Thought reform and subcultures

Noting for future reference Robert Jay Lifton’s Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, whence the origins of the “Eight Criteria for Thought Reform” and the concept of the “thought-terminating cliché.” I’m alarmed that I recognize some of the eight criteria from some of the subcultures and cliques I’ve mucked around in. And some of the more public and dramatic dust-ups on LiveJournal — not naming names or citing examples, but the word “fail” comes to mind — seem to be manifestations of criteria three (“demand for purity”) and four (“confession”). It’s not the people who are diametrically opposed to your point of view that are most singled out for opprobrium, but the people who self-identify as belonging to the same group as you, but who are only 98 percent on the same page. For that remaining two percent, however, they must be flamed, and flamed good, until they repent their errors or leave the compound.