Think For Yourself

Discussion in 'Education' started by Flanders, Aug 23, 2012.

  1. Flanders
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    Flanders ARCHCONSERVATIVE

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    Aram Bakshian, Jr. made my day. It’s always a treat for me when I come across someone praising Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983). Having read and greatly admired Eric Hoffer since before he appeared in:

    it’s especially satisfying to see Hoffer reaching America’s young thinkers in Tom Bethell’s book.

    Eric Hoffer’s insights are unsurpassed among twentieth century philosophers and political thinkers. Years ago these two resonated with me because of my view of the MSM’s role in society and socialism’s True Believers:


    The Ultimate Self-Made Man
    By Aram Bakshian, Jr. from the July - Aug 2012 issue

    Eric Hoffer: The Longshoreman Philosopher
    By Tom Bethell
    (Hoover Institution Press, 304 PAGES, $29.95)

    The American Spectator : The Ultimate Self-Made Man

    This excerpt comes from a message I posted on another board back in 2006:

    Newspeak, media bias, and omission, are the tools propagandists use to help people deceive themselves. Basically, thinking for yourself is the only way to defeat propagandists and totalitarians of every stripe. In the quotation following my signature Hoffer offers advice that requires physical courage and the intelligence needed to defeat collectivism in general; specifically socialism in today’s America.

    Finally, Eric Hoffer’s books are important in what they say, but the greatest gift in his writing is teaching individuals how to think for themselves. That is the exact opposite of the education industry’s goal. Bottom line: There would have been no Eric Hoffer had he attended public schools.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2012
  2. blimpo
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    blimpo Active Member

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    Didn't you own a field somewhere?
     
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  3. MikeK
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    MikeK Gold Member

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    Eric Hoffer was a indeed a prolific writer, which in itself is no cause for celebrity. There are many prolific writers. What made Hoffer stand out is the fact that he earned his living as a longshoreman, which imparted a romantic tone to his socio-political offerings.

    I've read a few of Hoffer's books. I agree with some of his observations but for the most part I believe him to be highly overrated. In my opinion had he been a college professor rather than a longshoreman he would have remained as obscure as are many other good and prolific writers.

    One outstanding example of what I believe to be Hoffer's mediocrity as a political observer was his persistent approval of America's intervention in Vietnam. He believed our defeat in that wasteful and unnecessary military debacle would result in the rapid emergence of totalitarian influence in our government. We were defeated. That was forty years ago and we are still a democracy.

    So much for the "Longshoreman Philosopher."
     
  4. Flanders
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    Flanders ARCHCONSERVATIVE

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    To MikeK: If nothing else the phrase “True Believer” and the fanatics Hoffer identified for all-time belies your opinion.

    To MikeK: Fighting communism is never wasteful or unnecessary. The Far East, and the world, would be a better place today had American Communists not brought defeat to their own country. Their are two ways for young Americans to understand Vietnam:

    1. Vietnam was one battle in the Cold War. Defeat in Vietnam was, and is, the crowning achievement for those old Communists still living; many won elections on the strength of their anti-war position. John Kerry, Joe Biden, and Bill Clinton for instance.

    NOTE: Anti-war demonstration organizers were hardcore Communists, while sign-carriers were fools who will demonstrate at the drop of a hat so long as they are told their cause is morally superior to whatever it is they march against.

    Victory in the Cold War was especially sweet because it not only saw the Soviet Union defeated, it wiped the smiles off the faces of the American Left.

    (Bill Clinton devoted his administrations to saving communism’s worldwide infrastructure after the Soviet Union imploded; so he was too preoccupied to see 9-11-2001 coming.)

    2. Ask any one of the old Communists still in government this question: Do you oppose the Korean War in hindsight?

    If they answer “Yes” they show that fighting communism is what they oppose.

    If they answer “No.” ask them why not since both wars were fought for the same reason?

    To really understand Korea and Vietnam you have to look to the United Nations. Korea was a United Nations “police action.” Communists could not very well oppose the Battle of Korea without opposing the United Nations.

    The United Nations did not approve of Vietnam; hence, American Communists were free to openly support communism under the guise of stopping an unjust war. Put the two battles in perspective this way; had the United Nations not sanctioned Korea American Communists would have done the same thing they did in Vietnam.

    Had the United Nations approved of Vietnam there would have been no demonstrations.

    And have you noticed the top Democrats who vehemently opposed the wear in Iraq after Bush suckered them? They were for the war when they thought Bush was going to put the UN in charge. They turned against the war when Bush acted unilaterally. Notice how silent they are about Afghanistan because that one is UN-approved.

    Incidentally, Truman went into Korea with UN approval because the Soviet Union missed a Security Council meeting —— the first and only time that ever happened.


    To MikeK: It might not be as rapid as Hoffer thought. One look at where this country is at today proves he was right on the money. It is happening and the pace is accelerating à la Hussein & Company.

    To MikeK: Just to set the record straight. The American military never lost a battle in Vietnam. The defeat was a political defeat engineered by “Loyal Americans.”

    To MikeK: You’re talking to the wrong guy if you think democracy is a good thing.

    Democracy is a mass movement embracing all of the evils Eric Hoffer laid out in The True Believer. America’s founders had no use for it either.

    Aside from parasites whose self-worth is determined by the amount of tax dollars they acquire, democracy has more than its share of true believers. They are legion in today’s world. Eric Hoffer could have been talking about democracy’s collectivist True Believers in the following two observations:


     
  5. MikeK
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    MikeK Gold Member

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    As stated, I do agree with some of Hoffer's observations, many of which seem to be influenced by de Montaigne. But overall his thinking was clearly influenced by the rigidly conservative social attitudes of the fifties and the prevailing anti-Soviet/communist propaganda of that era, which probably was imbedded by his immigrant parents.
     
  6. MikeK
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    MikeK Gold Member

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    America's armed intervention in Vietnam was a shamefully wasteful mistake. We had no business sending our troops there to kill and die. If you are a Vietnam veteran I clearly understand the reasoning behind your rationalized notions about the "communist threat." But unfortunately you were misused. Your sacrifice was totally unnecessary and counterproductive.

    The fact is the Vietnam "containment" was a complete and utter failure. Our troops did a lot of killing and dying there, all of which was pointless. The ending was absolutely shameful. The communists ultimately prevailed and it hasn't affected the average American in the least. The essence of the tragedy is we obviously didn't learn a thing from the debacle.

    As regards your continued fascination with the specter of communism, it's not the communists we need to worry about -- it is the laissez faire capitalists who are incrementally laying waste to the American middle class. And if the Progressive movement doesn't manage to bring them under control we are headed for another Gilded Age in which there will be rich and poor with nothing in between but a militant management class.
     
  7. blimpo
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    blimpo Active Member

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    Think For Yourself-

    George Harrison from "Rubber Soul"
     

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