Below is a  passage from an interesting old short book called "The True Believer" by Eric Hoffer (1951).  It is the result of the experiences of the author with NAZIs and STALINISTs during 30s and 40s.  It is a real great overview of fanaticism.

 

Eric Hoffer writes the following:

 

"... Dostoyevsky puts the following words in Bishop Tihon's

mouth: Outright atheism is more to be respected than worldly

indifference ... the complete atheist stands on the penultimate

step to most perfect faith ... but the indifferent person has no

faith whatever except a bad fear."

 

" All the true believers [fanatics] of our time-whether

Communist, Nazi, Fascist, Japanese or Catholic-declaimed

volubly (and the Communists still do) [i.e.. 1951] on the

decadence of the Western democracies. The burden of their

talk is that in the democracies people are too soft, too pleasure-

loving and too selfish to die for a nation, a God or a holy cause.

This lack of a readiness to die, we are told, is indicative of an

inner rot- a moral and biological decay. The democracies are

old, corrupt and decadent. They are no match for the virile

congregations of the faithful who are about to inherit the Earth."

 

THE TRUE BELIEVER by Eric Hoffer, 1951, P.147