Still another little-known fact about the cults is that a cult (even of the totalitarian and destructive nature) can be formed around just about any belief or philosophy. In other words, a smart and creative “religious entrepreneur” can reshape any spiritual or philosophical belief system (no matter how bizarre), make it ﬁt his or her particular needs and then use the brand new belief system to attract cult members – and make them stay in the cult no matter what happens.
All that’s needed is a charismatic leader who his/her followers believe has some type of special insight, some type of special knowledge unknown to the rest of the world, or some type of special direct pipeline to God or ascended beings.
Or simply unique knowledge and skills that can radically change the lives of cult members, community, city, state/province, nation, civilization (e.g. Western Civilization) – or even the entire world.
This belief in the leader’s gift quickly becomes a strong magnet that pulls people in because gaining this insight or knowledge from the cult leader, members believe, will make them part of an elite group who are a step above regular human beings (i.e. will transform them into Übermenschen).
In other words, this special insight of the cult leader, incidentally, doesn’t have to be knowledge gained through conversations with spirits, ghosts, or God (or whatever Supreme Power they happen to believe in). Cults can be formed because followers sincerely believe that their leader has a special insight into how to make their community, their city, their province, their country or the world a better place (ideally, a much better place).
Totalitarian cults, by definition, will use whatever means available to establish and maintain control over “their flock”. Everything goes – brainwashing, threat of violence (punishment), eviction from the cult (which will cut off access to vital emotional and spiritual support leading to murderous abstinence syndrome)…
So did the Nazis, of course. However, as I have already stated, they relied far more on “carrot” (i.e. identifying and satisfying genuine aggregate needs of Germans) that on “stick” (threat of interment in concentration camp or execution). Or on brainwashing for that matter.