. . . baby boomers and alienated intellectuals.
"SCRATCH AN INTELLECTUAL, and you find a would-be aristocrat who loathes the sight, the sound and the smell of common folk."
Eric Hoffer, as . . .
. . . quoted by Reuven Brenner in "The 'Longshoreman Philosopher' Saw Trump Coming in 1970," wsj.com, February 26, 2017, source of the text below:
Those words might have been written last year, as an explanation for Donald Trump's rise or a rejoinder to Hillary Clinton's denunciation of "deplorables."
In fact they were published [in The New York Times, no less,] in November 1970 and written by Eric Hoffer, the "longshoreman philosopher," who was best known for his slender 1951 classic, "The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements." The 1970 essay, under the headline, "Whose Country is America?," eerily anticipated not only the political events of 2016 but the tone and language of last year's campaign and the anti-Trump hysteria since Election Day.
Hoffer started his analysis with "the conspicuousness of the young" -- that is, the baby boomers. "They have become more flamboyant, more demanding, more violent, more knowledgeable and more experienced," he wrote. "The general impression is that nowadays the young act like the spoiled children of the rich."
He attributed those developments to the "ordeal of affluence," which threatened social stability. Wealth without work "creates a climate of disintegrating values with its fallout of anarchy."
Among the poor this takes the form of street crime; among the affluent, of "insolence on the campus" -- both "sick forms of adolescent self-assertion." As a result, "'men of words' and charismatic leaders -- people who deal in magic -- come into their own," while the middle class, lacking magic, is bungling the job" of maintaining social order.
The "phenomenal increase of the student population" -- enrollment in colleges and universities would more than triple between 1958 and 1978 -- created a critical mass: "For the first time in America, there is a chance that alienated intellectuals, who see our way of life as an instrument of debasement and dehumanization, might shape a new generation in their own image."
The problem for society is "that the alienated intellectual does not want to be left along," Hoffer wrote. "He wants to influence affairs, have a hand in making history, and feel important." The country continued to be plagued by problems "like race relations, violence, drugs, etc."
Common people, however, "know that at present money cannot cure crime, poverty, etc., whereas the social doctors go on prescribing an injection of so many billions for every social ailment."
No other historian, political scientist or journalist of the past 60 years has predicted the current moment with such accuracy. Behind Hoffer's analysis is a view of history that dates to ancient Greece . . . . It's a warning that affluence condemns young generations to political decline unless institutional checks and balances, combined with education for civic responsibility, are rigorously preserved.
. . . .
Hoffer concluded, "We must deflate the pretensions of self-appointed elites. These elites will hate us no matter what we do, and it is legitimate for us to help dump them into the dustbin of history." . . .
Deflating the pretensions of self-appointed elites is what Unca D does when he pricks the gassy soap bubbles that drift from the editorial board of The Houston Chronicle.
But it matters little what I write: The editors are perfectly capable of dumping themselves into the dustbin of history.
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How much do would-be aristocrats on the left despise common folk? Ask candidate Clinton about the basket of deplorables.
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Unca D rarely write these days. Or, as today, copies out good stuff that you should read.
Sorry about that. Can't be helped. In the hourly competition for time, family, photography, and Jesus Christ always come first.