I was watching another report of the Tea Party rallies and felt a strange sensation of deja vu. The views being presented, the way they were presented, the way the partiers reacted, the energy expressed were all familiar somehow. I sent my mind back to find out where this was coming from. All of a sudden, there it was. I saw it. I knew where I had seen all this before. I was shocked, then I realized I should have known all along. Here is my theory of where this extreme right ideology came from.
I realized that what I was watching was reminiscent of the Amway rallies I used to go to. It all made sense. I remembered how they got us involved – promises of wealth and the easy life. Promises that anybody could do it. Anger at the establishment and how the establishment had sold us all out. Religion. Protect the wealthy because you would soon be one of them and enjoy all the benefits. Super patriotism. Did I say Religion?
It was the religious piece that drove us away from Amway. I didn’t see how false the promises were, I didn’t see the exploitative nature of the company at first. I saw the extreme religious aspect. I resented that. It offended people I was trying to work with. My cross line was Jewish and they were extremely offended. I was offended for them. They were considered second class citizens because they were not of the correct religion. The rallies they and we paid good money to attend were full of proselytizing. They actually had calls to become born again at these business functions. They said ugly things about people who were not the “right” type of Christians.
After we left and were able to look at the business more things became clear. The products were inferior, but sold at inflated prices. The uplines would tell you to buy these products at these inflated prices, and as you convinced your own downline to overbuy overpriced products your downline would subsidize your own purchases. They encouraged us to enlist people who were in dire financial straits, assuring us that this would help them get out of debt. In other words, they preyed on the desperate. But the Diamonds and Emeralds did not get wealthy selling chevrolet products at cadillac prices. They became wealthy selling tapes. Every week, downline were told to purchase two tapes. The tapes cost $.50 to make and distribute, but they were sold for $7.50 apiece. In them, the diamond or emerald selected would tell you to buy more, how to be Christians, that the wealthy deserved the fat of the land and that anybody who was broke deserved to be broke. The Amway distributors listened to these tapes night and day. They were paying for their own brainwashing. That is the most effective way to brainwash somebody. What was said on the tapes is what I hear the extreme right wingers saying now.
Many of the big-time self help and motivational speakers today got to be household names and millionaires because of Amway sponsorship. One example that comes to mind is Robert Kiyosaki. I don’t have a problem with Mr. Kiyosaki, but I know that his books had few sales until Amway pushed his books to the distributors and had him speak at functions. This is one reason so many motivational speakers tell you that an MLM is a smart way to become wealthy. In fact, you have about as much chance of becoming wealthy as an Amway distributor as winning the lottery (the odds may be different, but the fact is, becoming wealthy is highly unlikely).
When people left Amway, they rarely blamed the company. The brainwashing had done its job. They blamed themselves, they blamed their upline, they blamed their own financial circumstances, but not Amway. I remember one upline we had went and had a garage sale. They sold everything they owned including their furniture to finance their business, as their upline advised them to do. When they left the business two years later, they had two small children, an empty house and a garage full of outdated product.
Rich DeVos and Jay VanAndel became very wealthy from Amway. They used this wealth to contribute to Republican candidates who shared their extreme right wing views and to muscle out more moderate candidates. They put forth a litmus test, both religious and economic. The candidates accepted this litmus test in exchange for their donations. Thus the Republican party made a steady swing to the right.
Look at who the extreme right wingers are today. Look at where Amway was particularly strong and where the tea party is strong today. Look at the demographics. Is it just coincidence? I am beginning to wonder.