Thursday, January 21, 2016
Former Jim Jones Cult Member: "Donald Trump Scares Me"
By Robert Wenzel
Last night here in San Francisco, I attended a small private local book club meeting where the book on the agenda to be discussed was Seductive Poison: A Jonestown Survivor's Story of Life and Death in the People's Temple by Deborah Layton, who was a high ranking member in the Jonestown cult but who managed to escape before the mass suicide of over 900.
Since she is living just across the bay in Berkeley, a club member arranged to have her at the meeting to discuss her book and experiences.
I wasn't sure what to expect. The suicides occurred in 1978. This was more than 35 years later. At most, I was expecting an old lady retelling dim stories of the past. I wasn't expecting super bright.
But there she was, super bright and stunningly beautiful, even many of the women members commented about her beauty. Most remarkable were her eyes. They were the most powerful eyes I have ever seen. They looked razor sharp and right at you. I immediately thought of the way Ayn Rand's penetrating look has been described.
As she spoke, it became clear that this intelligent woman thought a lot about how she got hooked into the cult and how Jones was able to control everyone. I found most interesting her comments of how the cult members feared each other as possible spies for Jones. No one could trust anyone for fear that they could be reported to Jones, she said.
I have long held the view that government spying creates a type of mental prison which prevents us from talking freely. Layton's comments confirmed to me what such spying at the extreme looked like. Total suspicion of everyone, a mental prison of the mind.
I asked her if she saw any Jones-like characteristics in any of the presidential candidates, specifically Donald Trump. "What about the masses he is getting to follow him" I asked, "is that Jones-like?" She said, "No," but she added, "Donald Trump really scares me."
Coming away from the meeting, I realized how much spying and the possibility of being spied on played such a major role in the ability of Jones to control so many. It has hardened my belief that government spying is exceptionally dangerous, to the point I believe it has the potential to be one of the most dangerous things government does. Government shouldn't spy on anyone, ever.
Jim Jones would have loved the Homeland Security slogan, "See something, say something." It is clear after listening to Layton that instilling such a perspective in his members was a key piece of his ability to control.
Layton's book has been adapted into a screenplay that will be the basis for a major motion picture. Production is expected to began later this year.
Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher at EconomicPolicyJournal.com and at Target Liberty. He is also author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics
at 10:56 AM