I read somewhere that Hillary Clinton recommended The True Believer: Thoughts On The Nature Of Mass Movements by Eric Hoffer to her staff in 2016. I'm not a huge Clinton fan by any measure, but I don't discount her intellect or insight on certain matters.
These are some of my highlights (really pencil underlines, since this was an Amazon purchased paperback):
The contribution of the Western democracies to the awakening of the East has been indirect and certainly unintended. They have kindled an enthusiasm of resentment for the West.
After World War II the United States supported French efforts to regain control of Vietnam and her other holdings in French Indochina. I believe Uncle Ho quoted Thomas Jefferson when he proclaimed Vietnamese Independence. Alas...
Those who are awed by their surroundings do not think of change, no matter how miserable their condition.
Megacities and big tech (G4+1). Are we not entertained always and forever? We're always jacked in and on a wire trip. Everything is televised and brought to you by MasterCard.
The unemployed are more likely to follow the peddlers of hope than the handers-out of relief.
Hark! FDR 1932.
Almost all our contemporary movements showed in their early stages a hostile attitude toward the family...
Economic independence for women facilitates divorce. Economic independence for the young weakens parental authority and also hastens an early splitting up of the family group.
Andrew Yang makes a similar argument. Mainly, women that could make good mates for certain men are dissuaded from doing so because more often than not the men have no drive to become economically independent. They'd much rather be playing video games living with their mother and father. A good education implies debt. Why get behind in payments when a woman doesn't need you, when kids don't need you. Very rosy picture. Yes, the decline of the family is real. Yes, the decline of America is real.
Where freedom is real, equality is the passion of the masses. Where equality is real, freedom is the passion of a small minority.
...the leader of a mass movement has an overwhelming contempt for the present--
Every lynching in the South not only intimidates the Negro but also invigorates the fanatical conviction of white supremacy.
This was 1951.
Islam imposed its faith by force, yet the coerced Muslim displayed a devotion to the new faith more ardent than that of the first Arabs engaged in the movement.
The slaveholders of the South became the more aggressive in spreading their way of life the more it became patent that their position was untenable in a modern world.
I thought a lot about Trump while reading this on and off through the months. Probably more so these last few days. Of course Hitler and Stalin and Nero et al are mentioned numerous times. I do not think that Trump is Hitler. That's a sophomoric blip of a thought. Bush wasn't Hitler, folks. There are moments in my day when I will resolve that I will only read black writers in a given month. This Kanye Sunday Service stuff is very very scary. But,
la-di-da as Annie Hall would say. I think it is something I probably will do...at some point.
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