‘The True Believer’: Eric Hoffer’s classic from 1951 is essential reading for Americans today

Eric Hoffer’s ‘True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements’ was published in 1951, but its wisdom is more relevant now than ever. Hoffer, the “longshoreman philosopher,” was an intellectual giant; his observations on human nature are essential reading for all Americans. In recent years, the split between the defenders of individual liberty and those who yearn to be lost in the collective has widened. The United States of America is united in name only, and the seeds of sinister things to come have shifted the cultural dirt with germination.

While I will always be grateful for the education I received at the University of Southern California, the bulk of my intellectual growth during my early twenties occurred because I was willing to seek out books my college professors never included on their recommended reading’ lists. I learned a lot by listening to my professors, but I knew that my greatest expansion would happen when I figured out what they didn’t want me to hear.

Eric Hoffer was kept from me by the “intellectuals” who were paid (handsomely) to introduce me to the best and brightest minds of human history. Don’t let his work be kept from you:

People whose lives are barren and insecure seem to show a greater willingness to obey than people who are self sufficient and self-confident. To the frustrated, freedom from responsibility is more attractive than freedom from restraint. They are eager to barter their independence for relief from the burdens of willing, deciding and being responsible for inevitable failure. They willingly abdicate the directing of their lives to those who want to plan, command and shoulder all responsibility. Moreover, submission by all to a supreme leader is an approach to their ideal of equality. …

The frustrated are also likely to be the most steadfast followers. It is remarkable, that, in a co-operative effort, the least self-reliant are the least likely to be discouraged by defeat. For they join others in a common undertaking not so much to ensure the success of a cherished project as to avoid an individual shouldering of blame in case of failure. When the common undertaking fails, they are still spared the one thing they fear most, namely, the showing up of their individual shortcomings. Their faith remains unimpaired and they are eager to follow in a new attempt.

The frustrated follow a leader less because of their faith that he is leading them to a promised land than because of their immediate feeling that he is leading them away from their unwanted selves. Surrender to a leader is not a means to an end but a fulfillment. Whither they are led is of secondary importance. (Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements. 118-119.)

Sounds familiar? If not, you haven’t been paying attention to the American political landscape since 2008. The election (and re-election) of the Marshall Applewhite of modern American politics — and the blithe acceptance of policies anathema to the long-term health of a free nation — have been harbingers of things to come.

Don’t believe me? Ask yourself how it’s possible for a modern Paul Revere like Mark Dice was able to get Californians to willingly sign a petition to support an “Orwellian police state” with “Nazi Germany” as its model. Any way you slice it, the “Orwellian Police State” video is a sad commentary on the state of union. A certain percentage of the population will always be clueless, but there are some encounters that should receive near-universal revulsion. A request to sign up for a “police state” is one of them.

The stage is set for America to change drastically overnight. The room is filled with the fumes of tyranny, and all that is required for destruction and pain on an unprecedented scale is a spark. Perhaps an economic crash somewhere around the $25 trillion debt mark? Iran officially going nuclear? A large-scale terror attack on American soil? Take your pick.

Perhaps the final piece of the puzzle will fall into place when Americans, now content to bludgeon each other with violent rhetoric, tire of blaming political rivals and turn their attention to external boogeymen.

The Americans are poor haters in international affairs because of their innate feeling of superiority over all foreigners. An American’s hatred for a fellow American … is far more virulent than any antipathy he can work up against foreigners. … Should Americans begin to hate foreigners whole-heartedly, it will be an indication that they have lost confidence in their own way of life.” (Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements. 96)

If you are concerned about the nation, I suggest reading ‘True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements.’ While most institutions of higher learning these days are not interested in introducing you to men like Eric Hoffer, plenty of bloggers are happy to do so. Search them out, read their work, and together we might be able to pass on a freer society to future generations of Americans.

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Joy Behar: Why read Thomas Sowell When I can Look Perpetually Constipated Pretending to be Smart?

Joy Behar

It’s been awhile, but I finally get to write a post on Joy” I perpetually look constipated” Behar. Today, at long last, the source of her liberalism was revealed:

CBS News anchor: Where did this liberal streak come from?

JOY BEHAR: It comes from, uh, being smart.

But of course! How could I have overlooked something so self-evident! One doesn’t heighten their intellectual horizons by reading Thomas Sowell or Thomas Paine or Adam Smith or Friedrich Hayek and on and on and on… No, dear friend, your liberalism is a gift, God-given genes embedded only in the best and brightest of us. And with that superior grey-matter circuitry liberals possess comes the ability to be “open-minded.”

BEHAR: Listen, I have my prejudices, you know, too. I think that people who are liberal are more open-minded. That’s all. I just believe that. You know, you can argue with that all you want—you can say, ‘Oh, conservative people are open-minded,’ and I don’t agree with that. I don’t.

And Behar’s right. Liberals are more open minded. Look at the “intellectuals” she pals around with on The View—they’re so open minded that they can parse “rape” from “rape rape”! I admit, as a conservative, that I couldn’t look at a guy who pumped up a 13 year old girl with drugs and alcohol before raping her and say that it wasn’t “rape-rape.” Unlike Roman Polanski I’ll admit it: Guilty as charged.

Likewise, liberals are so “open minded” that they can see how complicated the word ‘is’ is. And–they can look at a lying woman willing to destroy the career of life-long NYC cops by claiming she was raped while covered in dog feces…and see a Holocaust victim forced to “sit down in front of Mr. Hitler,” (Yes, I’m talking about liberal “leader” and Joy Behar mind-meld soul mate Al Sharpton).

For further reading, you can see how “open-minded” liberal Supreme Court Justices can find penumbras in emanations, or “hip hop intellectuals” hear phantom racial epithets and calls to violence where only anti-Nanny State rants fill the air.

The funny thing about those who claim to be the most open minded is that most of the time—they’re not.  Read longshoreman philosopher Eric Hoffer’s fabulous book True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements for a better understanding as to why that happens, or read up on Keith Olbermann if you’re pressed for time.

Joy, I already know you won’t be reading Eric Hoffer anytime soon. Although, that’s probably why you and your friends don’t know what the word ‘suffrage’ means. Or am I just “close-minded” and it really means whatever you want it to mean? Touché, Joy. Touché.