What We Do
This blog is about providing deep, insightful original thinking about toxic groups. We started with an exclusive focus on Scientology but we will probably look at other groups over time.
We’re also happy to lighten the tone with occasional pieces in a more humorous vein. A recent example: an analysis of the odd musical partnership of Steely Dan’s founder, Donald Fagen, appearing on the new solo record by Spinal Tap’s bassist Derek Smalls. However, we promise never to repost cat memes from Instagram in a pathetic bid to amp up our page view “stats.”
We hope that our work will help build a community of like-minded readers who can use the material and the comments from others, to go out and oppose those things we think need opposing, and to do so more effectively.
Some of the things we plan to grapple with:
- Scientology: because we have a lot of experience analyzing this cult, and because it unifies so many disparate strains of dangerous high-control groups into one dysfunctional organization.
- Cults-The Next Generation: The internet and social media profoundly change the economics and the recruiting techniques for cults. We’ll look at how the next wave of cults might be different from classical highly organized international cultic groups like Scientology or the Unification Church. The new wave of Internet-enabled cults will look different on the surface, but will probably be just as dangerous as old-school groups.
- Religions on the Edge: We are interested in how some religious groups will react to major challenges. For example, the growth rate for Jehovah’s Witnesses has slowed dramatically over the last few years. Is it possible to predict what this group will do when they lose a major selling point of “straight up and vertical expansion” (to coopt a Scientology term)?
- Fringe political movements: The last decade has seen significant increase in fringe political views, most often on the far right (at other times in history, the far left has been the main offender). Consider the “birther” conspiracists who believe that President Obama was a Kenyan citizen ineligible to hold office and was a secret Muslim bent on implementing Sharia law. More recently, various “Sovereign Citizens” have been in the news spouting anti-government views and bizarre psedo-legal rituals they think free them from taxes and criminal laws they don’t like.
- Showing our card tricks: We’ll run “backstage” posts on how to do your own research. The better you get at finding out the truth yourself and making sure it’s well anchored, the better it is for the world at large.
How We Do It
Our style is to write longer-form pieces that do deeper analysis of events than a traditional blog or news article. We’re not trying to break news, though we’ll happily publish a scoop if we get one. We’ll take the time to figure out the subtler implications of news or of something we’ve noticed. We’ll try to bring in data from multiple sources to call bullshit on propaganda that is ripe for bullshit being called. And we’ll try to help readers understand the analytical thinking process. This blog reflects passion and skill sets of its authors.
Unlike a traditional news report, we’ll take a firm stand on an interpretation of events. No mealy-mouthed “both sides” treatment here. We aim for “all killer, no filler” — we’re trying to be the opposite of clickbait.
And where we think we have a credible scenario, we’ll take a stand at predicting the future. We’ll go beyond the present. And we’ll dare to be wrong; we’ll air our dirty laundry in public and dissect our mistakes.
If you’d like to join us as a regular author and get your name on this list, click here. We also welcome one-time contributions that fit our format.