I’ve referred to Jim Jones and the “People’s Temple” several times. They represent my ideal of the ultimate fate of a socialist organization. I visited San Francisco twice in the mid to late ’70s. My older siblings had spent time in West Coast quasi-religious, socialist communes (all very, very “hip” you understand) and I’d visited them, spending several nights at one of them in Oregon. I was even “touched by the spirit” at one of their rallies, and I’m here to tell you; that s#^t is real and it is powerful (something about human evolution having selected in us a tendency to bond tightly with our group, with extremely powerful emotions, in times of stress, but I’ll leave that to the sociologists, anthropologists and biologists). I learned all I wanted to know about these groups. Specifically, that I never wanted anything to do with them ever again.
These groups had sprung up in a lot of places back then, accepting the assertion that “All You Need is Love” or other similar nonsense. They were very socialist, as any description with the word “free” in it was super cool: Free love, free food, free store, free drugs, etc.. Everything belonged to everyone and all was love, love, love… Only trouble was, as you would expect, the takers always seemed to outnumber the givers, and so the givers (most anyone with options in life) would become disgusted at some stage and leave the group. You had to use extreme measures to coerce members into staying on, much as the Russians had to build the Berlin Wall and Jim Jones had to imprison his followers in a remote jungle.
I’d seen the History Channel’s documentary on Jim Jones, but there is a ton of stuff in Dan Flynn’s account that was never mentioned. I mean, Wow! Take some time to read the article (hat tip to Micheal Savage).
By virtue of producing rent-free rent-a-rallies for liberal politicians and causes, Jim Jones engendered enormous amounts of good will from Democratic politicians and activists. They allowed their political ambitions to derail their governing responsibilities. Frisco pols like Harvey Milk never seemed to care how Jones could, at the snap of his fingers, direct hundreds of people to stack a public meeting or volunteer for a campaign. City Councilman Milk just knew that he benefitted from that control, and therefore never bothered to do anything to inhibit the dangerous cult operating in his city. Instead, he actively aided and abetted a homicidal maniac. It wasn’t just local hacks Jones commanded respect from. He held court with future First Lady Rosalyn Carter, vice presidential candidate Walter Mondale, and California Governor Jerry Brown.