Stop Menticide Now

When I was a college student at Indiana University in Bloomington, I often went to Collins Hall for lunch. Later I learned that Collins was where lived the infamous Jim Jones who led a mass suicide of 918 people in Guyana, on November 18, 1978. At his direction, followers in “Jonestown” drank a cyanide-laced punch, just after the killing of a congressional delegation that was investigating human rights issues on the premises. According to the Cult Education Institute, Jonestown was Jim’s vision of a socialist paradise that he and his followers thought was necessary for salvation. There are quite a few books about Jim being a CIA operative and Jonestown an extension of MK Ultra, but my focus here is not conspiracy—it’s on how to stop people from drinking the cyanide-laced Kool-Aid.

January 1977 photo by Nancy Wong. Reverend Jim Jones is given an award on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at Glide Memorial Church, 330 Ellis Street by Reverend Cecil Williams in San Francisco.

Menticide, a piercing word coined by Dutch psychiatrist Joost Meerloo, means “killing of the mind.” Is this what caused so many to follow Jim Jones to their death? I was looking for the answer in Meerloo’s best-selling 1956 book The Rape of the Mind, but what I found instead were lofty ideals about democracy, more than 115 references. “Democracy is nonconformity…based on freedom and individualism…it is mutual loyalty…involves free, self-chosen activity and understanding,” he wrote, as if Democracy were a religion. Funny thing is that democrats made and hyped-up Jim Jones and his religiopolitical vision. According to the Washington Examiner, democratic leaders compared Jim Jones to MLK and Gandhi. Left-wing lawyers described Jonestown as a paradise.

In last week’s post, I listed quotes that show our founding fathers despised democracy. But since the 1950s or so, we’ve seen it rise. According to academics interviewed last year by the New York Times, the United States actually became a democracy in the 1960s and 70s. I’d call this major “misinformation” since we still have The Constitution of the United States of America that limits government’s power, and we are still officially a republic. In a democracy (direct or representative), individual members of any minority group have NO PROTECTION AGAINST UNLIMITED POWER OF THE MAJORITY. While the U.S. is NOT legally structured as a democracy; it proselytizes the ancient religion of Demokratia. It worships the superhuman power of the Majority.

As Jim Jones used Jonestown to rape his follower’s minds—with the help of celebrities—the tyrants of the West use “democracy” to justify what they do to the world. In a democracy, the Majority is a powerful tyrant. But the reason that democracy is a path to tyranny is because the mind of the Majority is so easily swayed, manipulated, and controlled. Whoever controls the media, controls the mind. We have never seen the face of a tyrant, but we hear his voice everywhere. Its melodious hypnotic repetition coerces people into fighting for democracy, as a higher power, and surrendering their thinking minds. I’ve thought about how this happens, and it baffles me. What I do know is that persuasion and trust play a big role.

In his book, Requiem for Modern Politics: The Tragedy of the Enlightenment and the Challenge of the New Millennium, William Ophuls makes a good point that liberalism—individual freedom and the right to own property—came from an aberration of ecological abundance. The last 450 years marked an “era of exception” in the span of history. In a similar way, Alexis de Tocqueville saw America as a happy accident. America was big and it hadn’t really consolidated authority yet. There were no noble titles or oscillated structures to befuddle its spirit. It was a temporary condition of idealism free from the aristocratic class. It was a consequence of being a frontier state, rather than an intentional new world order. Tocqueville also predicted a creeping tyranny of the majority, where individualism would be lost.

After having thus taken each individual one by one into its powerful hands, and having molded him as it pleases, the sovereign power extends its arms over the entire society; it covers the surface of society with a network of small, complicated, minute, and uniform rules, which the most original minds and the most vigorous souls cannot break through to go beyond the crowd; it does not break wills, but it softens them, bends them and directs them; it rarely forces action, but it constantly opposes your acting; it does not destroy, it prevents birth; it does not tyrannize, it hinders, it represses, it enervates, it extinguishes, it stupifies, and finally it reduces each nation to being nothing more than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.” —Alexis de Tocqueville

There are lots of indirect causes of menticide, but it seems to happen simultaneously with national and moral decline, and a rise of hubris. Moral and religious values are what keep people civil and respectful in dialog. According to John Glubb, in The Fate of Empire and Search for Survival, p. 26, “The stages of the rise and fall of great nations seem to be: The Age of Pioneers (outburst), The Age of Conquests, The Age of Commerce, The Age of Affluence, The Age of Intellect, and The Age of Decadence. Decadence is marked by: Defensiveness, Pessimism, Materialism, Frivolity, An influx of foreigners, The Welfare State, A weakening of religion… Decadence is due to: Too long a period of wealth and power, Selfishness, Love of money, The loss of a sense of duty.” Tocqueville saw similar cracks in the making.

Pay attention to whom you give authority, and be careful with your heart and mind. Menticide happens through submission to authority, without conscious reflection on where that authority comes from or what drives it. It’s offered through trust. People who have big degrees, from big-name colleges or universities, or big titles in corporations, are trustworthy, right? You can believe what you see on the news, right? Whether we realize it or not, we submit ourselves every day to authority around us. Authority, by its establishment, commands submission, but authority can be false and/or deceptive. Alfred Lord Tennyson had a keen observation: “Authority forgets a dying king.” Make no mistake, America is dying, and many people are seeing through its mirage of power.

In a similar way that Hollywood celebrities have been involved in legitimizing modern-day cults like NXIVM, political celebrities were responsible for legitimizing Jim Jones and Jonestown. Be careful about celebrities—ancient Greece loved drama and theatre! No one can deny that our entertainment-driven Demokratia, religion of the West, gives authority to celebrities over laws. It does this through the art of seduction by putting pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony, and sloth at the center of the American dream and media. You can be anyone you want to be, except yourself! It is extremely hard to be yourself in a democracy. Just about every young person today envies the easy money of the social-media entertainer. If you do not entertain, then you have stock in entertainment companies and watch them grow. Entertainment is king! And it has authority, for now.

Some of the world’s greatest thinkers, like Socrates and Plato, despised democracy. They experienced its bad actors, hackable flaws, and road to ruin. The Socratic Method is perhaps our best strategy against the menticide that can leak through democratic majority rule. It is dialogue that’s led by continual probing questions, to explore the underlying beliefs that shape people’s views. True wisdom comes from recognizing one’s own ignorance and continually questioning one’s knowledge and beliefs. It’s an attitude towards yourself and your fellow humans that requires humility, one of the seven virtues. Democracy is not humble; it venerates the self as a member of a homogenous majority and cancels individuals with differences. Socrates said, “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” We stop menticide by being humble and thinking critically. We question and challenge authority and ordinary people’s ideas with love and respect.


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