A religion would have the occasional convert. I have yet to see one happen.
An illness can be fixed. What have you ever seen that happen?
And, people are born into religion all the time. When liberals allow them to be born, and don't murder them in the womb, that is.
If its an "illness", its genetic. In reality, I think they are the "normal" ones - obeying millions of years of evolutionary instinct to form tribes and fall in line - human sheep. Its the individualistic Free Men who are the genetic mutations- and America's frontier allowed them to escape from their tribes and build- but the gene that makes one desire freedom is obviously recessive. "Conservative is the New Gay" as they say in Hollywood. You are born that way, or you are not, and we are easy to weed out if the regime decides that would be beneficial. I am sure it was obvious to any adult that I was an individualist by the age of 5 - even though I tried to play the Liberal part till I was in my late 20s. Then I was exposed to actual arguments for the first time, and started thinking. David Mamet's story is probably more the norm, than an aberration.
Its not a religion.. but I agree religious fervor plays a part.. the cavemen know, either consciously or unconsciously that we have out-evolved them. They know they cannot play and succeed as an individual- they cannot play and win our game - and Hoffer's hypothesis of trying to escape the failed-self I think is valid, but you can't fix them because, genetically, they simply cannot deal with life outside of a tribe.
This is why the French Revolution went the way it did, and the American the opposite. The French had a society dominated by cavemen and the ethics of tribes, and we had a society formed largely by self-selection and dominated by Free Men, and as such, established a government under what was basically a new set of ethics. Now 200 years later, the cavemen among us are chafing under those rules, because they are simply beyond what their brains can comprehend and understand, and they are constantly pushing to "reform" our government back to something they do understand.
To the liberal/caveman mind, individual freedom is not desirable- its terrifying. To the Liberal caveman mind, promises and contracts are meaningless - Might Makes Right is the only rule they understand. To a liberal-caveman mind, wealth is found and not created, and property rights are absurd and meaningless abstractions - stories we tell to justify "hoarding" the wealth we "found" from them. Individual sacrifice, Individual decision making and individual responsibility violate all they feel is moral or right. Your sacrifices are dictated by the tribe - even if it is your first born. You act in concert with the tribe, or you are outcast and have no rights. The tribe has the responsibility for the care of the tribe - no member is ever personally responsible - an evolutionary safety in numbers that is a cardinal rule of the human sheep.
Its not quite Eloi and Morlocks, but it might as well be. H.G. Wells was a Socialist, but he also saw two distinct species. To him, we were the "uncivilized" exploiters of the "found wealth", and to use they are the "uncivilized barbarians" demanding an unearned tribute under threat of force. The point is we are two civilizations, trying to co-exist in the same geographic area, and quite frankly -the cavemen- can't understand co-existence. You are part of the tribe or you are not. They are never "american" - they are "African-American", "Hispanic-American" etc - Always the tribe comes first, and they see the government as a tribal structure - as a family - not a separate institution in which free men or separate tribes can participate. (Getting a liberal to understand Federalism is impossible. There is only one leader in a tribe!)
Peaceful co-existence is impossible, because cavemen won't allow it. We must either fight them off, viciously and with out mercy, or we must submit to being the slaves of the tribe- kept and tolerated for our usefulness as the best "finders of wealth" - but never full members of the tribe - we can't be, because we don't share their values.
The problem comes with classifying the Democratic leadership- the tribal chieftains.. Obviously there are liberals who are successful "finders or wealth" - and these I can only conclude are Free Men like us, but without a moral compass - or who have bought wholeheartedly into the tribal ethical system with religious fervor as their main driver. Regardless of motivations, they manipulate the tribe to gain power and influence for themselves. - like the Pigs of Animal Farm.
Richard Dawkins wrote a book called "The Selfish Gene" (know your enemy) - and in it he talked about "Suckers", "Cheaters" and "Grudgers" - Suckers are the average caveman-Democrat. The Cheaters are those who wish to exploit those cavemen -Free Men who proclaim themselves the chieftains and leaders of the tribes. The grudgers are freemen, born as Suckers who have been cheated and who are never going to allow that to happen again. The cheaters assume that any free-men grudgers they might meet are really cheaters like themselves - and hence all of the projection you see from the left. They simply assume your goal is to form tribes of suckers and get wealth and power from them, because that is what their goal is. Grudgers, however, have different goals, foremost among them to be "left alone" - The "Cheaters" are your only potential converts, and they have good reasons - wealth and power, for not converting. Jesse Jackson comes to mind as an excellent example.
Maybe its a combination of two genes-- one conferring the ability to think producing the cheater. Another gene may confer the desire to be outside the tribe - an individual. That of course implies there is a group of people who can't think, but desire freedom, but maybe there is a genetic dependency that prevents that or makes it very rare. At least, I don't run into them - nor would I expect them to survive long ... .
Its a long way to provide this point I know. I just don't believe you can "fix them" and we have to come to grips with that and decide what we are going to do in that circumstance, because all the options I see are pretty damn unpleasant and undesirable.