Medical Tuesday Blog
Equality by Eric Hoffer (1902-1983) A San Francisco longshoreman—turned—author who achieved immediate fame for his book True Believers (1951), in which he described the underlying logic of mass movements, such as Nazism and Communism, and the characteristics of their followers.
A 1956 profile in Look magazine identified Hoffer as “Ike’s Favorite Author,” elevating this blue-collar workingman to the level of President Eisenhower’s bedside table. It wasn’t just Eisenhower who appreciated Hoffer’s intelligence and wit. Public figures, ranging from the author and historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. to the philosopher and social critic Bertrand Russell, praised his work. Since September 11, 2001, some commentators have noted that Hoffer’s analysis of “the true believer” and mass movements in general—although written with Hitler’s and Stalin’s followers in mind—applied equally well to Islamic fundamentalists.
We clamor for equality chiefly in matters in which we ourselves cannot hope to obtain excellence.
We cannot win the weak by sharing our wealth with them. They feel our generosity as oppression.
There can be no freedom without the freedom to fail.
I doubt if the oppressed ever fight for freedom. They fight for pride and power—the power to oppress others. The oppressed want above all to imitate their oppressors; they want to retaliate.
It is to escape the responsibility for failure that the weak so eagerly throw themselves into grandiose undertakings.
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