269. The army (III)
A few years ago, I observed that America is Jonestown; since that time, America has only become Jonestown but more so. Jonestown was an agricultural commune in South America founded by the preacher Jim Jones and his People’s Temple. Jones ushered his congregation down to South America where he became convinced that the American government was about to raid his commune; before this could happen, Jones had a visiting Congressman shot and then ordered his followers to commit suicide with poisoned Kool-Aid—909 people died and so Jones gifted us the phrase “drink the Kool-Aid” to refer to a collective delusion that ends in suicide.
Jonestown is particularly apposite for contemporary America because Jim Jones was a Marxist disguised as a Christian. This may surprise the casual observer, since Jones is usually presented as a Christian preacher—an eccentric preacher, but a religious wacko not a political wacko. Jones was a Marxist from his early youth in Indiana, where he attended Communist Party rallies, but what made him different from other American Marxists was that he was a psychopath—we know this because Jones tortured cats to death as a kid, a tell for psychopathy. As a psychopath, Jones was Machiavellian: when he noticed Communism was unpopular, he reasoned that Christianity, by contrast, was popular and protected; so he kept his Marxist beliefs and set up as a preacher: he skinned Christianity and wore it as a disguise for his Marxism.
While Marxists had always worked with religious fellow travellers and naïve churchmen to achieve their goals and many churches have, in recent years, moved to the left under state compulsion, the left has rarely been as brazen as Jones. Most leftists are not psychopaths, they would find it too much of a conflict with their atheism to adopt a religious garb for their views. For the psychopath, it is simply a logical solution to the popularity problem.
The name Jones chose for his church—“People’s Temple”—gives away its Marxist pretensions: the Eastern Bloc countries were known as “the people’s democracies”. In liberal San Francisco, Jones preached racial equality and ensured that his church mixed all races together—he attracted a poor black following mixed with idealistic young white liberals. Jones himself adopted a “rainbow family”, a child from every race; naturally, he also ended up in various affairs—heterosexual and homosexual—with these children.
The term “rainbow family” is significant, Jones and his church were plugged into San Francisco politics, including campaigns for Harvey Milk—now a secular American saint, an American Stakhanovite, but then the coming man of the gay rights movement, with its rainbow flag. Similarly, Jones mixed with San Francisco pols such as Dianne Feinstein, later influential in national politics. The point is not that there was a conspiracy—Milk was sceptical towards Jones and his crew. Rather, you can see the broad sensibility in San Francisco at that time, represented by the now ubiquitous rainbow, and how the general ideas Jones promoted—rainbow racial intermixture, sexual experimentation, and socialism—eventually broke out to become mainstream American values. After all, surely America’s real flag today is the Rainbow, not Old Glory?
As with many paranoid dictators, Jones killed almost all his followers with him. He claimed that the “racist fascists” were coming to get his followers and destroy their commune. All America had done—like a concerned suburban dad—was send a Congressman to see if the kids were, perhaps, just a bit out of hand. In a final gesture that gave the game away, Jones bequeathed his church’s fortune to the Soviet Union; it is doubtful that his followers ever knew their preacher was a hardcore Marxist: they thought all he wanted was interracial love and understanding. The parallels with Jones, BLM, CRT, and the rainbow sensibility are all too clear after last summer’s riots: the mob, riven by sentimental delusion stoked by manipulative preachers, will destroy everything of value—eventually they drink the Kool-Aid and kill themselves as well.