Eric Hoffer and the True Believers

A people’s philosopher:

Being a thinker concerned with questions relating to vital life during the positivistic twentieth century had major drawbacks.

Because Hoffer embraced a philosophy of commonsense values that addressed everyday life, the radicalized academic establishment has dismissed him.

Hoffer’s major crime, as it is easy to see today, is that he tried to wrest control of moral values away from nihilistic intellectuals.

By safeguarding basic truths and values—ideas that enable man to flourish in daily life—from becoming the domain of fashionable theories, Hoffer was made persona non grata by radical ideologues and opportunistic intellectuals.

Yet while being shunned by radicalized academics, Hoffer enjoyed tremendous success among his readers in the general public.

The book in question: The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements (Perennial Classics)

Personal recollection: In the mid-60s at St. Ignatius High, Chicago, I assigned the book to my seniors, most of whom had resisted my pushing racial-justice books.

This one was different. At least one spoke of it with appreciation.

In retrospect, I’d have been better off (they too) if I’d gone with this kind of book. Those who worked at understanding it would have had got something that stayed with them, through thick and thin, you might say.

via an excellent site, by the way: The University Bookman

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