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Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Sowell’

I often wonder, when I hear demands for credentials – where did you go to school, what do you do for a living, etc. – what kind of reception Eric Hoffer, a common laborer and longshoreman, would get from today’s elites on both the left and the right.

Since Mr. Hoffer has gone on to his reward and we only have his written work by which to judge him, credentials matter little. In fact, he is often praised as the “Longshoreman Philosopher.” Good luck getting an organization like the Hoover Institute or Brookings Institute to give anyone else with those kinds of credentials anything resembling a second look today.

Enough of my ranting. The rest of this post belongs to Prof. Thomas Sowell citing the ultimate non-academic thinker Eric Hoffer.

Eric Hoffer never bought the claims of intellectuals to be for the common man. “A ruling intelligentsia,” he said, “whether in Europe, Asia or Africa, treats the masses as raw material to be experimented on, processed and wasted at will.”

One of the many conceits of contemporary intellectuals that Hoffer deflated was their nature cult. “Almost all the books I read spoke worshipfully of nature,” he said, recalling his own personal experience as a migrant farm worker that was full of painful encounters with nature, which urban intellectuals worshipped from afar.

Hoffer saw in this exaltation of nature another aspect of intellectuals’ elitist “distaste for man.” Implicit in much that they say and do is “the assumption that education readies a person for the task of reforming and reshaping humanity — that is equips him to act as an engineer of souls and manufacturer of desirable human attributes.”

Eric Hoffer called it “soul raping” — an apt term for what goes on in too many schools today, where half-educated teachers treat the classroom as a place for them to shape children’s attitudes and beliefs in a politically correct direction.

— Thomas Sowell, “The Legacy of Eric Hoffer

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used-booksConservative book buyers seem to have the attention span of gnat on Ritalin. A radio talk show host’s face on a book’s dustjacket attracts them like bees to pollen. They immediately jump online or rush to a Big Box Bookstore to pick up the latest conservative polemic (and then complain about liberal control of bookstores because they can’t find what they want). Once they’ve had their fill of one title, off they go to gobble up another.

Conservative Publishers, like Regnery, will produce thousands of copies of the latest conservative shot in the punditry wars. More left-leaning Publishing houses (which means almost everyone other than Regnery and Encounter) may be slower in getting titles to market, but one way or another thousands of copies are on bookstore shelves. Eventually, numerous unsold or used copies of these political potboilers end up lingering in remainder and half-price stacks, unread and forgotten. Write a book extolling the virtues of feminized men or do-it-yourself spirituality and, while you may no longer collect royalties on it, you will certainly keep used-book sellers in business. Conservative books … eh, not so much. Are conservaive bookbuyers afraid of used bookstores? (more…)

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