Dostoevsky, in The Brothers Karamazov, illuminates that supreme hypocrisy of any institution that seeks to govern men and women: namely, that to do so, the propagators of the institution must seek to impose their rational on everyone else while decrying competitors. Invariably, the extreme of an opposite behavior circles to resemble that from which it so forcibly separated. In the story, Russian Orthodox ministers mock the Roman Catholic Church for deigning to become a state (the Vatican and sometimes a good portion of Europe), all the while proposing that the natural evolution of a State is to become the Russian Orthodox Church.
This mirrors the absurdity of Stalin (and Stalinists) hating Hitler (and Nazis) and vice verse. All institutions, especially the religious and political ones, are comprised of the same elements: faith in one or more leaders (visible or otherwise), laws and government, competition with other institutions, gathered resources (taxes, tithes, donations), a hierarchy, impetus to persist, reiterated message (sermons, speeches, lectures, printed materials, slogans), a defined and organized ideology, and eventually, a mythology. All of this together must combust; it must reach a critical mass; the elements must be put under pressure; and the integrants of the group achieve a sense of destiny. A sense of destiny is the supreme manifesto, the reason to live. Individuals now transcend the whole; the whole transcends the sum of individuals. This cauldron, this fervor creates the needed militancy.
Why militancy? Why must followers march and conquer? At their very heart, religious or political, all institutions are varying forms democracy. What about dictatorships, you ask? – Even dictatorships have a threshold, a minimum number of followers to viably exist, and a minimum number of opposers must capitulate; and the two thresholds may be the difference between Brownshirts and Nazis or Ferdinand Marcos and the People Power Revolution. Political and religious institutions create a viable existence through a sense of urgency. Namely, fear. Fear of a devil. Fear of hell. Fear of negative karma. Fear of hades. Fear of pugatory. Fear of taxes. Fear of the rich. Fear of the poor. Fear of them. Fear they are coming. Fear they are leaving. Fear you have yours and I do not have mine. Fear you will get your and I will not get mine. Fear, and hard work, creates the minimum threshold for followers. Fear can then be contrasted with ritual, liturgy, and some sort of penance or good works, votes, campaign buttons, and offerings. All that remains is for the opposition, perceived or otherwise, to capitulate; or, at least, in sufficient numbers for the opposing side to gain the upper hand. The marching sense of purpose makes followers follow and gives leaders command. The institution consumes the energy and converts it to fuel.
And in the carnage of battle, we win and die. Someone picks up the banner, or it falls. And it all resembles people fighting. It is all the same. And will always be. Followers comfort to die for something.
Meanwhile, some choose to live.