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Showing posts from November 8, 2017

Collective Causes and Freedom 05/21/2015 Gary Galles May 21 marks the 1983 death of Eric Hoffer, the “longshoreman philosopher.” He was best known for his 1951 book  The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements , which brilliantly analyzed movements that played prominent roles in world events during his lifetime. He identified the allure of a larger, and therefore seemingly ennobling, collective cause, and the coercive power that goes with it, to those who are frustrated or disappointed, in “a flight from the self” to compensate for an absence of meaning in their own lives. Today, the world faces a resurgence of similar movements. But Hoffer’s wisdom seems to have died with him. It is worth remembering his lessons to understand how such movements sacrifice freedom for an equality of dependence, which in turn, leads to coercion, tyranny, corruption and failure. Freedom: The aspiration toward freedom is the most essentially human of all human m