by baldilocks

Self-education has its benefits; it’s generated by true desire for knowledge, unclouded by the bureaucracy of formal education and uses straight-forward language as its vehicle. Formal education has some good points as well: that degree looks good on your wall. (Calm down, all you PhDs, JDs, MDs, etc.; just yanking your chain. You know that it’s envy. Really.)

As it happens, I found out about one of the best products of self-education, Eric Hoffer, from one of the best that formal education has to offer, Thomas Sowell.

Hoffer

While reading The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements , I was struck by several of Hoffer’s observations. The narrative lays out all the ingredients necessary for the success of Mass Movements: the people, the pre-conditions, the attitudes and the actions/reactions. He makes no moral judgments on the phenomenon, but merely lists the pre-cursors for the main event —like listing the ingredients for a main course. Would that I could do better than Hoffer in explaining the mass movement phenomenon, but I can’t. So here are a few of the statements that had meaning for me.

A mass movement attracts and holds a following not because it can satisfy the desire for self-advancement [like many practical organizations], but because it can satisfy the passion for self-renunciation.

Potential converts:

  • The newly poor: “This class has a vivid memory of affluence and dominion and is not likely to reconcile itself to straitened conditions and political impotence.”

  • The bored: “Where people live autonomous lives and are not badly off, yet are without abilities or opportunities for creative work or useful action, there is no telling to what desperate and fantastic shifts they might resort in order to give meaning and purpose to their lives.”

  • The inordinately selfish: “The more selfish a person, the more poignant his disappointments. It is the inordinately selfish, therefore, who are likely to be the most persuasive champions of selflessness.”

“Self-sacrifice [leading to] united action are the primary engines of a mass movement and must be inculcated into its proponents,” says Hoffer. Sounds like basic training, yes, fellow military persons? A distinction is drawn, however, between armies and mass movements: one promises “salvation;” the other is mainly used to “preserve or expand an established order.”

On self-sacrifice:

  • To ripen a person for self-sacrifice he must stripped of his individual identity and distinctness.

  • The fully assimilated individual does not see himself and others as human beings.

Some of Star Trek’s writers must have been reading Hoffer before creating the Borg.

  • People who live full, worthwhile lives are not usually ready to die for their own interests nor for their country nor for a holy cause.

Here, Hoffer is right, but incompletely so.  Such people are often ready to die rather than live in a world in which others are ready to take their full, worthwhile lives and turn those lives into those of enslavement.

On hatred, the great unifying agent:

  • Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all unifying agents.

  • Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil.

  • Often, when we are wronged by one person, we turn our hatred on a wholly unrelated person or group.

Great and Lesser Satans everywhere, now you know what the jihad thing is about.

The book is fascinating. Read about leadership as a unifying agent in mass movements. It’s not what you might expect.

Uncluttered by high-sounding concepts using high-sounding words, the anatomy and function of mass movements are made plain. You know the types of people that Hoffer observed; at least you do if you’ve been paying attention.

baldilocksJuliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

*******************************************

Olimometer 2.52

It’s Saturday and we’ve still 11 $25 tip jar hits from this weeks goal.

All we have his good writers daily, original reporting and a mortgage that needs paying.

If you think the writing and reporting and the time and effort it takes to produce it is worthwhile please hit DaTipJar below so it can continue.

  Of course if you want to give a gift that will pay all year long consider subscribing.  If 61 of you hit Subscribe at $20 a month subscribers this site will be able to cover its bills for a full year. For that you not only get my work seven days a week but consider the lineup you get for that price, including John Ruberry (Marathon Pundit) and Pat Austin (And so it goes in Shreveport)  on Sunday  Linda Szugyi (No one of any import) on Monday  Tim Imholt on Tuesday,  AP Dillon (Lady Liberty1885) Thursdays, Pastor George Kelly fridays,   Steve Eggleston on Saturdays with  Baldilocks (Tue & Sat)  and   Fausta  (Wed & Fri) of (Fausta Blog) twice a week.

Beanie : $2.00USD – weeklyCap : $10.00USD – monthlyHat : $20.00USD – monthlyFedora : $25.00USD – monthlyGrand Fedora : $100.00USD – monthly

 

Today on Conservatively speaking I interviewed Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard concerning this classic moment from Morning Joe

We had some tech problems replaying it on DaTechGuy on DaRadio so if you missed any part of the interview here it is.

***************************************************************

Olimometer 2.52

The time has come to ditch the weekly goal to focus on the monthly figure, that’s where the real action is at.

In order for this to be a viable full-time business this blog has to take in enough to make the mortgage/tax payment for the house (Currently $1210 monthly) and cover the costs of the writers writing here (another $255)

As of this writing 7 AM EST we need $1278 to meet this goal by April 30th.

That comes out 51 people kicking in $25 over the rest of the month or basically three people a day.

I think the site and the work done here is worth it, if you do too then please consider hitting DaTipJar below .

Naturally once our monthly goal is made these solicitations will disappear till the next month but once we get 61 more subscribers  at $20 a month the goal will be covered for a full year and this pitch will disappear until 2015.

Consider the lineup you get for this price, in addition to my own work seven days a week you get John Ruberry (Marathon Pundit) and Pat Austin (And so it goes in Shreveport)  on Sunday  Linda Szugyi (No one of any import) on Monday  Tim Imholt on Tuesday,  AP Dillon (Lady Liberty1885) Thursdays, Pastor George Kelly fridays,   Steve Eggleston on Saturdays with  Baldilocks (Tue & Sat)  and   Fausta  (Wed & Fri) of (Fausta Blog) twice a week.

If that’s not worth $20 a month I’d like to know what is?

 

 

Truth, even unto its innermost parts

Brandeis University Motto

As you likely know Brandeis University has withdrawn an honorary degree from Ayaan Hirsi Ali and uninvited her to speak at next month’s commencement.

 I’m old enough to remember the days when a Black African  atheist feminist as a recipient for an honorary degree would be a gimme for any liberal university.

Not anymore

I’m old enough to remember when a woman who critiqued a religion that doesn’t allow women to be ministers, that allows a man to divorce a woman by simply say “I divorce you” three times and that counts a woman testimony as half the value of a man’s would be cheered by any liberal faculty.

Not anymore

For Brandeis University those values can’t compete with their fear of offending Islam and the Saudi dollars that fund CAIR.

Now if she had critiqued the Catholic Church in the way she has hit Islam,  the faculty would have carried her to the  commencement day podium on their shoulders but when your convictions involve no risk it’s easy to critique an organization, a religion or an individual.

Ms Ali is not of that sort

Mark Steyn told us the sort she is

She lives under armed guard and was forced to abandon the Netherlands because quite a lot of people want to kill her. And not in the desultory behead-the-enemies-of-Islam you-will-die-infidel pro forma death-threats-R-us way that many of us have perforce gotten used to in recent years: her great friend and professional collaborator was murdered in the streets of Amsterdam by a man who shot him eight times, attempted to decapitate him, and then drove into his chest two knives, pinning to what was left of him a five-page note pledging to do the same to her.

 

Most people would run and hide under such a threat, not Ali

After the threats against the Comedy Central show South Park the other week, Ms. Hirsi Ali turned up on CNN to say that the best defence against Islamic intimidation is for us all to stand together and thereby “share the risk.” But, around the world, every single translator of her books has insisted on total anonymity. When push comes to shove, very few are willing to share the risk.

In London, the historian Andrew Roberts calls her “the bravest woman I know”. I agree. There’s nothing hypothetical about the danger she lives with.

so it’s no surprised that she has nothing but disdain for Brandeis’ cowardice: 

What was initially intended as an honor has now devolved into a moment of shaming. Yet the slur on my reputation is not the worst aspect of this episode. More deplorable is that an institution set up on the basis of religious freedom should today so deeply betray its own founding principles. The “spirit of free expression” referred to in the Brandeis statement has been stifled here, as my critics have achieved their objective of preventing me from addressing the graduating Class of 2014. Neither Brandeis nor my critics knew or even inquired as to what I might say. They simply wanted me to be silenced. I regret that very much.

Some have asked the obvious question:

Who will speak for Morsal, a German Afghani young woman of 16, stabbed twenty-times in a parking lot by her brother? Who will speak for Rasha Abu Arra killed in the West Bank in a so-called “honor killing.” She was a mother of six children and her body was left hanging on a tree. She could not exercise her right to free speech. She could not exercise her right to disagree. She could not exercise her right to freely express. So who will speak for her? Will you speak for her? Or are the petty hurt feelings of dissenting naysayers worth more than her life?

Ah the innocence of youth.  Our friends on the left aren’t interested in who speaks for these ladies, certainly not when those calling for silence are backed by Saudi oil dollars and the physical threats that radical Islam brings.

Rather as Michael Graham notes the left will only learn one thing from this:

If the era of Obama, liberals have embraced their inner fascists. The only lesson they’ll learn from Brandeis’s shameful behavior is that it worked.

The greatest irony of the radicals of the 60’s is this.  They disdained the values of their father and grandfathers, the greatest generation that saved the world from a tyranny that would have engulfed it because they convinced themselves they were better, smarter and more enlightened that the generations that came before them.

Instead given the seats of power that they once protested against, they have proven themselves at best the cowards that their grandparents never were and at worst no better than the totalitarians that they fought.

I suspect the irony is not lost on them and that they will continue to spend the rest of their lives trying to convince themselves it isn’t so.

*******************************************

Olimometer 2.52

It’s Saturday and we’ve still 11 $25 tip jar hits from this weeks goal.

All we have his good writers daily, original reporting and a mortgage that needs paying.

If you think the writing and reporting and the time and effort it takes to produce it is worthwhile please hit DaTipJar below so it can continue.

  Of course if you want to give a gift that will pay all year long consider subscribing.  If 61 of you hit Subscribe at $20 a month subscribers this site will be able to cover its bills for a full year. For that you not only get my work seven days a week but consider the lineup you get for that price, including John Ruberry (Marathon Pundit) and Pat Austin (And so it goes in Shreveport)  on Sunday  Linda Szugyi (No one of any import) on Monday  Tim Imholt on Tuesday,  AP Dillon (Lady Liberty1885) Thursdays, Pastor George Kelly fridays,   Steve Eggleston on Saturdays with  Baldilocks (Tue & Sat)  and   Fausta  (Wed & Fri) of (Fausta Blog) twice a week.