Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Eisenhower to Petraeus

Fifty five years ago, an American general who had won his war and was running for President, had some advice that Gen. David Petraeus and his Commander-in-Chief should take to heart today. “Fanaticism,” Eisenhower said, quoting the philosopher George Santayana, “consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.”

After election, Eisenhower gave his Cabinet members copies of “The True Believer” by Eric Hoffer, then a best-seller.

“We have perhaps a natural fear of ends,” Hoffer wrote. “We would rather be always on the way than arrive. Given the means, we hang on to them and often forget the ends.”

Before Hoffer died, Ronald Reagan gave him the Medal of Freedom. Today’s Republicans and those who serve them may want to take another look at what their party icons of the past century admired so much.

2 comments:

jfreeland said...

A memorable quote from Hoffer:

"There's no such thing as an empty head. It's full of garbage."

Llyonnoc of the Woods said...

Excellent post. I have to go to my bookshelf and get out Hoffer's book which I have not read in years.