Eric Hoffer Was Right

Posted on Sat 06/02/2018 by

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By Burt Prelutsky ~

Although I had always been interested in politics (I won a $5 bet with one of my uncles when I was 12 and was convinced that in 1952 the GOP presidential candidate would be Dwight Eisenhower, not Robert Taft), it wasn’t until I was well into my teens that I read Eric Hoffer’s seminal “The True Believer,” and learned great truths that I have never forgotten.

Hoffer was a unique individual. His mother once fell down a flight of steps while carrying young Eric. She would die of her injuries, he would lose his sight for several years. When it was magically restored, he was so fearful that he might go blind again, he began to devour books by the bushel. He never again lost his sight; he also never stopped reading.

With no formal education, he worked at a series of odd jobs before becoming a longshoreman in San Francisco. Even after he turned to writing, he continued working on the docks because he preferred the company of his fellow longshoremen to that of so-called intellectuals.

Although he could turn a phrase as well as anyone (“Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength,” “The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings”), his actual claim to fame is that he recognized that communism and fascism were not at opposite ends of the political spectrum. They each have their roots in socialism and the goal of both is totalitarianism.

That was why in the 20s and 30s, Germans would often switch back and forth between the two parties, switching their allegiance depending upon which party seemed to be the one in ascendency at the time.

That’s what made it so predictable that Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union would sign a mutual non-aggression pact. Equally predictable was that one of them would eventually double-cross the other. As it happens, it was Hitler who invaded Stalin’s domain, but under different circumstances, it would have been Stalin who invaded Germany, just as he would later conquer Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and the rest of Eastern Europe, subjugating hundreds of millions of people behind what Winston Churchill called the “Iron Curtain.”

Speaking of Churchill, I had always wondered why Franklin Roosevelt seemed to prefer Stalin, an ignorant brute, to Churchill, who not only shared the same language as FDR, but was an ardent defender of freedom and liberty, and a witty conversationalist, to boot.

As William F. Jasper, writing in The New American, pointed out, Roosevelt had a soft spot for dictators, which shouldn’t be too surprising of a man who over-turned 150 years of American tradition by running not only for a third presidential term, but a fourth.

In the 1930s, Roosevelt not only referred to Benito Mussolini as “that admirable Italian gentleman,” but admitted he was deeply impressed by what Il Duce and fascism had accomplished in Italy. He was so impressed that he adopted Mussolini’s concept of the Total State as his own.

Jasper quotes Frances Perkins, who served as FDR’s Secretary of Labor: “At the very first meeting of the Cabinet after the President took office in 1933, the financier and advisor to Roosevelt, Bernard Baruch, and Baruch’s friend Hugh Johnson, who was to become the head of the National Recovery Administration, came in with a copy of Giovanni Gentile’s ‘The Doctrine of Fascism,’ for each member of the Cabinet, and we all read it with great care.”

Gentile was Mussolini’s favorite political philosopher because he provided the intellectual foundation for Italian fascism, which was essentially the belief that the state was everything, the individual was nothing.

As you may recall, that was also at the core of Barack Obama’s belief system. The community organizer wasn’t just putting his spin on things Saul Alinsky had written in “Rules for Radicals” when, at the 2012 Democratic convention, he said: “We all belong to the government” or when, on another occasion, he told us that we “hadn’t built that,” whatever “that” may have been. He was actually channeling Benito Mussolini and every other tyrant who had ever lived. Because, or so his reasoning went, we couldn’t have managed to build an industry or start a business or transport a harvest to market without bridges, paved roads and electricity, the President told us we had no right to take credit for anything we produced. It was all the government’s doing.

The scary thing is that America’s voters heard him say in 2008 that the problem with the Constitution and the Civil Rights movement was that neither had dealt with the all-important issue of redistributing the wealth of the nation, and they still elected him. What’s even worse is that after four years of showing himself to be a disaster on every front, including the economy, race relations and dealing with our enemies — both foreign and domestic — he was re-elected.

Is it any wonder that FDR managed to win four elections?

Speaking of tyrants, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has decided to rate news services on their trustworthiness. No doubt a worthy endeavor, but I suspect he would be more convincing if he hadn’t already sacrificed his own and Facebook’s trustworthiness in his quest for every last dollar on earth.

Talking about money reminds me that Scot Peterson, 55, the security officer who cowered outside Stoneman Douglas High School while Nicolas Cruz used students, teachers and coaches, for target practice, retired a week after the massacre, and is now due to receive a pension of $8,702.35-a-month for the rest of his useless life.

For my part, I’d say that even the 35 cents is more than he deserves, but it’s not my money, so if the taxpayers of Broward County don’t mind giving him $104,428.20 every year from now on, that’s their business.

Still, he’s still a relatively young man, so he might be looking to augment his income by getting another job. Perhaps he should run for a seat on the City Council. I assume he would feel right at home with a bunch of morons who decided that a school guard, even one who clearly was not up to the task, deserved a six-figure pension.

Or perhaps Mr. Peterson could get a job at CNN or MSNBC where commentators are paid a lot of money just to insult President Trump. In case you missed it, several of the jackasses called on Trump to express his condolences to the Palestinians in the wake of their being killed by Israelis while attempting to storm the border by hurling grenades, pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails.

Naturally, people who would elect members of the terrorist group Hamas to lead them didn’t hesitate to include little kids in their ranks, knowing that the world’s media loves nothing better than the opportunity to slander Israel by publishing photos of small dead Muslim bodies.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, Moqtada al-Sadr, who was responsible for killing Americans and whose followers make a practice of raping and murdering his Sunni opponents, is in line to take over the reins in Iraq.

It’s a shame that we can’t have a re-do and revert to the good old days when Saddam Hussein ruled that particular swamp.

One of the worst aspects of Senate confirmation hearings is the amount of hypocrisy that is invariably exposed. I still recall when Ted Kennedy, who left a woman to die while he rushed off to salvage his political career, got to sit in judgment of Clarence Thomas, condemning him for his allegedly boorish treatment of Anita Hill.

These days, we see Gina Haspel being compelled to claim she was opposed to “enhanced interrogation” simply in order to convince a few sleazy politicians that she deserves the job she was born to have, as director of the CIA.

The worst part of it is that a lot of that nonsense was originally ginned up by John McCain, who misused his status as a former POW to sermonize against waterboarding Islamic terrorists.

In his attempt to claim the moral high ground, McCain had to pretend to see no difference between the Vietnamese breaking the bones of their prisoners for the hell of it and our making enemy combatants uncomfortable in order to obtain information which could prevent future attacks.

It was just about as ingenuous and hypocritical as Mexico’s former president, Vicente Fox, equating our proposed border wall to the Berlin Wall, pretending that a wall erected to keep people out is the same as one built to keep people in.

I suspect that if Donald Trump, rather than George W. Bush, had been in the White House at the time, he would have asked Senor Fox if he also equated the wall around his home with the ones around Mexico’s prisons.

The city council members of Seattle, which makes no secret of the fact that it is vying with San Francisco and Berkeley to be crowned the most moronic municipality in the U.S., voted to hit companies with a $275-an-employee tax in order to fund housing for the homeless.

So, once again, elected officials have taken to virtue-signaling, ignoring the fact that major corporations like Starbucks and Amazon will now consider moving themselves to greener pastures leaving thousands unemployed, while smaller companies will simply decide not to hire any additional employees.

These are the inevitable consequences whenever liberals decide to ignore reality in pursuit of accolades from like-minded idiots.

The fact that a great many people inevitably lose their jobs when liberals decide that low-skilled workers should be paid, say, $15-an-hour never even enters their minds.

But, then, how could it? Any thought that somehow wound up inside their heads would find itself wandering around aimlessly in an uncharted wilderness, friendless and alone.

Burt Prelutsky is a columnist at The Patriot Post, and is a former humor columnist for the LA Times.

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