[253] True Believers

[253] True Believers

We will all remember what dud Mueller’s testimony was.  Yet the impeachment movement—though out of the news for the most part–grinds on.  Why?  So a group of evil, pathological Trump-haters can destroy his presidency?  Is that why?

Methinks not.

There are a sizable number of political figures who truly believe that Trump, in fact, colluded with the Russians in their attempt to fix the 2016 election, and he went on to obstruct attempts to uncover his wrongdoing.  They are committed to this belief to a point of near fanaticism.

Social philosopher, Eric Hoffer (1898-1983) became famous for coining the term, true believer.  Hoffer went beyond the first wave of the term—a genuine belief at the individual level—to how those committed to certain beliefs manage to turn them into social movement.  It is in the social movement phase that the commitment of the true believer has force.

The campaign to impeach Trump is—if nothing else—a genuine social movement. It has millions of enthusiasts.  According to Hoffer, in his book, The True Believer, “A [social] movement is pioneered by men of words, materialized by fanatics and consolidated by men of actions.” But there’s more, something that rings true of so much of today’s politics.  Hoffer states that the bandwagon is populated by large numbers of frustrated people, who out of the emptiness of their lives, invest themselves in a movement that will bring radical change. This investment, however, becomes an escape from the self, not a genuine life purpose that fulfills their individual aspirations.  “A mass movement attracts and holds a following not because it can satisfy the desire for self-advancement, but because it can satisfy the passion for self-renunciation,” wrote Hoffer.  The quest for impeachment is one such movement.

Maybe the impeachment adherents are right, and Trump is guilty on all accusations.  But that is not the point here.  The point is that we live in a society filled with purposeless people—people who have no sense of a providential God.  There is emptiness all around.  Issues like impeachment become emotional highs in a life with few points of healthy elation.  All it takes are a few true-believing zealots to strike the ideological match and millions will welcome a movement (pro or anti-Trump) as an opportunity to escape their vapid lives. DC

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