Obey: I Am Your Cult Leader

by wjw on May 24, 2011

The recent excitement over the failed Rapture has brought to mind the fact that I have often thought that, if only I were a sociopath, I’d be really, really rich now.  I’d start a religion, like L. Ron, and make a lot of money, and not pay taxes.

It would be a damn good religion, too.  It would answer most of the major questions and gloss over the rest.  (“Why is there pain?  BECAUSE GOD HATES YOU!  And God will KEEP ON HATING YOU until you LEARN TO OBEY WALTER IN EVERY LITTLE DETAIL!”)

Why haven’t I done this? you may ask.  Well, for starters, I’m not a sociopath.   Trust me, I’m not.  (Trust me . . . trust me.)  But even if I were a sociopath, I’d probably hesitate at starting a religion.  The reason is the company that you keep.

I’ve known people who knew L Ron Hubbard.  I knew Jack Williamson, I know Fred Pohl, I’ve known some others from that era.  And you know what?  I’d rather hang with them.   They’re smart, they’re fun,  they’re entertaining.

If I were a cult leader, I’d be surrounded by disciples all day.  How dreary would it be to find yourself, day after day, amid a pack of followers who look to you to provide meaning to their lives?  Even Jesus could only stand it a few years, and Jesus was a lot more tolerant of human foibles than I.

If I weren’t insane when I started, I’d be batshit crazy within a few years.  I’d run off on my yacht to hunt treasure I’d somehow located on the psychic plane, I’d start babbling to 400-foot-tall deities standing on the lawn, I’d claim to be a reincarnation of a philosopher-king of Atlantis.   I might just predict the end of the world for 6pm EDT on a Saturday.

Because being a cult leader means never having to say you’re sorry.

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