We can only be right with and by the Party, for history has provided no other way of being in the right.—Leon Trotsky
It was a hallmark of twentieth-century totalitarian movements, especially Soviet-led Communism, that they cast a spell over believers’ minds as strong as that of the religions they claimed to supplant. As the Republican Party completes its transformation into a totalitarian entity under a leader it regards as infallible as Stalin was for 1930s Communists, it is not surprising to find it taking on the same pseudo-religious cast.
I experienced this fervor in a small way myself some time back, when I wrote a post critical of the dictator on Facebook. The topic was nothing to do with religion, but an acquaintance reacted with fury, saying among other things, “Don’t you even believe in God?” before unfriending me. For people like her, and they are legion, the dictator’s cause is holy.
The most frightening way this pseudo-religious fervor expresses itself is by converting the Party into a Church Militant that can tolerate no heresy, much less blasphemy against the quasi-divine figure of the Leader. Thus, we have the Wyoming GOP solemnly voting that Liz Cheney is no longer a Republican due to her support for impeaching the dictator after the January 6 putsch. There is actually no mechanism that I am aware of to expel anyone from either of America’s two major parties, but that is the sense of it. All that was missing was the lighting of black candles and the Latin chants.
Purges are under way at all levels of the Party, led wherever possible by the Great Man himself, who is determined to root out any and all dissenters. Terror is spreading at school board meetings throughout the land, as enraged MAGA fascists spew the most hair-raising threats at anyone who dares stand for COVID-19 vaccinations, mask-wearing against the spread of the disease, or the teaching of the truth about America’s racist past. The intention is to drive out all opposition and impose a MAGA curriculum, and with the election of Glenn Youngkin in Virginia and polls showing voters now “trusting” the GOP as much as the Democrats on education, it is clear that this strategy is working. So it goes too with stacking state, county and local offices charged with enforcing fair and free elections; it’s not just that MAGA loyalists are being elected to these positions, it’s that non-MAGAs, including traditional Republicans, are quitting in the face of the threats.
Is it any wonder, in this atmosphere, that the dictator’s right-hand military man, Michael Flynn, is publicly calling for all Americans to be of one religion? No prizes for guessing which one: dictator-infused Protestant evangelicalism will be the state religion when he returns to power. We may expect even the Catholic Church to have the same kinds of problems in America, in that case, as it has in “Communist” China.
One of the few things we can predict with certainty in the current terrifying period of American social and political breakdown is that this cult of the dictator and his loathsome “beliefs” will fail, as all such fraudulent religions eventually do. But the historical record is grim about the human toll such fanaticisms take, before they fail. In the meantime, in Virginia, they’re calling for burning school books that are proscribed by the Church of MAGA, and as Heinrich Heine observed long ago, when they start burning books, they’ll be burning people, soon enough.