In the mob, individuality wanes as a sense of responsibility fades. Anonymous strength collapses societal restraint and what few will say aloud becomes not only possible, but what must be done. Individuals are swept up in a river on fire; that they spend the rest of their lives wondering what happened and making apologies for it is the history of fools.
This is not new. We have seen the rage of the mob before.
We have seen it in the French Revolution.
We have seen it in Russian pogroms.
We have seen it in Hitler’s Germany.
We have seen it in Lenin’s Russia.
We have seen it in Mao’s China.
We have seen it many places, many times, the same unfailing outcome.
How does this happen?
It happens when people stop thinking and stop listening, when people push away information and refuse to defend their positions, when people chant and shout and lash out, rather than discuss. When emotion becomes the only reason, and when the leader is defended no matter what he says or does, when the world is filled with those who want him removed, when no-one except the believers can be trusted, when there are no principles that restrain or contain. Blind allegiance in any man leads down into the depths of evil.
Is this happening?
Yes. The media is sensationalizing a fallible leader and is making mob violence sexy. That some violence is self-defense is being drowned out in the noise of ratings, sensationalism, new, faster, now! The media coverage makes people think that everyone is fighting, when in fact, few are, and most are doing so in self-defense. The internet makes people brave, and not brave in the service of principles, but brave in the service of their own vitriolic and vicious behavior; they watch, they congregate online ready for a fight, they go to rallies, they act out, they publish, and the news reports; the circle grows tighter, more vile and more violent.
The supporters of the leader feel no personal responsibility. They create lies and act as though they were true. They ruin reputations; they assassinate character. They have published home addresses, issued death threats, and exulted in joy over lies about someone else’s sins.
A mob has no soul, and individuals bleed away responsibility and individuality as they become part of a vortex of hate. Peer pressure is centrifugal force, exiling those who leave. You are on the rollercoaster ride now, child, and there is no getting off until the end.
They cheer when they think Cruz has had five mistresses, despite logic, despite his history, despite his character. They believe lies, they hate, and so they wish to destroy. No untruth is too perverse; no action too extreme; no boundary can be honored. All for the leader, and nothing outside the leader! They must win even if they reign over destruction; they will kill friend and foe alike, for a mob has no soul and those who participate in it become soulless.