NXIVM sex cult leader Keith Raniere has been sentenced to 120 years in prison. That doesn’t surprise me.
Wealthy young women tend to have a thing for sex and violence cults. Keith Raniere would have been just another two-bit sex-cult leader if he hadn’t enticed Claire Bronfman, heiress of the famous Bronfman family, and India Oxenkrug, daughter of “Dynasty” star Catherine Oxenberg, into coming on board. Both women were handed around the group like sexual toys.
The first sex-toy in the thrall of a sex-and-murder gang was probably Patty Hearst in the early 70s, granddaughter of publisher William Randolph Hearst. Although she claimed she was “kidnapped,” she certainly participated with enthusiasm in the robberies of the cult, the Symbionese Liberation Army.. And she had sex with various group members.
Gudrun Ensslin and Ulrike Meinhof, of the famed Baader-Meinhof Gang (Red Army Fraction) in Germany in the early 1970s, don’t quite fit this pattern. They both were offspring of solidly middle-class (but not famous or wealthy) families. Yet Ensslin came under the cult-like spell of Andreas Baader and essentially decided to drink the Kool-Aid with him.
The motto of the 68ers was: “Whoever sleeps with the same person twice belongs to the Establishment.”
Whether these are sex-cults, like Raniere’s, or politicized crime-cults, like the Symbionese Liberation Army and the Baader -Meinhof Gang, is really secondary. The point is that these are lovely young women with middle-class backgrounds who somehow become attracted to radical criminal or sexual (or both) activities. There is an inherent tropism here, something about zealous men with flaming eyes whom wealthy women find appealing. It maybe be guilt about privileged backgrounds in the face of radical zeal, or the appeal of becoming sexual outlaws at the hands of men who have a hard time saying no to an opportunity like this. Whatever. But it is a real phenomenon. And if the ultra-right-wing stays in power in the United States, we will be seeing more of it, as these ultra-left protest movements find willing acolytes among women who should be old enough to know better but, somehow, don’t.