Tink I have of course known of Eric Hoffer, but the Goodreads quotes are splendid and I signed up for another of his books as our library does not have this one. Something about a dragon?
I am becoming quite concerned about the ability of us common folk to carry on a successful democracy...based on what Weinstein has encountered, and these are college students???
It seems I recall that the US founding fathers actually envisioned a continuation of the guiding hands of people grounded in the Enlightenment values, for the US government...and only with the presidency of Andrew Jackson (whatever his other blind spots) did the principle of self-government by the masses truly take hold.
I don't think that (i.e., government by enlightened aristocracy) will work...and I have even watched a Frederick the Great bio twice, pondering enlightened monarchy - fascinating, but it has only worked well a few times in history, it's not replicable.
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All I am really confident of, at the moment, is that THIS form of government/economic system we now have is unacceptable, even though it's apparently humankind's best effort so far...btw, have you ever encountered the idea that Stalin had a mental illness? I see on the Internet now, numerous discussions of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, NPD, and one link did "diagnose" him with that...