Every ideological fanaticism goes through generational stages. The first generation is that of true believers. The sincere, earnest fanatics who honestly believe they are saving the world, battling fascism, and preventing apocalypse. Of course, there are also slick opportunists who don’t believe in anything but who use the sincere fanatics to terrorize and persecute dissidents.
These sincere believers are scary because they use the conviction that they face an exceptional danger and have an exceptional mission to suspend their sense of morality, humanity, reason, and compassion.
The good news is that this doesn’t last for more than one generation. The second generation in the totalitarian regime created by the fanatics will be passive and indifferent. It will accept the slogans of their predecessors but will invest no passion into them.
The third and the fourth generations will be completely cynical and will shit on the earnestness of the long-gone fanatics.
And then eventually it will be time for the forgetful generation that will be flattered by the idea of being exceptional and possessing the one true knowledge.
I’m from the cynical fourth generation of a totalitarian system, so the sincere, wide-eyed believers who are springing up everywhere with their pronouns, battles against non-existent fascism, and existential crises don’t look cute to me. I know what their ultimate destination is when they whip themselves up into a frenzy of self-righteousness.