The CULT: Recruiting Students for Barbarism

Malleable students become foot-soldiers for a fake “social justice” cause

By Stanley K. Ridgley, Ph.D.

The latest unrest roiling America’s college campuses has all the earmarks of the standard far-left operation — well-organized and supported by on-campus bureaucrats, supported lavishly by off-campus groups, and mobilization of students for a cause that they only dimly understand.

The topic at hand, of course, is the current war between Israel and the terrorist organization Hamas, occasioned by the October 7, 2023, surprise terror attack on Israel from Gaza.

The protests on American campuses have an ersatz character, having morphed quickly from calls for a “ceasefire” to outright demonstrations of support for the barbarism of Hamas.

Increasingly, in fact, it seems the vast majority of the participants comprise hangers-on, non-students, and students who simply want to be a part of something larger than themselves, as long as someone calls it “social justice.”

The problem with this is that the cadre leadership charged with mobilizing an on-demand crowd are keenly aware of the techniques that attract the idealistic and easily manipulated, even into supporting the most barbarous of causes.

One of those techniques you can witness yourself in the scores of videos taken and posted online. It consists of the call-and-response, a technique utilized by cults for decades.

The call-and-response rejuvenates the faithful and indoctrinates new recruits alike. Repetition together — the in-unison mantra — is a powerful tool of the collective. It assists in the difficult task of creating the hivemind of groupthink, in contradistinction to the individual endowed with the ability to think critically.

If you find yourself too tired or confused to make decisions, ask yourself why. Cults use techniques like sleep-deprivation, alternate states of consciousness, repetition, and thought-stopping to overwhelm someone’s cognitive resources and critical thinking skills.

They destabilize your view of reality.

And when your mind is under threat, you keep returning to the safety and love of your leader. It doesn’t mean you’re stupid, even if you develop false beliefs. All humans have false beliefs and a tendency toward magical thinking. But cult members depend on the cult for direction when their brains are disoriented.

Here’s an example of the call-and-response cult technique at work at Columbia University, this one led by self-appointed student cult leader Khymani James, who has called for the elimination of “Zionists” and who has doubled down on his rhetoric: “Be grateful that I’m not just going out and murdering Zionists,” he said in January.

He has since “apologized,” alleging that he “misspoke.”

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