Originally posted this over on LittleGreenFootballs, but decided to repost and expand a bit.
If you feed a class the notion that someone else is really holding them back. That if they overthrow those holding them back that they can be free to obtain their dreams. What do you get? Volksturm.
A would-be leader has to convince the people before them that individually they are powerless. That only by joining a cause en masse: For the Fatherland, For the Rodina, or For the Prophet, can they ever hope to overcome those who hold them back.
Such ideology of victimhood requires a scapegoat. Hitler had Versailles and the Jews. Stalin had White Bolsheviks and Hitler. And the imans of the Prophet have the West. All blame their ills on someone else.
Any would-be leader who hops up to the podium and tells you that only by surrendering your rights as an individual and joining their movement, can you ever hope to overcome your failings. If they say that, then they are just like the above mentioned dictators and should promptly be shunned.
But day in and day out people, who should know better, fall for the same lies as a New Age Garibaldi waves the red flag - Usama bint Laden and his quest to destroy Western Civilisation under the despotic bootheel of fundamentalist Islam. Because in Usama's world view you are either a follower or a target, there is no middle ground.
To borrow from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, what the old knight said applies, "Choose wisely." Do we once again follow the path to totalitarianism or do we buck the trend and keep following the ideals of the Renaissance? That is the choice, collectivism or individuality. We the people of this planet have to choose.