Alger, Hayek, Hoffer and Porretto
I’ve quoted Eric Hoffer from his seminal book True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements before. Here’s one that I’ve quoted at least twice previously:
Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all unifying agents. It pulls and whirls the individual away from his own self, makes him oblivious of his weal and future, frees him of jealosies and self-seeking. He becomes an anonymous particle quivering with a craving to fuse and coalesce with his like into one flaming mass. (Heinrich) Heine suggests that what Christian love cannot do is effected by a common hatred.
Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil. Usually the strength of a mass movement is proportionate to the vividness and tangibility of its devil. When Hitler was asked whether he thought the Jew must be destroyed, he answered: “No…. We should have then to invent him. It is essential to have a tangible enemy, not merely an abstract one.” F.A. Voigt tells of a Japanese mission that arrived in Berlin in 1932 to study the National Socialist movement. Voigt asked a member of the mission what he thought of the movement. He replied: “It is magnificent. I wish we could have something like it in Japan, only we can’t, because we haven’t got any Jews.”
Francis Porretto has written a piece that I think everyone should read, Hatings.
I honestly wish I could say that I thought Francis was wrong, but I can’t. My only quibble: the Republicans aren’t innocent, either.
I’m further reminded of a post no longer available on the web, written by Ironbear, who still comments here occasionally:
It would be a mistake to paint the conflict exclusively in terms of “cultural war,” or Democrats vs Republicans, or even Left vs Right. Neither Democrats/Leftists or Republicans shy away from statism… the arguments there are merely over degree of statism, uses to which statism will be put – and over who’ll hold the reins. It’s the thought that they may not be left in a position to hold the reins that drives the Democrat-Left stark raving.
This is a conflict of ideologies…
The heart of the conflict is between those to whom personal liberty is important, and those to whom liberty is not only inconsequential, but to whom personal liberty is a deadly threat.
At the moment, that contingent is embodied most virulently by the “American” Left. This is the movement that still sees the enslavement and “re-education” of hundreds of thousands in South Vietnam, and the bones of millions used as fertilizer in Cambodia as a victory. This is the movement that sees suicide bombers as Minute Men, and sees the removal of a brutal murder and rape machine from power as totalitarianism. This is the movement that sees legitimately losing an election as the imposition of a police state. This is the movement that believes in seizing private property as “common good”. That celebrates Che Guevara as a hero. The movement who’s highest representatives talk blithely about taking away your money and limiting your access to your own homestead for your own good. The movement of disarmament.
The movement of the boot across the throat.
Think about it. When was the last time that you were able to engage in anything that resembled a discussion with someone of the Leftist persuasion? Were able to have an argument that was based on the premise that one of you was wrong, rather than being painted as Evil just because you disagreed?
The Left has painted itself into a rhetorical and logical corner, and unfortunately, they have no logic that might act as a paint thinner. It’s not possible for them to compromise with those that they’ve managed to conflate with the most venal of malevolence, with those whom they’re convinced disagree not because of different opinions but because of stupidity and evil, with those who’s core values are diametrically opposed to what the Left has embraced. There can be no real discourse, no real discussion. There’s no common ground. There can be no reconciliation there – the Left has nothing to offer that any adherent of freedom wants. The only way they can achieve their venue is from a position of political ascendancy where it can be imposed by force or inveigled by guile.
And all adherents of freedom have far too many decades of historical precedent demonstrating exactly where that Leftward road leads – to the ovens of Dachau.
And no, that’s not hyperbole.