This was a major victory for cults in America, and the situation remains unchanged today. Another major blow was the declaration of Dr. Fowler about Landmark not being a cult. I cannot understand this nonsense. Was the APA infiltrated?! We know what happend to the Cult Awareness Network, don't we?
The usage of the word "cult" is a semantic glue trap, and cults, or whatever they should be called, are at their most devious when it comes to semantics. They'll enmesh you in an esoteric debate about whether or not they are actually a cult, a non-cult growth experience, an para-cult, a meta-cult, or waaay beyond any of that unevolved cult stuff... and like the tobacco industry 40 years ago, they will marshall their panel of experts to lead you straight to the "what is the definition of a cult ?" quagmire.
The greatest of the anti-cult thinkers was Plato, especially in his early to middle dialogs, before he too began to demonstrate what might today be perceived as a cultish streak in his personality.
What we have today is a continuation of a struggle between philosophers and sophists that has been raging since at least the 4th century B.C.E. This cult business is nothing new. The Hellenistic period was saturated with them. At the end of the Roman empire, Rome was full of nutty mystery religions, probably aided and abetted by epidemic lead poisoning in the food supply (lead oxide, or plumbago, was widely used as a preservative) and a breakdown of the traditional order.
I wouldn't pin all the blame on the cults, or to use a chunkier turn of speech, regressive sophistic magicalists. Much of the responsibility for these wretched absurdities is the direct consequence of bad education, the inability to reason through a line of argument, oversimplified worldviews projected by television, a sense of anomie that leaves people burbling inconsequential crapola all day on their cell phones...
Sure, so a ham sandwich walks into whorehouse...
I mean, c'mon, all day long your mind is feasting on the congnitive equivalent of M&Ms and you walk into a TRAINING, and you're swamped with all this deep sense of communication, authenticity, meaning, and community... never mind that getting a clear fix on the real ideas behind this compelling psychodrama is like trying to carry monkey piss in a