Around twenty years ago, I picked up True Believer.
It was a book written in the early 1950s by Eric Hoffer. Eric hadn't published anything prior to this, and he was mostly this oddball character who read at feverish rate (more than 200 books a year) yet had never attended a single university class in his life. He had a great appreciation of history and how people and conflicts interact....fitting like a lego-like structure.
So, True Believer became this highly read book of the mid-1950s.....which describes how mass movements organize themselves, gain membership, and eventually will meet some type of end or modification.
In the middle of the book, you learn that someone who is a true believer of their movement, political party, or religion.....is often a highly frustrated and self-loathing guy....who compensates for his weak identity, by searching far and wide for some great crusade to attach upon.
Hoffer points out that mass movements....no matter if they are political or religious....are a perfect vehicle for such frustrated people. As he notes.....it appeals not to those intent on bolstering and advancing a cherished self, but to those who crave to be rid of an unwanted self. A mass movement attracts and holds a following not because it can satisfy the desire for self-advancement, but because it can satisfy the passion for self-renunciation."
Hatred and intolerance? They fit right into this vehicle. You have to be for something, or against something....to achieve some payback on your weak lifestyle build-up.
You see....those with the agenda or great crusade aren't picky. They want losers. They want people who have wasted their young lives and have no ability to grasp that the great crusade is a fraud.
Yes, recruitment is simple. Puff up the great fraudulent crusade....woe the easily mislead youngsters to a new creed.....promise something big (everlasting pleasure or positions in life are always helpful).
The battle or crusade? It is gimmick of the strong against the weak. No sympathy, no kindness, no human attachment, no understanding. As the recruiter for this agenda, you want people to walk in.....go through a quick orientation....spill a bit of blood here and there.....and then go out in some bloody or great ending. The thing is.....no one graduates to some promised point of being alive five to ten years down the line.
You can argue that this is mad, and fiendish.....but you aren't recruiting for some ice cream shop or jazz band. This is a group of pretender thugs, who are bound and determined to live short lives and be buried six feet under within a certain amount of time. These aren't people that banks would do home loans for, or be managers of businesses one day. These are people without much of a reason to live.
Hoffer says the trend to this gimmick is constant recruitment. When you start to fail or people have figured out your fraudulent movement....things go downhill. So far, I'd say from Brussels, we are still a far distance from the fraud being figured out.
As for the book, True Believer? I'd strongly recommend it to anyone who wants a better of prospective of the people on the other end of this European problem. A mass movement has some rules and expectations, and Hoffer does a good job in laying out the situation. Easily read over a weekend, it's a four-star book.