We need to group together to get our ideas heard, to express them with confidence, in order to clarify them in the first place, because. But once we entrust our belief to others it is no longer our own. It is dictated to us.
Any human organization, religious, cultural, sporting, political, government, whatever, will be controlled by those who love power, and it will demand that the primary faith, belief, loyalty, be to the structure and hierarchy of the organisation itself, not to the idea, ideal or purpose that it was originally created for, and certainly not to the people who created it to serve them. God, football, socialism, the taxpayer, whatever, is very much in second place.
Anyone who places the original purpose, God, say, in the case of a religious group, above the group itself will not be trusted, and will be sneered at by the leaders.
Idolatry of the abstract is what I, and doubtless many other people who are mystified that I should find any of this new, call the tendency to place the abstracted idea of a group of people above the individuals who make it up- who may have created the group specifically in order to benefit themselves- and even above the great majority taken together. The leaders will require, and often the members will not only accept but actively collaborate with the idea, that only the state, the game, the order, the party, the school, whatever it happens to be, matters, and the people who make it up can be dispensed with, disposed of, destroyed if necessary, all of them, in the name of the abstract that is supposed to belong to them.
Since there is one born every minute, and many people love simple abstract ideas that are easy to name, especially when they are designed to flatter them by being made fashionably good and easy to understand, many pseudo-religious, pseudo-political or pseudo-other organizations are created purely to take advantage of this factor. But many are created by the very people who later allow themselves to be controlled by them.
Sports associations are taken over by the people paid to run them, as soon as the game becomes economically or socially important enough. They talk about ‘bringing the game into disrepute’, ‘the game is bigger than all of us’, and are frequently in dispute with the people who supposedly employ them.
To a certain extent this exemplifies the principal/agent problem. In all such organizations, whether private or agencies of government, the people in charge of the money, of the rules, of deciding exactly what the whole point of the organization is, and however they acquired that power, will tend to run it in their own interests. Whether through corruption, ineptness, laziness or some combination of these and/or other reasons, this will happen. We know it will happen because it invariably does happen.
Tyrannical governments deliberately take advantage of organizations which already exist, and create abstracts such as ‘the state’, ‘the country’, the party’, the nation’, ‘the revolution’, the philosophy’, ‘the ideal’, ‘insert –ism here’, in order to justify everything up to and including the murder in the name of that ideal of the very people it is intended to serve, and indeed, in most cases, without whom it would not exist, and in all cases without whom it would have no meaning.
But you don’t have to go to Stalin to see this idolatry. The local golf club, choir or neighbourhood watch committee will happily sacrifice the people who created it to serve them, to some abstract ideal of itself, often with the willing acceptance of those sacrificed, who fail to see what has been done to them.