Comes now (the late) Tony Judt to tell me I'm not alone. Here's his account of trying to teach it in the modern academic environment:
...The Captive Mind often encountered incomprehension. Milosz takes for granted his readers' intuitive grasp of the believer's state of mind: the man or woman who has identified with History and enthusiastically aligned themselves with a system that denies them freedom of expression. In 1951 he could reasonably assume that this phenomenon--whether associted with communism, fascism, or indeed any other form of political repression--would be familiar.
And indeed, when I first taught the book in the 1970s, I spent most of my time explaining to would-be radical students just why a "captive mind" was not a good thing. Thiry years on, my young audience is simply mystified: Why would someone sell his soul to any idea, much less a repressive one? By the turn of the twenty-first century, few of my North American students had ever met a Marxist. A self-abnegating commitment to a secular faith was beyond their imaginative reach. When I started out, my challenge was to explain why people became disillusioned with Marxism: today, the insuperable hurdle one faces is explaining the illusion itself.
--Tony Judt "Captive Minds," New York Review of Books.Sept 30, 2010, 8-10, 10
Judt goes on to argue that the 21st Century analog to the thrall of Marxism is out faith in "the market," but I don't think the comparison holds. No doubt there are those who walk among us quacking about "the market"with the same kind of uncritical self-assurance that you once might have encountered in the old-fashioned Communist cadres. The Communists kept their critics in line with imposed self-criticism and public mockery (and, of course, the execution chamber). These days, public mockery is widely and freely administered against the market itself.