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Mob mentality

February 8, 2012
Morning Journal News


Gustave Le Bon, a French physician, scientist and social psychologist in his book "The Crowd" writes of the human mind, and has painted a disturbing picture of the behavior of mobs. Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini used his book to learn how to excite a mob.

Even the left wing Guardian has admitted Le Bon's study of crowd behavior "is possibly the most influential work of psychology ever written."

The French Revolution was a graphic and bloody example of where mob violence can lead. Thousands were beheaded, most for no reason at all. Just a nod from a neighbor to the wrong person could cause a trip to the guillotine. If there were a trial it was a mockery of justice with crowds always screaming for blood.

We can turn our attention to the Middle East for current examples of mob and mob reaction. People thirsting for legitimate changes in their government take to the streets, peacefully to send their message, but as time passes with no response from their government, patience begins to wear thin and violence begins to occur, minor at first, then it escalates into bloodshed and property damage.

Le Bon writes, "The demon is a mob and the mob is demonic. The mob cannot be controlled from within. A mob is an irrational childlike often violent organism that derives its energy from the group with the promise of instant gratification."

Since the beginning of civilization groups have used the mob as a medium to communicate.

Two years ago when Glenn Beck said it would be happening here he was scoffed and laughed at. We can call them occupiers, disenchanted, progressives or dub them any other political correct title, but the group on Wall Street and elsewhere in the country had the ingredients of mobs.

Large groups may congregate and remain orderly. An example, when nearly a million people assembled at the Lincoln Memorial two years ago, not only did everyone behave, but they left the grounds just as they found them, clean.

It would seem that liberals and those at the far left are attracted to mobs.

Leon White




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