The New York Times and Newsweek on Monday ran opinion pieces arguing that recently deceased murderer Charles Manson was similar to both the far right and President Donald Trump.
In the Times, reporter Baynard Woods argued that Manson was not actually a member of the 1960's counterculture as is often assumed, but was closer to the extreme right.
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"Apart from the long hair and the casual sex, however, Mr. Manson, who spent much of his life in prison with a swastika carved into his head, had more in common ideologically with far-right groups like the John Birch Society than he did with the anarchic leftism of, say, the Yippies," he wrote.
Woods pointed out that Manson believed in a coming "race war" that would end in the extermination of all whites except for his followers.
"Today, this sort of logic is all too familiar to us. The paranoid, racist, and apocalyptic ramblings of Mr. Manson are the DNA of the reactionary alt-right," he wrote.
Likewise, Newsweek‘s Melissa Matthews argued, with the help of some quotes from psychologists, that the cult leader's charisma and appeal to the dejected was similar to the rhetoric of Trump.
Matthews reported that a psychologist told her that "he does not believe President Donald Trump is similar to the convicted killer, or that their followers have any shared beliefs or characteristics, but he did say we can look to the current president to see how language is used to form a bond with followers."
"Our current president speaks in an emotional or affective way to large numbers of people in our country who feel a kind of alienation or disconnection from the government," psychoanalyst Mark Smaller told Matthews.