Weekend Reflections: Eric Hoffer and America’s Collapse

Both the revolutionary and the creative individual are perpetual juveniles. The revolutionary does not grow up because he cannot grow, while the creative individual cannot grow up because he keeps growing.

— Eric Hoffer, Reflections on the Human Condition, p. 62

Elizabeth Warren, an old Marxist windbag, is trying to distinguish herself from Bernie Sanders, an old Marxist windbag, by claiming that she is not a Democratic socialist.

No she isn’t; and neither is Sanders. Both are communists, plain and simple. And both will spend the next two years running to the left of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a desperate attempt to appear relevant to “the youth vote,” i.e., propagandized university undergraduates clamoring for a religion in which to immerse themselves, as a means of assuaging their fears of entering a “real world” for which they know they are woefully unprepared. Their craving for immersion in the progressive faith, of course, is the reason their progressive public educators raised these “youths” to be so woefully unprepared. (I direct you to my Case Against Public Education for more on that point.)

One wonders whether a generation that demands instant satisfaction of all its needs and instant solution of the world’s problems will produce anything of lasting value. Such a generation, even when equipped with the most modern technology, will be essentially primitive — it will stand in awe of nature, and submit to the tutelage of medicine men.

— Reflections on the Human Condition, § 60

Speaking of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — is it possible to speak of anything else in American politics these days without speaking of her? — has anyone stopped to look at her lately? I mean really to look at her youthful face? She is gaining great mileage today from being the two things America’s mainstream media loves most: young and Marxist. But she is gaining mileage, and not merely in the positive sense. 

Today, photographed from just the right angle, she is a bit pretty, in the way young enthusiasts can seem pretty. In a few years, having screamed, lied, and hated her way to whatever temporary glory she is to achieve in this heady moment of hers, she will look very different. By the time she is old enough to run for President (about six years from now), I suspect she will look like a slightly younger Elizabeth Warren: used up, tired, withered, angry, and with that perpetual deer-in-the-headlights sort of cluelessness in her eyes that only seems cute when you are the child in the room and full of vigor. 

Unless a man has talents to make something of himself, freedom is an irksome burden. Of what avail is freedom to choose if the self be ineffectual? We join a mass movement to escape individual responsibility, or, in the words of the ardent young Nazi, “to be free from freedom.” It was not sheer hypocrisy when the rank-and-file Nazis declared themselves not guilty of all the enormities they had committed. They considered themselves cheated and maligned when made to shoulder responsibility for obeying orders. Had they not joined the Nazi movement in order to be free from responsibility?

— The True Believer, Part Two, §26

The reason “the youth vote” is so important to the Marxists is that the young have been decayed just enough through their public schooling that they live in constant (and understandable) fear of being incompetent to tackle life on their own, and believe they might simply starve to death without a permanent replacement for Mom and Dad. Thus, they are perfect dupes for the Marxist promise of a benevolent, all-pervasive State that will handle all the hard parts of life for them — and even throw the joyride of mass punishment for the competent into the bargain, which feels justified because the incompetent must always comfort themselves with the thought that there is no such thing as competence, and hence that anyone who seems capable of surviving and thriving beyond the loving arms of the State must be “cheating” somehow, and therefore deserve public shaming, and perhaps extermination.

The history of this country was made largely by people who wanted to be left alone. Those who could not thrive when left to themselves never felt at ease in America.

— Reflections on the Human Condition, §53

To the rest of the world — the envious, inferior remainders — The United States of America was always the nation of naïve people, the uneducated, and the superficial. Now at last, thanks to the best university system in the world, America is the land of the university-educated: the worldly-wise, sophisticated, and Europeanized. And now we see the result of all that education and enlightenment: Weak-minded followers, hopelessly inept beggars, frightened nihilists who have taught themselves to disregard the rights and dignity of their fellow men in order to suffocate the conscience that would trouble them over what they seek to do to their fellow men — all for the sake of escaping the horror of human adulthood, i.e., of having to cut their own path, build their own cabin, and tend to the fire in their own hearth to keep warm through the winter.

The explosive component in the contemporary scene is not the clamor of the masses but the self-righteous claims of a multitude of graduates from schools and universities. This army of scribes is clamoring for a society in which planning, regulation, and supervision are paramount and the prerogative of the educated. They hanker for the scribe’s golden age, for a return to something like the scribe-dominated societies of ancient Egypt, China, and Europe of the Middle Ages. There is little doubt that the present trend in the new and renovated countries toward social regimentation stems partly from the need to create adequate employment for a large number of scribes. And since the tempo of the production of the literate is continually increasing, the prospect is of ever-swelling bureaucracies.

— The Ordeal of Change, Ch. 13

The sick in soul insist that it is humanity that is sick, and they are the surgeons to operate on it. They want to turn the world into a sickroom. And once they get humanity strapped to the operating table, they operate on it with an ax.

— The Passionate State of Mind, §124 

True Believers

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