Eric Hoffer - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Hoffer
edit: tentatively typing him into "Democratic" quadra, as ESE or LIE
(1902 – 1983) was an American moral and social philosopher. His first book, The True Believer, published in 1951, was widely recognized as a classic, receiving critical acclaim from both scholars and laymen, although Hoffer believed that his book The Ordeal of Change was his finest work.
Hoffer was influenced by his modest roots and working-class surroundings, seeing in it vast human potential. In a letter to Margaret Anderson in 1941, he wrote: "My writing is done in railroad yards while waiting for a freight, in the fields while waiting for a truck, and at noon after lunch. Towns are too distracting." He once remarked, "my writing grows out of my life just as a branch from a tree." When called an intellectual, he insisted that he was a longshoreman. Hoffer has been dubbed by some authors as a "longshoreman philosopher".
Hoffer believed that self-esteem was of central importance to psychological well-being. He focused on what he viewed as the consequences of a lack of self-esteem. Concerned about the rise of totalitarian governments, especially those of Adolf ****** and Joseph Stalin, he tried to find the roots of these "madhouses" in human psychology. He postulated that fanaticism and self-righteousness are rooted in self-hatred, self-doubt, and insecurity. In The True Believer (1951) he claimed that a passionate obsession with the outside world or the private lives of others was an attempt to compensate for a lack of meaning in one's own life. The book discusses religious and political mass movements, and extensive discussions of Islam and Christianity. A core principle in the book is Hoffer's assertion that mass movements are interchangeable: fanatical Nazis became fanatical Communists, fanatical Communists became fanatical anti-Communists, and Saul, persecutor of Christians, became Paul, a fanatical Christian. For the "true believer", substance is less important than being part of a movement.
"Disappointment is a sort of bankruptcy - the bankruptcy of a soul that expends too much in hope and expectation."
"We lie the loudest when we lie to ourselves."
"People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them."
"It is the individual only who is timeless. Societies, cultures, and civilizations -- past and present -- are often incomprehensible to outsiders, but the individual's hungers, anxieties, dreams, and preoccupations have remained unchanged through the millenia."
"It has often been said that power corrupts. But it is perhaps equally important to realize that weakness, too, corrupts. Power corrupts the few, while weakness corrupts the many."
"Absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power."
"Man staggers through life yapped at by his reason, pulled and shoved by his appetites, whispered to by fears, beckoned by hopes. Small wonder that what he craves most is self-forgetting."
"It is startling to realize how much unbelief is necessary to make belief possible."
"The weakness of a soul is proportionate to the number of truths that must be kept from it."
"Nonconformists travel as a rule in bunches. You rarely find a nonconformist who goes it alone. And woe to him inside a nonconformist clique who does not conform with nonconformity."
"You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you."
"It is the pull of opposite poles that stretches souls. And only stretched souls make music."
"To a man utterly without a sense of belonging, mere life is all that matters. It is the only reality in an eternity of nothingness, and he clings to it with shameless despair."
"There is apparently some connection between dissatisfaction with oneself and a proneness to credulity. The urge to escape our real self is also an urge to escape the rational and the obvious. The refusal to see ourselves as we are develops a distaste for facts and cold logic. There is no hope for the frustrated in the actual and the possible. Salvation can come to them only from the miraculous, which seeps through a crack in the iron wall of inexorable reality. They ask to be deceived. What Stresemann said of the Germans is true of the frustrated in general: "They pray not only for their daily bread, but also for their daily illusion." The rule seems to be that those who find no difficulty deceiving themselves are easily deceived by others. They are easily persuaded and led."