"Grubby Little Socialists"

I thought this anonymous comment on my post on NZ communism was so damn good I’d post it in its entirety, so no reader would miss it. I think it sums up the inner workings of hard core socialists very well.


The Eric Hoffer quoted was a US writer, a self-educated longshoreman who came to fame in the 1950’s with the publication of his first book, The True Believer. A caustic analysis of the nature of mass movements and those who are driven to join them, The True Believer did what no other book of the mid-twentieth century could: it helped expose the hidden causes of the tumultuous events that nearly destroyed our world at that time.

“Political philosopher Eric Hoffer wrote a landmark book entitled: “The True Believer: Thoughts On the Nature of Mass Movements.”

Among Hoffer’s insights was that mass movements are an outlet for people whose individual significance is miniscule in the eyes of the world and — more important — in their own eyes. He pointed out that the both the Nazi and Communist movements were peopled by men and women whose artistic and intellectual aspirations were wholly frustrated.

Hoffer said: “The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause.”

People who are fulfilled in their own lives and careers are rarely attracted to mass movements: “A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding,” Hoffer said. “When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people’s business.”

Hoffer was describing the political busybody, the zealot for a cause — the “true believer,” who filled the ranks of ideological movements that created the totalitarian tyrannies of the 20th century.

Contrary to the prevailing assumptions of his time, Eric Hoffer did not believe that revolutionary movements were based on the sufferings of the downtrodden. “Where people toil from sunrise to sunset for a bare living, they nurse no grievances and dream no dreams,” he said. Hoffer had spent years living among such people and being one of them.

Hoffer’s insights also help explain something that many of us have found very puzzling — the offspring of wealthy families spending their lives and inherited money backing radical movements. He said: “Unlimited opportunities can be as potent a cause of frustration as a paucity or lack of opportunities.”

What can people with inherited fortunes do that matches their unlimited opportunities, much less what their parents or grandparents did to create the fortune in the first place, starting from far fewer opportunities?

Like the frustrated artists and failed intellectuals who turn to mass movements for fulfillment, rich heirs cannot win the game of comparison of individual achievements. So they must change the game. As zealots for radical movements, they often attack the very things that made their own good fortune possible, as well as undermining the freedom and well-being of other people.

Why does free market capitalism and its underlying Classical Liberal world view so exercise its ideological opponents? One answer might be to look at the kinds of countries these people defend and idolise.

For many years, the Soviet Union was such a country. After too many bitter facts about the Soviet Union came to light over the years to permit its rosy image to continue, many of these low-watt bulbs simply shifted their allegiance or sympathies to other collectivist states, such as China, Cuba, Vietnam or Albania.

As Hoffer said, “Intellectuals are unable to function at room temperature.”

It made not a dent on these leftist moonbats that people were fleeing the countries they praised, often at the risk of their lives, to try to reach the countries they were condemning — especially the USA.

What’s wrong with free market capitalism in the eyes of leftist intellectuals? The same things that are right with free market capitalism in the eyes of others.

If one word rings out and echoes around the world when capitalism is mentioned, that word is Freedom. But what does freedom mean?

It means that hundreds of millions of ordinary human beings live their lives as they see fit — regardless of what their betters think. That’s fine, unless you see yourself as one of their betters, which is what leftist intellectuals tend to do.

The more the Classical Liberal vision of individual freedom prevails, the more the vision of the anointed fails. The more ordinary people spend the money their own money as they see fit, the less is available to the state as taxes to spend on “the common good” as determined by the anointed.

The more people raising their children according to their own values, the less room for the collectivist notion that “it takes a village to raise a child” as Hillary Clinton once said. What about those who don’t want their children raised by a village?

When capitalism frees ordinary people from the domination of their betters and prevents them for being used as guinea pigs for the vision of the anointed, the more it insults the presumptions that enable the anointed to think of themselves as special, as one-up on the rest of us.

Countries that impose a collectivist vision from the top down will get a free pass on anything, while any country that lets individuals go their own way will not even be forgiven its successes, much less its shortcomings.

We should celebrate every day the freedom that we enjoy. Every day we should also remember that this independence is galling to those who want us to be dependent on them. Make sure we rub their noses in it at every opportunity.

At the end of the day, they’re all grubby little socialists.”

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2 thoughts on “"Grubby Little Socialists"

  1. So basically Trevor you’re saying these hardliners are not too dissimilar from run-of-the-mill lefties. i.e Their actions and beliefs are motivated purely by jealousy and the need to massage their own egos ?

  2. I don’t like to generalise too much ’76, but I do think all socialists do have common pschological characteristics.

    Its the degree that differs.

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