My father got me hooked on the work of Eric Hoffer when I was in high school in the late 1960’s, starting with his most famous book, The True Believer. And I came upon the work of Jamie Glazov thanks to the kind invitation of David Swindle, associate editor of FrontPage magazine and assistant managing editor of NewsReal Blog. David asked me if I wanted to comment on his post in support of Phyllis Chesler and Jamie Glazov, which he wrote after Naomi Wolf threw a blogospheric fit over the punksmacking that Dr. Chesler administered unto her on Aug. 31, “The Burqa: the Ultimate Feminist Choice?,” which did not take and had to be repeated on Sept. 2, “Wolf Demands an Apology, Chesler Won’t Back Down,” AND on Sept. 3, “Chesler-Wolf-Glazov: Round Three.” I was one of the first bloggers to jump into the fray in support of Dr. Chesler with my post, “Phyllis Chesler punksmacks Naomi Wolf — couldn’t happen to a nicer girl,” and Jamie Glazov was not far behind with his post, “Why Naomi Wolf loves the burqa.” (In addition, my dear friend Little Miss Attila had pointed remarks for Wolf here and here.)
Since “Jamie” can be either a male or female name, I wanted to find a photo and the Wikipedia biography of Jamie Glazov before responding to David’s generous invitation. What a wonderful revelation to find him! If you truly want to understand the psychological foundation of totalitarian movements, read Eric Hoffer’s books, starting with The True Believer. (In contrast, Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism is more like a taxonomy of totalitarianism: he tracks who, what and where, but not much why, and the work of Eric Hoffer, which ought to have been his North Star, is not a cloud on his horizon let alone a star in his sky — the magnitude of the omission is stupefying.) After listening to the videos below, I have the sense that Dr. Glazov is a true intellectual heir of Eric Hoffer in his understanding of the Left, especially with his explanation of how the fall of Communism created a vacuum for the Left that they are now filling with their embrace of Islam. I have been mystified about that — I think he explains it perfectly.
As I listened to him I realized that I bring to conservatism tools that have a proven ability to support the individual’s ability to realize his or her full potential and simultaneously reduce indicators of negativity throughout a population without imposing any precepts or behaviors on everyone in it. And I felt really, truly called to start writing more about it. Well, it was nice being thought of as rational and sane while it lasted. Sigh. But I’ll tell you this for sure — it’s definitely not crazier than the belief that you can kill hate by shooting it or appease your way to peace.
I highly recommend listening to Dr. Glazov in the following two videos from May 2009: