"It is maintained that a society is free only when dissenting minorities have room to throw their weight around. As a matter of fact, a dissenting minority feels free only when it can impose its will on the majority: what it abominates most is the dissent of the majority."
Eric Hoffer
(1902-1983) American author, philosopher, awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom
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Reader comments about this quote:
Case in point, look what the gay rights movement to those who disagree with them.
 -- Anonymous, Elk Grove, CA     
  • 6
    "It is maintained (by whom ? ? ?) that a society is free only when dissenting minorities have room to throw their weight around" I don't believe they feel free, they feel tyrannically empowered. In a society of individual sovereigns, where natural law's implementation is - that all are equal before the law, is where true freedom can be felt.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 3
    Right on!

     -- bruski, naples FL     
  • 4
    This quote is a real thought provoker. Mike is right to ask (by whom ? ? ?) but it might not be referring to a who. Hoffer's first sentence may be stating a hypothetical definition of freedom. He then states that minorities tend to go beyond that definition. I think he is not taking sides in the matter. He's observing a tendency in society. And Elk Grove brought up an excellent example. The minority of gays has changed an attitude in the whole country. I don't see that it is a problematical change though. Most of that change was done without government coercing anyone. Contrast that with the use of government attempting to force a change in the attitude of restaurant owners serving blacks. I see no problem in groups (minorities) gathering together for a change in the hearts and minds. What I think is dangerous is implementing the monopoly on the use of threat of violence (the definition of the state) to make the change.
     -- Walter Clark, Fullerton CA     
  • 6 1
    Malignant process in perception of freedom, induced by socialism. Pacifying dissent. Operation is observed. Cohabitation with certain subcultures is very problematic. Considering if , gays left on an island, to themselves, eventually die out, for lack of perpetuation. Therefore, they, needing the protection of a socialistic state, to prey upon, and convert to the malignant mind set, children. And that seems to be an issue with the largest Denomination on the planet. Old World ways, We as a People came to get away from !
     -- Ron w13, Or     
  • 4
    I don't believe that Hoffer is offering his support of 'pushy' minorities, but he does bring the point home. Too often, minorities expect to dictate to majorities, and too often 'leveling the playing field' has meant fixing the game so that unskilled and unknowledgeable people are given positions of authority and influence merely because they would never get those positions on their merits alone.

    The individual is the ultimate minority -- he/she is not to be given special treatment for merely being one rather than a group, but his/her rights are no less than the rights of 10 of them put together. The rights of all are to be honored and protected, but none are to be granted privileges simply because of minority status.

    Credit should be given where credit is due -- unearned credit as a 'right' is a disease that rears its ugly head in so many of society's ills. Being man or woman, black or white, gay or straight, rich or poor says nothing of character and ability in and of itself. In a free society, people are rewarded according to their merits -- so be it.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 7
    Would be nice if they put the bills out over the internet and let us vote directly on them rather than our so called representatives.
     -- My Infocal, Lewisville, TX     
  • 4
    Interesting Tex.
     -- Ron w13, Or     
  • 4
    So with socialism's ills and minorities given privileged status, perpetuates the demoralizing of our nation.
     -- Ron w13, Or     
  • 6
    I don't think government should be involved in social issues at all. Or rather, Lady Liberty having a blindfold, it shouldn't matter what color, sex, religion, etc. Each of us earns rights by being a good American.
     -- BR King, Ogden     
  • 1
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