberalism for millions upon millions of ordinary people. The soaring rates of child poverty. Millions of people trapped in unstable low-pay jobs on Zero Hours Contracts and in the fake self-employment gig economy. The longest sustained decline in workers’ wages in history. Massive NHS waiting lists. An estimated austerity death toll of 120,000 people. Students being loaded up with crippling debts they’ve got no chance of ever clearing despite a lifetime of loan repayments. The systematic abuse of sick and disabled people. Soaring violent crime as a result of Tory police cuts …
They just choose not to focus on these things because they know that they’ve personally done very nicely out of orthodox neoliberalism so far, and that highlighting the failings of the cult is really obviously against their own personal self interest.
A system of rewards for loyalty to the cult is as essential as a system of punishment for those who dare to question it.
One of the most obvious signs of cultism is the belief that the same cultish behaviour is the solution to all manner of problems.
- The crops have failed – more sacrifices to the Gods
- There’s a drought – more sacrifices to the Gods
- The people are dying of disease – more sacrifices to the Gods
- There’s a plague of locusts – more sacrifices to the Gods
- there are heathens at the gates of the village – more sacrifices to the Gods
- There’s flooding – more sacrifices to the Gods
This is exactly the same way the cult of neoliberalism works. Whatever the crisis, the solutions always remain the same: More privatisation, more outsourcing, more deregulation, more tax cuts for the rich, more welfare cuts for the poor, more centralisation of political power, more attacks on workers’ rights …
Thus the Tory solution to the bankers’ insolvency crisis (which was caused by neoliberal cultism) was yet more hard-right neoliberal economic dogma crudely repackaged as austerity.
When neoliberal austerity dogma resulted in falling real terms wages, collapsing public services, a huge NHS crisis, flatlining productivity … the Tory solution was yet more neoliberalism in the form of a hard-right Brexit shambles aimed at stripping away our EU derived workers’ rights, consumer protections, environmental laws, equality legislation, and food standards.
When the Tory Brexit shambles results in another massive economic crisis, no doubt their solution will be yet more neoliberalism in the form of wage repression, privatisation, deregulation, tax cuts for corporations and the mega-rich, public service cuts …
This insistence upon using the same cultish solutions to all manner of problems (many of which were caused by adherence to the cultish way of doing things in the first place) is absolutely clear evidence of cultism.
Adherents of orthodox neoliberalism will react with fury to the argument that they’re actually the ones who are stuck in a cult. They’ll turn to their other cult members in horror and furiously decry the outsiders for daring to point out all of their cult-like behaviour.
We’re ‘centrists’ they’ll plead. We’re ‘moderates’. What we believe in is ‘common sense’.
But for all of their protestations they can’t answer one simple thing.
If they’re so right, and Jeremy Corbyn is so wrong that they’ve spent three years trying so hard to destroy him, why are the neoliberal establishment club so unpopular that their attacks on Corbyn actually end up ringing out as endorsements in the minds of people who refuse to subjugate themselves to the bankrupt ideological dogma of orthodox neoliberalism?