I'll probably regret bringing this up here, but I'm stuck for answers. I have a very close friend, now in his sixties, about whom I have always wondered. He's very intelligent, well-intentioned, self-sufficient and capable -- valedictorian, elite U, Navy, Peace Corps, etc., all with high marks. He's not your average meatstick. Drop him anywhere, he'd do fine. He's one of those guys with the strength and energy of men thirty years younger, an impressive guy all around. Many decades ago, he had a scrape with mental illness, the details of which I've never really gotten. He's always had some strange ideas, but he seems to have been drawn to absolutist, fanatical cults. He was a hardcore Communist of some strange fringe stripe, then he was a $cientologist, then he was involved in some even weirder groups. I thought all this was pretty much behind him, because he's always going on about logic and reason and intellectual freedom, right? For the past few years, he's been spouting all these odd assertions and theories that make no sense and contradict each other. He will not discuss the reasons he believes them or intelligently field the questions I naturally ask when he spouts some of this creepy bunk. His attitude seems to be religious about it. Very disturbing! I've been trying to get to the bottom of this. Yesterday, after he mentioned that he was driving a couple of hundred miles to attend one of their front group functions, curiosity got the better of me and I encountered this, containing about 95% of the mostly crackpot stuff he goes on about, from this really scary pure authoritarian personality cult (if you're familiar with them, you'll recognize that the Wiki articles are being pretty charitable -- these people are bad news). He's been almost totally brainwashed with this immense ratbag of lunacies. Now that I see all the crap in one place at one time, I realize that he hasn't expressed two consecutive thoughts in years that didn't include core nonsense from this cult's vast catalog of pernicious weirdness. "Well, here he goes again!" Why do intelligent people fall for these mind-control cults, often repeatedly? If there is a predictable process by which vulnerable people fall into this crap, is there a predictable process for extracting them from it? Professional psychologists or experienced laymen, please fire away. Please, no moronic jokes. This is serious business.