Waking up to the Cathedral

On Leaving a Cult of Belief

Keri Smith of Deprogrammed


Sometimes I get to sit and talk with long time progressives and liberals who are in the scary and slow transition period of waking up to the propaganda machine that is the Cathedral (Legacy Media, Big Social, Major Corporations, Academia, Deep State or if you prefer, the Political Elite in both parties). I say slow transition, though in some ways when you’re going through it, it can feel quite fast. I have talked with multiple people who were at BLM protests as recently as this past summer, only to find themselves embrassed to even say that just six months later.

But it is slow. It has to be. When you have lived most of your life with faith in the media, academia, your political party, or on a deeper level — with faith in the “goodness” of your “side” (however you define that) or with faith in the “goodness” of Social Justice ideology, for example, you are not merely changing a policy position. You are razing your entire house of belief to the ground and then standing in the rubble, trying to build back from a new foundation.

It’s scary in the rubble. There is mourning that happens. You may struggle to hold onto friends and family who are still imbibing the propaganda and who think you’ve gone crazy. In the beginning, you will sometimes wonder if they’re right. You will struggle with the false dichotomies of left/right and if your identity is tied to words like liberal or progressive you will wonder if you’re losing yourself, when what’s actually happening is that those words have lost meaning. They’ve been co-opted by illiberals and authoritarians. You will experience great uncertainty at first and fear of loss, but if you are a person who must follow your gut, who must follow truth, you will continue in your struggle despite the cost. You’ll be compelled to do so.

You’ll have friends, people you’ve known your whole life and who you thought knew your heart, call you “alt-right” and worse. You’ll struggle to understand why they can’t hear you, why they’ve instead turned you into a caricature and something you’re not, made a living straw man of you and lit a match. You’ll think if you can find just the right words, you can reach them. And in some rare cases, you can. I have heard stories from people who have had an impact on their friends or family, who…