A Salute to Eric Hoffer and Gordon Duff – On Original Ideas



Three Rare Eric Hoffer Video Clips Appear on YouTube with Shades of Gordon in Them


by  Jim W. Dean,   VT Editor

[ Editors Update Note:  This is an earlier piece from back when we were experimenting with multi-media templates…and now a VT classic.  These Eric Hoffer rare videos were a lucky find at the time. We will try to dig out some of our old VT ‘best ofs’ for our newer viewers, and also for those who just want to watch them again, like me.
There was a time when the term melting pot did not have the mass immigration propaganda spin purpose that it does now, part of someone’s future political domination strategy. It use to have an individual connotation to it, born out of the ‘no spin’ story of a place where people could come and make it, versus a place where they had almost no chance at all.

Eric Hoffer is also a story of the loner, but one with a laser focus for sharing ‘a few good sentences’ from time to time with the rest of humanity. It was a humble goal, and he went well over the mark by leaving us an impressive body of work.

I just finished opening my first delivery of Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic and Iron Age tools…touching such objects for the first time. To hold in my hands the artistry of an early tool maker, and things used in the daily lives of early humans was quite a treat. Each of them is a message in a bottle that has landed here at my house for their temporary stay until my estate sale, and their continued journey.
Hoffer has left us some tools, mental ones, to also use in our daily lives. And his also, I believe will be around for a long long time. Fortunately they can be shared by more than one of us at a time. ]


The Common Man’s Uncommon Philosopher

Eric Hoffer was the self educated longshoreman philosopher who came to fame with his first published book in 1951, The True Believer on the psychology of mass movements.
The book was instantly deemed a classic by scholars and laymen for a term you don’t see anymore in book reviews ‘original ideas’.
The public as also captivated by how a self educated man like this, with no classes, teachers, examinations or diplomas…nothing but his local library, could produce a work like this.
Hoffer also had a love hate relationship afterwards with academia and intellectuals.
On the one hand they provided him forums based on the acceptance of his books, but on the other he excoriated them about about their scholarship on ‘the common man’, ie:

“How dare you write books about us, you know nothing about us, nothing!”

This was usually delivered while pounding the podium hard enough shake the building, and screaming at the audience. Hence, I began to see shades of our resident wordsmith, Gordon Duff in Eric Hoffer, their boomerang contempt that they share about elites over their contempt for common Americans as a more advance plantation animal that the usual kind.
Eric Hoffer quote material is all over the Internet. He was the master of the tight script, and his focus on ‘original thinking’ made him an enemy of book fluff.

Eric Hoffer – Delivering a Few Good Lines

There is a beautiful exchange in one of these clips below where Hoffer describes how a publisher was asking him if he could add more pages to a thin book manuscript he had submitted.
Hoffer wrote back that “the book had six chapters, each chapter had at least one original idea, and two good sentences…and that if he could read a 1000 page book that had six original ideas and twelve good sentences he would be ecstatic!”
I put this videos onto the end of one of Andrew Adler apology article this week, the Atlanta Jewish Times editor who suggested that the Mossad might consider killing Obama so Joe Biden could carry through the attack on Iran and save Israel.
Adler, of course had been sheep dipped in the Talmudism regarding ‘Goyim exist to serve Jews’, something all the Jewish orgs denouncing him for the bad publicity he got left out of his motivation.

Although Hoffer, a non practicing Jew, was pro Israel before he died, he had never seen any of the declassified Intel which showed the whole founding story of Israel to be a big fairy tale.

When I first discovered Hoffer some ten to twelve years ago and got my inexpensive used copy of The True Believer, I had looked for any audio or video on him so I could use it in a TV show as I assumed he had to have been quite a character in person. Nothing was to be found for sale, only of list of a few productions he had done.

The Book that Launched Eric Hoffer

But as I often try to do with hard to find material I checked back on YouTube and bingo…up popped three clips from an Eric Sevareid interview.
This was uploaded from an old VHS tape so the quality is not wonderful, but seeing the man it action was treat which I wanted to share with you all today.
The Hoover Institute has all of his archives, including a full ten part video series. My call there revealed that they do not make copies or digitize anything for Internet access or wider distribution due to copyright issues, but did give me contact numbers to forward a request.
My goal of course was to try to get a better quality digital copy and make Hoffer more accessible here.
But copyright holders that their own views about the diffusion of knowledge. If something has just been collecting dust they can have the attitude of ‘oh what the hell, let’s just put it out there.’ Or, they may want to hang on to is as part of their film library corporate assets.
Enjoy these three clips while we still have them.
You will see some of our own Gordon Duff in this Hoffer interview, the iconoclast, the defender of the common man from elite snobs.
Gordon never mentions all of his degrees…Electrical Engineering, two masters in history plus a Phd., all of his security clearances, or the fact that he is a Mensa with a photographic memory which comes in hand with his VT work.

They both devoured books. Gordon has 10,000 in his house, more than he has guns, which is saying something.

Hoffer in the Los Angeles Library

There are used Hoffer books galore on the Net, and do start with True Believer. It is in the ‘you must know this stuff’ category, especially if you are or have been sucked into a mass movement which you may have thought was of your own choosing.
For Gordon’s material, just click onto his archive page to browse his 2000 articles from the 20,000 VT has.
Like Gordon does here with our readers, trying to get them to start thinking a more like counter Intel people, Eric Hoffer was doing something similar with his breakthrough True Believer, helping people to ‘see it coming’ when a propaganda schmooze was being put on them. There is a lot of that going around today.
And another key thing they share is their love of America. You will see Hoffer just beaming when he gets into this.

One of the ‘original idea’ bombs that Hoffer is going to drop on you here is ‘The only new thing in history is America.’

Hoffer in the City Hall pulpit – Catch the two expressions with their hands and arms crossed

You will also see Hoffer beaming when discussing the ‘diffusion of knowledge’ among the common man.
His story about the several truck loads of men who get dumped on the side of a mountain to begin a logging operation from scratch with no supervisors. is a gem. Everyone, despite their all being strangers, just naturally knew what needed to be done and had a camp built in a day.
‘We could have built America’, says Hoffer, bursting with pride as you see him re-experience the pride he felt working with them
We are proud and grateful for Eric Hoffer, Gordon, our staff here, and our readers.
Our VT material can be a challenge because we don’t serve mild toast. And yes, we are trying to do something original here because at the end of the day that is all people are remembered for.
We will remember Eric Hoffer, the man who worked double shifts on the docks on weekends, 16 hour days at time and a half pay, just so he could read, study and write during the week. He forged himself into an original man. Maybe some of it can rub off on us.
These clips are about ten minute each and are all just fabulous. You get the Jim Dean guarantee on your time here.


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Eric Hoffer gets to have a lemonade with  LBJ


Published Works:

1951 The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature Of Mass Movements ISBN 0-06-050591-5
1955 The Passionate State of Mind, and Other Aphorisms ISBN 1-933435-09-7
1963 The Ordeal of Change ISBN 1-933435-10-0
1967 The Temper of Our Time
1969 Working and Thinking on the Waterfront: A Journal, June 1958 to May 1959
1971 First Things, Last Things
1973 Reflections on the Human Condition ISBN 1-933435-14-3
1976 In Our Time
1979 Before the Sabbath
1982 Between the Devil and the Dragon: The Best Essays and Aphorisms of Eric Hoffer ISBN 0-06-014984-1
1983 Truth Imagined ISBN 1-933435-01-1



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Jim W. Dean was an active editor on VT from 2010-2022.  He was involved in operations, development, and writing, plus an active schedule of TV and radio interviews.