The impacts of 9/11 remain obvious today, with open-ended wars, extrajudicial killings, mass surveillance, torture and the rollout of police state practices occurring in its wake. Jonestown also had a profound impact on western society. Like 9/11 it set in motion a war, but of a different kind: a war on alternative spirituality.
The derisive phrase, “don’t drink the Kool-Aid” and the sense of dread incited by the word “cult” stems from Jonestown’s aftermath. Their meanings are understood even by those only vaguely familiar with, or born after, this event. The Jonestown narrative spawned the enduring “cult” archetype of our times, instilling the term with diabolical associations.
The event was a catalyst for an upwelling of fear, suspicion and paranoia towards alternative spirituality of many forms – no matter how far removed and unrelated they were from Jonestown – stoked by mass media propaganda. The effects of this ongoing propaganda include alternative spirituality being targeted for censorship via unconstitutional corporate web filters. But the greatest impact has been the social conditioning of people’s minds, with fear used to turn people against the very idea of alternative spirituality.