A peck of short essays setting forth Hoffer's recurrent concerns about--primarily--the decline of authority and the will to work. One way or another, ""the most urgent need of an affluent society is a new source of discipline."" Which may arise from the providential conjunction of the energy crisis with ""the widespread inclination toward a simpler and more frugal life."" For, as the past hundred years demonstrate, social decline is not irreversible. Spotted here and there are more pointed thoughts (e.g., on the Soviet Far East as a new frontier) as well as many that merely dig in their heels (on the idiocies of intellectuals, the excesses of minorities). But ultimately reaction to Hoffer will depend on whether one is stirred by the example of the Chicano principal fighting to paint his hilltop school red, white, and blue--or more inclined to give him a boot.