There is no one more responsible for this particular moment than President Donald Trump, but all he has done is play to a gallery whose seats were already full by the time he ran for office. Trump appealed to a powerful sense of narcissistic grievance among millions of Americans, nurturing it and feeding it. An entire claque of enablers joined in, knowing there was plenty of money to be made feeding this self-centered, anti-social nihilism…

So committed are these Americans to assuaging their sore egos over their imagined lack of status that they are literally willing to die for it. Unfortunately, they seem all too willing to take many of us with them. This is not Jonestown or Heaven’s Gate, whose cult members fled society to go and die together. This is worse. This is an attempt to create a Jonestown in every American city and town and then invite the rest of us over for a cool drink.

The irony here is that the same people who reject expertise because they believe they are smart and clued in to the mistakes of experts will accept the word of Donald Trump — a man who has obliterated most of the projects he’s ever been involved with and who stands as the uncontested champion of American public liars — as the gospel truth.

But that is how cults work, and woe to anyone who crosses them.