Monday, July 18, 2022

Work hard and read Hoffer.................

 Hoffer’s strongest words were for the intellectuals — or rather, against the intellectuals. “Intellectuals,” he said, “cannot operate at room temperature.” Hype, moral melodrama, and sweeping visions were the way that intellectuals approached the problems of the world.

But that was not the way progress was usually achieved in America. “Nothing so offends the doctrinaire intellectual as our ability to achieve the momentous in a matter-of-fact way, unblessed by words.”

Since the American economy and society advanced with little or no role for the intelligentsia, it is hardly surprising that anti-Americanism flourishes among intellectuals. “Nowhere at present is there such a measureless loathing of their country by educated people as in America,” Eric Hoffer said.”

Hoffer’s insights on the hubris of professional intellectuals is as profound as his reading of mass movements. Actually, the two are connected. “Mass movements do not usually rise until the prevailing order has been discredited. The discrediting is not an automatic result of the blunders and abuses of those in power, but the deliberate work of men of words with a grievance.”

-Thomas Sowell, writing about Eric Hoffer and culled from this essay

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