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If you want someone to stay loyal to your cult, you could do worse than demanding the impossible of them: "I can do $IMPOSSIBLE_THING and so will you, if your faith is pure."

Wiley Brooks told his breatharian cultists they could get all their nutrients from breathing and this would make them immortal. He charged $100k+ for breath-training. In 1983, he was caught at at 7-11 with a Slurpee, hot dog, and Twinkies.…

Which is hilarious, sure, but think about it. Everyone in Brooks's cult must have been doing the same thing, because otherwise they'd have starved to death. Think about how their shameful secret must have made them both loyal and suspicious.

Which brings me to the Mississippi Republican Party.

Republicanism is a death-cult that demands that its adherents shun masks and social distancing, insisting that the whole coronavirus pandemic is a liberal hoax.

Ironically, this is the same movement whose doctrine holds that "facts don't care about your feelings."

For weeks, state GOP lawmakers have made a big deal out of showing up for work without masks and packing together like cattle in a feedlot.

26 of them just tested positive for covid-19.…

Included: Lt governor Delbert Hosemann and State House Speaker Philip Gunn.

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves is now calling on cult members to mask up, saying "Mississippi is in a fight for our lives."

He's not wrong.

Versions of this are playing out across America: like the Florida county commissioner who ended up in the ICU with multiple organ failure and sepsis from coronavirus, and who, one week earlier, had voted against mask orders.…

Making suicidal behavior a condition of cult-membership is a tricky business. If the suicide is slow enough, you might outlast the consequences of your lethal loyalty tests - many climate deniers will be long gone before their cities burn or drown.

But when action and consequence are closely linked, your followers are apt to die or renounce faster than you can recruit new, traumatized, desperate people to join you.

The blast radius of ordering your cult members to stop eating is limited to them and their families.

But the fallout from mask-shyness and other forms of epidemiology denialism reaches all of us.

The GOP cult isn't just suicidal - they're radicalizing millions of suicide-bombers whose preferred weapon of terror is their own exuberantly proliferated exhalations.

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