Log in

No account? Create an account

The Jonestown Massacre

Today is the 30th anniversary of the Jonestown massacre, in which 900 followers of the Reverend Jim Jones committed mass suicide by drinking poisoned flavor-aid. The delivery mechanism for the poison was widely and erroneously reported to be kool-aid, which gave rise to a new metaphor for unthinking attachment to a dogma or a leader.

Jim Jones was a charismatic preacher whose stirring oratory led many to follow and obey him without question or reservation. He preached a message of social justice, economic equality, hope, and change. Before the tragedy, he was praised and admired by many public figures, including first lady Rosalyn Carter. Just because a message is appealing doesn't mean the messenger is a good man. Human nature remains what it is.

Here is a video containing footage of Jim Jones and his followers:


You make a good point. There are charismatic speakers who happen to be good people. I guess the trick is to understand that there is little or no connection either way between being charismatic and being a good person. And to always try to objectively think about the guy who just wowed you with his charisma and eloquence.