Cult leaders have an outstanding ability to charm and win over followers. They beguile and seduce. They enter a room and garner all the attention. They command the utmost respect and obedience. These are individuals whose narcissism is so extreme and grandiose that they exist in a kind of splendid isolation in which the creation of the grandiose self takes precedence over legal, moral or interpersonal commitments. Paranoia may be evident in simple or elaborate delusions of persecution. Highly suspicious, they may feel conspired against, spied upon or cheated, or maligned by a person, group, or governmental agency. Any real or suspected unfavorable reaction may be interpreted as a deliberate attack upon them or the group.
Hitler is an example of a leader who possessed the characteristics of a cult leader. In retrospect, the question is often asked as to why the people of Germany supported such a demagogue as Hitler. The conditions in Germany at the time had much to do with the rise of Hitler.
Germany was in a terrible state. The German people were angry and frustrated. The huge burden of reparations from World War One had damaged the economy, and it had gone into hyperinflation, wiping out people's savings in a matter of days. The central government was weak. People were desperate for some relief, and Hitler and the NSDAP offered what seemed like easy answers. At that period it was all too easy to believe Hitler’s lies that the Jews were responsible for Germany's downfall in the First World War and all of its subsequent troubles -- anti-Semitism was alive and well long before Hitler.
Also, the effect of losing the war had sapped German morale. Hitler offered people a way to be proud of Germany again. He told people they really were a master race that had simply been betrayed by the Jews and the Communists.
Finally, Hitler didn't start off by announcing the Holocaust, and in fact he never did announce it as such; it was a secret. He began by demanding that the Jews leave Germany, and then taking away their legal rights if they didn't go -- kicking them out of all government and academic positions, for example.
In the United States we have seem similar situations where the citizens blindly follow a charismatic leader. Most recently we saw this take place with Obama. The American people were angry and frustrated. Obama surrounded himself with master manipulators. Obama had accomplished the art of reading speeches from a teleprompter giving the impression these speeches were delivered spontaneously. Obama turned the simple phrase “Hope and Change” into a rallying cry by millions of people. When asked what “Hope and Change” meant, these millions had no idea, even though Obama had clearly given signs that it meant a movement towards a totalitarian Marxist state. It is now clear this was the intent and purpose of “Hope and Change.” The Teflon phenomenon was a major factor of Obama and of Hitler gaining power.
We Americans must beware of the danger of cultist leaders. We must beware of easy answers, in anything, but especially in politics. We must open our eyes and demand honesty, consistency, and transparency of those who seek the office of the president lest we fall prey to the charm and simplicity offered by another cultic leader. We have certainly learned from history that the end result is always bad.
WE HAVE BEEN WARNED.