If I wanted to build a horrible chimeric religion to get rich, that would probably be a profitable combo…but I’d have to be totally rotten at the core to be able to do it. Just like Keith Raniere and Nancy Salzman, who founded a cult called variously NXIVM or the Knife of Aristotle.
There are innumerable articles on NXIVM and Raniere that are worth your time, including this 2010 piece in Vanity Fair that claims Raniere took advantage of several wealthy heiresses, among other alleged victims. What everyone seems to agree on is that NXIVM shares DNA with Scientology, but mostly appears to be a direct descendant of the ‘70s self-investment movement EST. Most in my age range know about EST from its appearance in recent seasons of FX’s The Americans. NXIVM goes a step further than either, with ex-members reporting harems, color-coded hierarchy dress codes, deep sexism, and other assorted basic bitch cult moves—especially litigation against journalists and anti-Raniere voices. There’s also a website devoted to tracking the group, which seems like it shouldn’t be alone in this. After all, Raniere has been on the cover of Forbes magazine. He’s not hiding from anything.
So NXIVM focuses on internal truth and a re-prioritized set of internal ethics, mostly ripped from the objectivist pages of Ayn Rand, which I think solves the mystery of “Why fake news?”
Talk about your unholy hybrids…it’s terrifying that people actually fall for this kind of poison.