Any school kid has seen pictures like this of pre-WWII Germany where hundreds of thousands of ordinary Germans flocked to get even a glimps of Adolf Hitler as he promised to pull them out of the hard times they were in.
"How could this happen? Didn't they see Hitler for the hateful madman he was?"
Well, no, not really. Hitler inflamed even the slightest prejudices most people had and convinced them better times were ahead if only they would trust him. Prejudices against Jews of course, and the mentally and physically handicapped, and Slavs, and pretty much everyone who had it better than they did, too.
"Times were simpler then, and people were just very naive. That could never happen today. We're much better educated and too sophisticated to fall for anything like that."
Really? Have you not seen FOX News, or MSNBC, or read Breitbart or Huff Post or any number of other slanted sources of information? We all have our prejudices, and there is one group or another out there looking for you, hoping to turn you into one of their disciples. IMO we're even MORE susceptible today of falling into the camp of one evil group or another than Germans were back in the 1930's.
Examples? President Trump has his "base", those who refuse to believe anything at all negative about him. Any evidence of a tainted election victory is just sour grapes, "flip-flopping" on issues is just his way of keeping his opponents off balance, etc. They have tasted his brand of Kool Aid and apparently loved it. They aren't going back.
Then you have the anti-Trumpsters who can find absolutely nothing good to say about the President. Everything he says is dismissed out of hand. THEY are always right, and HE is always wrong. More Kool Aid consumed. They aren't going back.
Antisemitism is still with us. Racial tensions are flaring...White Supremacists, Antifa...Charlottsville was NOT spontaneous. Protestants still view Catholics warily. My generation looks unfavorably at today's kids and their dress, music, attitudes, etc. Gay/straight, Believers/atheists, stand or take a knee...the issues, and ardent followers of each, are almost endless. And however they might believe, they are unlikely to ever go back. Some believe those who own guns are just a bunch of knuckle-dragging, Tea Party bubbas. Umm...I own guns, and I am ANYTHING but a knuckle-dragging, Tea Party bubba. Ewww! *Oops, even I have prejudices*
My point is, we are NOT too sophisticated to fall prey to being radicalized. If you think you're too smart to fall for such shenanigans, they're probably already reeling you in. Apparently we haven't learned the old lesson of history repeating itself. I hope this ends better than last time.