Tuesday, February 23, 2016

US Presidential Elections 2016 (and True Believers Forming Up to March)

      If I had to justify the oxygen and other resources I've used the last 73-and-a-bit years on Earth, I suspect my best argument would be that I worked as a teacher for forty years and pretty regularly during those forty years taught Eric Hoffer's 1951 book, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements.

      Now, in one of the more twisted ironies of US politics, Hoffer in the 1960s went on to become, possibly, something of a True Believer on his own, and certainly the in-house intellectual and lapdog for Lyndon Johnson for Johnson's part of US warfare in Vietnam — which is unfortunate primarily because too many Americans turn against literary and artistic works when it turns out that their creators are or have become bad (or horrible) people.

      Hoffer died in 1983, so you can be sure he's not getting any royalties on The True Believer, and it's often available on line as pdf's where it's fairly safe that his estate isn't making money either. So if you haven't read the book and have the skills and time to read blogs, stop reading my stuff and order it now (or download it at no financial cost). The True Believer offers a history and analysis of fanaticism, including a kind of checklist for how in many places on Earth we've been setting up the conditions for the sort of mass-movement fanaticism that resulted in the horrors Europe saw in the 16th- and 17th-century Wars of Religion, including the disastrous Thirty Years War of the 17th century (1618-1648) and larger portions of the planet saw in the 20th century from the followers of Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, and, a bit later, Mao.

      We have the potential for another round of violent conflicts among various Parties of God and/or truly exceptional nations, but this time in a world a-brimming with nukes.

      As of the end of February 2016, we have in the United States of America a candidate for President calling upon America to wake up and see how we've degenerated and follow him to a renewal of our greatness. For readers of my age and background, think of that as "Amerika Erwache!" Elect Donald John Trump as President and he will "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN".

      How? Wrong question. With the right leader, a leader who embodies the will of the nation, that leader will lead us to triumph over those keeping the nation down and lead us on to the greatness we had and will have again. Or lead some of us anyway: the true, natural-born Americans.

     We've seen this movie before in the Trump Leader-Principle version and in the religious versions of his main opponents. For a program of the show, so to speak, see Hoffer, The True Believer (1951), and don't say you weren't warned.

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