"I doubt if the oppressed ever fight for freedom.
They fight for pride and for power -- power to oppress others.
The oppressed want above all to imitate their oppressors;
they want to retaliate."
by:
Eric Hoffer
(1902-1983) American author, philosopher, awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom
Source:
quoted in Eric Hoffer: An American Odyssey (Calvin Tompkins), 1968
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Eric Hoffer clearly understood the meaning of freedom and he nailed it in this quote. People will spend their lifetime tied to the chains of power and revenge rather than unshackle and set their selves free.
 -- Robert, Los Angeles     
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    What powerful thought.
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
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     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US      
    Golly gee! Would not suggest that some of these "liberation movements" for the oppressed might actually have a desire for power at their base goal rather than equality or freedom... Reston, you would probably be able to answer this better than most anyone...would this also apply to those who so fervently support those movements in spite of their obvious lopsidedness and oppression of others?
     -- Michael , Houston, TX     
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    I hardly think that a inconvertible case can be made for this idea. The history of movements in favor of social justice are filled with honorable examples of people who were sincerely working to remove the weitght of oppression from the powerless as their real goal. There was not the other insidious hidden agenda, implied by Hoffer here, of turning the tables and doing the same to their oppressors. America itself is an experiment in which we have moved towards greater social tolerance and not just a reversal of fortunes in which the jailor becomes the prisoner.
     -- EGL, LA     
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    EGL ever remains optimistic of 'good intentions'. History, however, shows that those with good intentions are 'used' by those with other intents. With regard to Hoffer's comment, we see too often the formerly oppressed now oppressing others for the same petty reasons. Whether the division be religious, racial, or nationalistic, it is usually not long that the newly freed quickly begin oppressing others as they had been. I will leave it to the readers to identify which groups are included... just look at any battle-fatigued location domestic or international. Hypocrisy is a common trait among the collective.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    The quote says it is the oppressed who will ultimately oppress their oppressors--not that the people who use the oppressed for their own self interest do not intend to do so. One inherent problem with many quotes, and people's general interpretation of them, is that they are expressed in the absolute, and nothing is ever all of one thing or its opposite. There are so many expampels of good intentions, good intentions gone bad, good intentions mainipulated by others and perverted...but yes, I also look at the good side of things in my analysis of this failed experiment we continue to call civilization.
     -- EGL, LA     
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    I doubt that Hoffer was ever oppressed.
     -- David L Rosenthal     
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    I almost wrote that such a narrow and unrealistic comment seems to reveal the less profound aspect of Hoffer's thinking. But then I noted that Hoffer wrote, not that the oppressed never fight for freedom, but that Hoffer doubted whether the oppressed did so. He is doubting, not declaring a fact. In fact, the oppressed often fight for freedom. .
     -- David L Rosenthal     
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    Never underestimate the allure of controlling ones fellow human beings, especially for revenge. It is human nature to want to control and manipulate everything around us to our own advantage. It takes a strong will and mind to overcome human nature. Unfortunately, most "freedom fighters" are not that strong and eventually succumb to their darker natures.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
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     -- Anonymous      
     -- Anonymous      
    Every relationship that at some point was oppressor-oppressed is condemned to be like that forever. It's just the roles that can change. That kind of wounds never heal; at last, it's the best idea to become an oppressor than to be oppressed.
     -- OEL, CA     
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    The body politic of today is a good example of the quote. On the left - Antifa, Black Lives Matter, etc. continue to exaggerate status of oppression (past and present) to spur on and inspire oppression of their fabricated foes. On the other side of the political isle, those oppressed by the police state rely upon bigger and bigger forms of oppression over those who would dare to desire individual sovereignty.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Any who are simply effects of the cause of their oppressors are virtually certain, having acceded to power, to become oppressors themselves.

    It is Virtue that makes the defining difference.

    True freedom fighters are animated not by an animus born desire to wreak vengeance but by principle founded virtuous conviction.
    A contention the validity of which is revealed in the fundamental differences that existed between the animating spirit of tha American Revolution and those of the French and Bolshevik Revolutions.
     -- Patrick Henry, Red Hill     
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