U.S. Intellectual History Blog

Quotes From History: Guess The Author

Here’s the quote: “The leader of genius must have the ability to make different opponents appear as if they belong to one category.”

Ah, the ideologue’s dream—get the crowd to believe that everyone else is a socialist, communist, racist, pro-abortion, etc.

Who provided us with quintessential utterance? Try to guess the author without Wikipedia or Google. I’ll provide the answer this afternoon. – TL

7 Thoughts on this Post

  1. The answer to this type of question is almost always Adolf Hiter. So that’s my guess.

    OK, it might also be Goebbels, but the point would be the same.

  2. Actually, though, I’m confused as to Tim’s point. The quote says that the goal is to make everyone look like they’re in one category, but you named four. Has anyone ever successfully claimed that racists and socialists, for example, are more-or-less interchangeable names for the same group of people?

  3. Mike,

    First things first, nice profile picture! I need to find a suitable profile pic.

    The categories should be read individually with regard to the quote. Probably the best example is abortion: you’re either with us or against us. Having observed Catholic “dialogue” about the issue for years, to many on the right you’re either “pro-abort” or not—no in-between. To me, that’s ideological thinking in a nutshell.

    – TL

  4. I was amused to find in the NY Times a rant against a staid group of black and white middle-class types having dinner together in 1908. It was evidently the end of civilization as we know it. The amusing part was that the end of civilization came through two things– intermarriage (mostly accepted nowadays) and socialism (still an ideological bugaboo of the type mentioned here). Socialism seems to be the type of category that a whole lot of opponents can be lumped together under.

  5. I had always found the Republicans rather contradictory this way: they were experts at divide-and-conquer politics, but always sought to lump their enemies together into monolithic threats. It wasn’t until I read up on fascism that I finally understood the strategy.

    What got me was the attempt to transfer this domestic political agenda overseas, lumping Iraq with Iran and North Korea into an “axis of evil.” Could there be three stranger bedfellows? For the purposes of the PNACers, it made perfect sense. But the rest of the world wasn’t buying it, and still hasn’t.

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