The great weakness of all totalistic cults, is that, once you know how they function by deceiving their adherents into accepting a Utopian fiction as fact, the inflexible reality-inverting reactions of these groups to any challenge to their authenticity, can be predicted with almost 100% accuracy. It should also be remembered, that both the leaders and core-adherents of cults are dissociated from external reality, and that the unquestioning obedience of the core-adherents to their group's controlling-fiction only serves to confirm, and magnify, the leaders' existing delusions of grandeur.
'The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought — that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc — should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meanings and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and by stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meanings whatever.'
Georges Orwell (Appendix to 'Nineteen Eighty-Four')
The purpose of 'MLM Income Opportunity' jargon is not only to provide a medium of expression for the unquestioning world-view and mental habits proper to the core-adherents of 'MLM,' but to make all other critical and evaluative modes of thought impossible. It is intended that when 'MLM Income Opportunity' jargon has been adopted once and for all and traditional language forgotten, a heretical thought — that is, a thought diverging from the 'positive' principles of 'MLM' - should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words. Its vocabulary is so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every 'positive' meaning that an 'MLM Distributor' can properly wish to express, while excluding all other 'negative' meanings and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This is done partly by the invention of new 'positive' words and phrases ('Herbalife', 'Amway', 'NuSkin', 'Xango', 'Multi-Level Marketing', 'Distributor' , Independent Business Owner,'), but chiefly by eliminating undesirable 'negative' words and phrases ('cult', 'totalitarian', 'fraud', 'deception', 'brainwashing', 'victims', 'exploitation' , 'de facto slaves') and by stripping such words and phrases as remain of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meanings whatever.
Today, it is very difficult to determine exactly how many people in total around the world have already been churned through the pay-through-the-nose-to-play 'MLM Income Opportunity/Prosperity Gospel' cultic game of make-believe, since it was first peddled as reality under the name of 'Nutrilite Inc. / Mytinger and Casselberry Inc.' back in the late 1940s. It is also important to distinguish between short-term and chronic 'MLM' losing-players. In general, the overwhelming majority of fraud victims never complain, but, right from the outset, the self-perpetuating 'MLM' lie was maliciously designed to implicate its victims - loading them with shame and guilt, and, thus, prevent them from ever facing reality. Classically, the quantifiable evidence proves that, without exception, chronic 'MLM' losing-players have been subjected to co-ordinated devious techniques of social, and psychological, persuasion designed to shut down their critical, and evaluative, faculties. In this way, they have been conditioned (unconsciously) to think of themselves, not as the victims of a cruel deception or as brainwashed cult adherents, but as 'Independent Business Owners' exercising free-will. What has made external reality even more unacceptable, is the ego-destroying fact that a large proportion of 'MLM' victims were deceived by a close friend or relative (acting under the guided-delusion that 'MLM' has been of great benefit to its participants) and, in turn, these victims then deceived, or tried to deceive, their own close friends and relatives (acting under the same guided-delusion that 'MLM' has been of great benefit to its participants). The few, destitute, chronic former 'MLM' losing-players who have managed to recover fully their critical, and evaluative faculties, and who have filed well-informed civil lawsuits against the corporate fronts of 'MLM' cultic racketeers, have invariably been obliged to settle out of court. Although a number of isolated civil investigations, and successful prosecutions, have been pursued by the Federal Trade Commission against some smaller 'MLM' front-companies in the USA, no co-ordinated official effort has ever been made to face wider-reality and identify, let alone tackle, the overall criminogenic/cultic phenomenon that has lurked behind all the shielding layers of structural, and pseudo-economic/scientific, mystification, reality-inverting 'direct selling/commercial' jargon and kitsch capitalist/Utopian/American Dream imagery.
|The original 'MLM income opportunity' racketeer, Carl F. Rehnborg (1887-1973), posing as a historically-important, visionary-scientist, autodidactic scholar and multi-millionaire, philanthropic businessman who helped thousands of people to start their own business.|
Former penniless science-fiction author, turned multi-millionaire, cultic racketeer, L. Ron Hubbard, posing as a historically-important,visionary scientist and philanthropist who had discovered the secret of how ordinary humans can become healthy, wealthy happy and free super humans. Hubbard was also prepared to share this secret with anyone (for a price).
Unfortunately, just as with the followers and casual observers of Hubbard, the only information made available to the followers and casual observers of Rehnborg, has been carefully controlled.
|Carl F. Rehnborg, circa 1915.|
Carl F. Rehnborg circa 1939
In 1934, Rehnborg (aged 48) legally-registered ‘California Vitamins Inc.’, allegedly to manufacture and distribute what he arbitrarily defined as 'the World’s First Multi-Mineral/Multivitamin Plant-Based Food Supplement - a Unique Combination of Vitamins and Minerals in a Special Base.’ At first, this so-called ‘Health Tonic’ was brewed up, and peddled as 'Vita-6' a.k.a. 'Vitasol,' in insignificant quantities. Consequently, it was of no particular interest to regulators.
However, anyone with an ounce of common sense could immediately tell that Rehnborg’s ‘invention’ was just another essentially-inert potion (in the absurd tradition of the medicine show); a random mixture of cheaply-procured common substances with an expensive price tag. It had probably taken Rehnborg 6 hours to concoct, not 6 years.
|William W. Goodrich|
By 1947, Rehnborg, Mytinger and Casselberry were steadfastly pretending ‘15 000 Successful Distributorships in the USA,’ with ‘sales’ totalling ‘$500 000 dollars per month.’ They had also organised the production of a ‘Free’ booklet, ‘How to Get Well and Stay Well’, in which they further pretended that ‘Nutrilite Double X Supplement’ had ‘cured or greatly helped such common ailments’ as : ‘Low blood pressure, Ulcers, Mental depression, Pyorrhoea, Muscular twitching, rickets, Worry over small things, Tonsillitis, Hay Fever, Sensitivity to noise, Underweight, Easily tired, Gas in stomach, Cuts heal slowly, Faulty vision, Headache, Constipation, Anaemia Boils, Flabby tissues, Hysterical tendency, Eczema, Overweight, Faulty memory, Lack of ambition, Certain Bone conditions, Nervousness, Nosebleed, Insomnia, Allergies, Asthma, Restlessness, Bad skin colour, Poor appetite, Biliousness, Neuritis, Night blindness, Migraine, High blood pressure, Sinus trouble, Lack of concentration, Dental caries, Irregular heartbeat, Colitis, Craving for sour foods, Arthritis, Rheumatism, Neuralgia, Deafness, Subject to colds.’
|Carl.F. Rehnborg circa 1947|
Rhenborg now cast himself in the role of ‘Scientific Adviser’ to ‘Mytinger and Casselberry Inc.’ He toured the USA preaching the gospel to wide-eyed ‘Distributors’ - ‘for less than $20 a month’, ‘Nutrilite Double X Supplement’ was the ‘Answer to Man’s Search for Health.’ After both companies’ owners were approached by FDA officials and warned that they could face criminal prosecution for misbranding, the booklet was ‘revised.’ Specific therapeutic claims were supposed to be eliminated. ‘All illnesses’ suddenly became a ‘state of nonhealth’ produced by ‘chemical imbalance’.… ‘Nutrilite XX Supplement’ cured nothing, it merely ‘enabled people to Get Well and stay Well’ by themselves. However, pages 41-52 of the booklet still recounted alleged case-histories explaining that ‘Nutrilite brought relief from such ailments as diabetes, feeble mindedness, stomach pains, sneezing and weeping.’ Not surprisingly, the FDA officials were not impressed, so they finally launched a number of raids, and seizures of ‘Nutrilite XX Supplement’ and associated publications.
In 1951, after a series of lawsuits, appeals and counter suits (in which Mytinger and Casselberry hired top lawyers who portrayed their clients as American capitalist heroes being crushed by Soviet-style bureaucracy), the FDA obtained (on behalf of the people) a permanent Supreme Court injunction against ‘Mytinger and Casselberry Inc.’ preventing ‘Distributors’ from referring to 50 publications making false claims about ‘Health Tonics and Food Supplements’ (including various ‘Revised Editions’ of ‘How to Get Well and Stay Well’). FDA agents soon found that the injunction was being flouted. As a result of mounting complaints, they infiltrated the organization (as potential recruits) and recorded deluded proselytisers chanting the same cure-all mantra about ‘XX Supplement.’ Faced with more litigation and fearing that their monopoly of information might be lost, in 1954, Rehnborg, Mytinger and Casselberry hired a leading advertising agency which handled the clean-cut Hollywood star, Alan Ladd. Along with his wife and children, Alan Ladd then briefly-featured in a kitsch 'Nutrilite' advertising campaign - published in various mainstream magazines right up until 1959.
|Richard DeVos and Jay Van Andel (2nd and 3rd from the right, front row), Carl F. Rehnborg (immediately behind Van Andel, second row), circa 1950.|
Soon, the 'Nutrilite' show was touring the USA on a motor coach (like a 'Tent Revivalist' group). Mytinger, Casselberry and Rehnborg had begun organizing pay-to-enter ‘Rallies and Seminars'’ (addressed by allegedly ‘Successful Christian Distributors’ like Rich De Vos and Jay Van Andel). No quantifiable evidence (in the form of audited accounts) was ever produced to prove what percentage of claimed ‘sales'’ were authentic retail transactions to the general public for a profit (based on value and demand), or how many people who’d signed a ‘contract'’ with ‘Mytinger and Casselberry Inc.'’ had actually received an overall net-profit from the operation of what its instigators arbitrarily defined as an ‘MLM income opportunity’. Excluding the tiny percentage of grinning shills at the top of the pyramid, the hidden, rolling insolvency/churn-rate was 100%. Since there was no significant or sustainable external revenue, participants were actually buying infinite shares in their own finite money.
The classic movie, 'Elmer Gantry' (released in 1960), was written and directed by Richard Brooks and is loosely-based on a novel of 1927 by the Nobel prize-winning author, Sinclair Lewis. In the Movie, 'Gantry' (played by Burt Lancaster) is a grinning charlatan in a loud suit - a hard-drinking whore-chasing travelling-salesman, who, for sexual and financial motives, attaches himself to the beautiful 'Sister Sharon' (played by Jean Simmons), the focus of a profitable 'Tent Revivalist' group working the Bible-Belt during Prohibition (1920-1933). 'Elmer Gantry' keeps his grin, but he dons a sombre suit and black hat, and is reborn as 'Brother Gantry' 'Charismatic Preacher' and 'Moral Crusader'. He soon discovers that he has the power to create mass-hysteria, and reap tens of thousands of dollars, by manipulating individuals' existing beliefs and instinctual desires. At a key-moment in the movie, a Protestant Minister (bedazzled by 'Brother Gantry's' offer to fill his church coffers) abandons the traditional Christian message and proclaims: 'Business is business, that's the American Way'.
Perhaps it's just a coincidence, but at almost exactly the time that the ‘
Initially (and with an irony that is close to exquisite), in order to dodge being drawn into the ongoing FDA investigation of 'Nutrilite,' De Vos and Van Andel got rid of the pills and potions and now laundered all the unlawful investment payments into their copy-cat, dissimulated, closed-market swindle, behind the claim that they were selling a laundry detergent (i.e. banal, but effectively-unsaleable, non-'medicinal' pseudo-scientific wampum of their own fabrication). Again, the updated snake oil stain remover was deliberately designed to look modern and scientific, whilst De Vos and Van Andel grinned from ear as they too steadfastly pretended that these strangely-familiar, cheaply-procured mixtures of common substances, were all-American, exclusive, good-value and unique.
The original 'Nutrilite' lie was progressively-absorbed back into the spin-off 'Amway' lie, 1972-1994, where it still is peddled as the truth.
Only after the 'MLM' virus had spread to almost every State of the Union, did the US Federal Trade Commission finally make a half-hearted attempt to close-down 'Amway.' After receiving a significant number of complaints, FTC prosecutors, advised by specialist economists, recognised that what they were faced with, was not a direct selling scheme, but as a classic pyramid scam, without a significant or sustainable source of revenue other than its own victims, but hidden behind a smokescreen of products. However, after years of investigations and hearings, in 1979, a naive, and/or corrupt, federal judge ruled that although 'Amway' had previously been massively in breach of the law and would have to pay fines, the company would be allowed to continue to trade. This was because the judge accepted the latest unbelievable chapter of the 'MLM' fairy story. i.e. That 'Amway' s owners were respectable Christian businessmen who were vehemently opposed to pyramid schemes and that, consequently, they had stopped fixing prices and introduced their own rules which would, henceforth, oblige the members of 'Amway's' sales force to sell at least 70% (by value) of the products which they had bought wholesale from the company, to at least 10 customers, before they could receive commission payments. Amazingly, no independent, common-sense mechanism was created to ensure that this latest twist in the fairy story was true, and that 'Amway' would now be in compliance with the law.
Not surprisingly, this tragicomic judgement was seen as an open-invitation to thieve, and, consequently, a whole host of 'Amway' copy-cat 'MLM' rackets soon began to appear.