Mobs and their common behaviors

Ann Coulter touches nerves and a review of her book Demonic by Ray Hartwell shows why. The book uses observations of mob behavior by “Frenchman Gustave Le Bon, in his book “The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind.” And while she is seldom given to understatement, Ms. Coulter’s conclusions are supported by extensive citation of the behavior she critiques.” It is the scholarship with a sharp tongue that drives Coulter’s critics nuts – so much so that studying their behavior often provides a case study in denial.

The review notes several characteristics of mob behavior identified by Le Bon.

“the “primitive” emotions of a crowd slip easily into “infatuation for an individual.”” … “mobs also “consider as enemies all by whom [their dogmas] are not accepted.”” … “members of a mob are “perfectly capable of holding completely contradictory ideas at the same time,” because they steadfastly refuse to engage in critical analysis of the positions they espouse.” … “a mob will believe its own myths even though they “most often have only a very distant relation with the observed fact.”” …

Coulter not only uses examples from modern political behavior to illustrate these characteristics, she also uses a comparison and contrast between the American and French revolutions to underscore the differences. The Wall Street Mobs noted in the previous post provide yet another example. They aren’t too sure about exactly what they want to do so they choose a target and try to tear it down. In contrast is the TEA party which has a very clear goal in mind and seeks to build consensus and change towards their goals. There is a difference.

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