A cult is a small, unpopular religion. A religion is a large and fashionable cult. When the disesteemed and shunned become desirable and popular, there follows respect, if not dignity and honour. All religions begin as subversive cults, extended and advanced only by the allure of their confession mediated by the charisma of their prophet. The task is to mesmerise, captivate and enthuse. When your disciples truly believe the faith, there’s no stopping them.
Jeremy Corbyn is on track to become the leader of the Labour Party. On the plus side, he objects to assisted dying (or did in 1997); opposes the notion of religious hate-speech (or did in 2001) and supports freedom of religion (or did in 2005). He is staunchly against identity cards (or was in 2004); opposed to the extension of gambling (or did in 2005); and is very much in favour of a referendum on the UK’s continuing membership of the EU.
On the downside, he keeps company with the IRA, Hamas, Hezbollah, anti-Semites, Holocaust-deniers and Owen Jones. He has a beard, wears a crumpled suit and looks a bit like a geography teacher from the 1970s. Speaking of the 1970s, he wants to re-open all the coalmines, re-nationalise the utilities and railways, bring back Clause IV
and make fax machines mandatory. It would be as if Margaret Thatcher had never existed, let alone her creation Tony Blair and New Labour.
And perhaps that is his dissimulative and dominatory objective. All revolutionary religious movements are zealous to establish a new social order. In order to achieve that, the fanatical followers deface images, burn idols and smash the offending altars. In their ideological march for progress, they seek to turn back the clock to the old and trusted paths; to rebuild the foundations and revive the truth.
In the pursuit of freedom and equality, security and adventure, personal worth and community cohesion, the question of who might lead Her Majesty’s Official Opposition is of acute importance to us all. Labour’s political philosophy is a social reality. Jeremy Corbyn’s ideology is a behavioural consistency. Bring the two together, and you revive the party’s collective conscience, and their instinct is to superimpose their dogma upon all institutions because the people are lost and don’t know what’s good for them.
At the time of writing, an astonishing 478 people are praying for Jeremy Corbyn to become leader of the Labour Party via the Amen prayer facility on the Home Page. God might yet choose a socialist to restore the freedom to attack certain opinions, criticise behaviour, reprove actions or proclaim the unfashionable truth of beliefs and practices which have become de riguer. And then we might learn that not everything is dichotomous: politics is diminished and philosophy impoverished when self-reflection is reduced to Manichæan ineliminable values. Perhaps our political discourse needs liberating. Why else would God raise up someone who says what he means and means what he says?