(not by Clock)
So far I've posted two blogs about the strange South Africa-based conspiracy cult known as Desteni. After only two blogs, audio versions of which I posted on YouTube, I found my YouTube account listed in a topic on the Desteni forums entitled "Suggested Ban". The purpose of this list is obvious: these are users who the Desteni cult wants banned from YouTube for criticizing them. Plain and simple, it's an enemies list.
Desteni also has a Facebook enemies list. I'm not on it yet, but I expect I will be soon enough.
I was introduced to the phenomenon of conspiracy cults' enemies lists last fall, when my name suddenly appeared on a similar list maintained by the Zeitgeist Movement. (It's here). That list was largely the brainchild of former Zeitgeist spokesperson Neil Kiernan Stephenson, "VTV." VTV and other Zeitgeist boosters consistently denied that it was an enemies list--according to them the reason for the list was to warn Zeitgeist members about people who would try to friend them on Facebook and steal their personal information. Not only did I never do this, but I've never once attempted to "friend" a Zeitgeister on Facebook at any time. My only crime against the Zeitgeist Movement was speaking out against them, pushing back against their conspiracy theories, their ideology and their reflexive attacks against anyone who criticizes them.
I've wound up on Desteni's enemies list for doing far less than that. My residence on the Zeitgeist enemies list came almost eight months after I posted my first blog highlighting the primacy of conspiracy theory ideology to the Zeitgeist Movement. By contrast I've been publicly critical of Desteni for barely two weeks. Yet, not only is my YouTube channel listed on Desteni's roster of users they want to try to ban, but I am the specific subject of a topic on the Desteni forums where prominent spokesperson Darryl Thomas has announced that he intends to refute one paragraph of my anti-Desteni blogs each day.(http://deconstructingmuertosdaily.wordpress.com/)
The charge the Destenians level against me, predictably, is "hate speech." I challenge anyone to find a single example of "hate speech" as that term is defined by any jurisdiction where "hate speech" is prohibited by law. It's very clear that Desteni is totally and deliberately misunderstanding the concept of "hate speech" by construing it as encompassing any statement about their group that they don't agree with.
At least I have good company. Desteni's enemies list is literally hundreds of entries long and growing by the dozens every time it's updated. As I stated in my first blog about them, they are extremely aggressive in trying to silence their critics. Unlike Zeitgeist, who cloaks their enemies list in paragraph after paragraph of bold-faced disclaimers about why it's supposedly not an enemies list, Desteni makes no such attempts. They're very forthright about going after their critics, going so far as to have a stickied topic on their forum with instructions to cult members about how to get people banned from YouTube.
There are two points I want to make about enemies lists. The first is that the very existence of these lists is wholly incompatible with the notion of friendly movements based on social justice that preach prescriptions for a better and more harmonious world--which both Zeitgeist and Desteni profess to do. Destenians supposedly value doing "what's best for all" and insist that their program will help the entire earth enjoy newfound respect and the maximization of human potential. The very notion that a group with those professed goals would keep--much less make public--a list of enemies to be retaliated against for their viewpoints is totally inconsistent with the reasons these organizations say they exist. Simply put, any group preaching peace, love and a better world that also has an enemies list should be automatically suspect.
The second point is that enemies lists seem to be yet another hallmark of cults who seek to control what is said about them, and more importantly, what their own members hear. The paradigm example of a cult's enemies list is Scientology's practice of labeling detractors as "Suppressive Persons" or SP's. Most SP's are family members of current Scientology members who don't support the group and are likely to encourage their loved ones to leave--hence Scientology's doctrine of "Disconnection," where a cult member is ordered to sever all ties to the SP. Naturally this practice is believed to inure to the benefit of the cult member, who will no longer receive negative feedback from the critic.
Exactly the same dynamic is at work in both Zeitgeist and Desteni. Zeitgeist's enemies list is specifically promoted as being for the "protection" of cult members, with the transparent fiction of preventing evil trolls--the word Zeitgeist uses to refer to critics--from stealing members' personal information. Much of Desteni's advice to followers similarly seeks to minimize criticism--Destenians call it "backchat" and urge their followers not to pay attention to it, despite the obvious hypocrisy that they pay a great deal of attention to it. Desteni, however, also seems interested in lashing out at those non-members who criticize them. A common tactic is to pretend they're "protecting copyrighted material," which is why unfounded DMCA claims are a favorite tool of the Destenians to target materials, especially videos, that they don't like.
Two weeks ago, I venture to say no one in Desteni had ever heard of me. The fact that I have been targeted so swiftly and vehemently is itself, I believe, a piece of evidence that tends to indicate the controlling and authoritarian nature of this group. I'm taking precautions to make sure my blogs and videos will be mirrored and continue to be available, in the event that Desteni pursues their threats to ban me. Should they decide to make an attempt to silence me, rest assured that that attempt will fail. In the meantime, it's worth thinking about why a group that claims to be for the benefit of mankind goes on the attack so quickly and with such gusto. I propose that Desteni's attack is inherent in the nature of its organization and ideology. This is a group that cannot permit dissent, and which profits from the effort to push back against dissenters. It's easier to maintain cohesion within the group, after all, if its members can be united in the struggle against a common enemy.
Thanks for reading.