Criminogenic cults have been recognized, but not named, by French law
In a very recent private conversation, I was informed by a British politician, that it was perfectly-true, when I said that 'no one in their right mind would pay to be brainwashed and trained to behave like an obedient dog.' What he was putting forward, is the all-too common, ego-protecting misconception that 'only fools and weaklings fall victim to cults.' However, what this highly-educated legislator conveniently ignored, was the fact that I had qualified my statement by saying that, unfortunately, millions of ill-informed persons have paid to be brainwashed and trained to behave exactly like obedient dogs, simply, because these dangerous procedures have been deceptively-packaged, by 'MLM income opportunity,' and other cultic, racketeers, as 'self-betterment coaching/training.'
In cults, one of the classic, co-ordinated devious techniques used to shut-down adherents' critical, and evaluative, faculties, and transform them into de facto slaves (popularly-known as brainwashing), is to destroy their existing self-esteem/identity, and then, whilst they are in a state of psychological vulnerability, make them dependent on a self-gratifying, but wholly-imaginary, scenario that their group alone represents a positive force of purity and absolute righteousness derived from the leadership's exclusive access to a superior or superhuman knowledge, which cannot be challenged.This is why all core cult adherents essentially behave like gangs of arrogant adolescents. In reality, cults are psychological prisons - acting like distorting-mirrors, reflecting back an attractive, ego-building image to unquestioning adherents, but a completely unacceptable, ego-destroying image to those who begin to question.
Obviously, the techniques of ego-based brainwashing are directly-related to what the military calls 'basic-training.' That said, in modern democracies, military forces don't recruit by dissimulating their real nature, and most volunteer military recruits generally have a pretty good idea of what they will be subjected to. Brainwashing techniques work best on physically-isolated persons, like prisoners, who are already vulnerable and dependent on their handlers for information, food, water, light, etc. However, they also work just as well on any ill-informed volunteers who are already in a state of vulnerability (e.g. the sick, the vanquished, the poor, the greedy, the lonely and even the aimless).
In France, there is now a law which recognizes that there are various criminogenic organizations (ruled by dangerous, self-appointed leaders) with the clandestine purpose of exploiting ill-informed persons whom the deployable agents of these organizations have been trained to identify as being in, and/or to push into, a position of vulnerability.
Even though this French law doesn't actually include the words 'religion' and 'cult', tellingly, it was opposed by certain traditional religious, as well as by cultic, groups. This French law was also criticized by agents of the US government as being 'intolerant of religion.'
There are many co-opted academics who, for various reasons (usually financial), have claimed that 'there is no such thing as brainwashing,' but history teaches us that it has been all-too easy to get vulnerable human beings to behave like obedient packs of dogs, simply by dissociating them from external reality with variations of essentially the same two-dimensional fairy tale.