The pathology of a mob

What are the most lethal predators we face? Not the lion, great white shark and tiger — the scary ones are the ones we cannot see.

Disease infects silently and we cannot see it or fight it. We have to trust our immune systems and hope for the best.

The most lethal diseases are the ones that use our own defenses against us. Cancer; Alzheimer’s; AIDS. They subvert us from within.

In the same way, all civilizations face a process called Crowdism by which they are turned against themselves. Crowdism is always fatal; or at least, it converts prosperous, free societies into disorganized kleptocratic ones.

The basic principle of Crowdism is that the selfishness of the individual, in demanding that as few restrictions as possible be placed upon them, causes them to bond together with others and demand this right for all.

The people drawn to this type of activity are those who are dissatisfied and feel out of step with social standards. They are not extreme political ideologues, but rather extreme personal activists: they want no oversight of what they do and for society to continue to tolerate them despite their deviation from its values or the values of its majority.

They demand total “equality” and total “freedom” so that no matter how much they fail, they are accepted and others are obligated to take care of them, provide them services and eventually, provide them sustenance. Whether they’re useful in any capacity or not is beside the point, because we’re not talking in the cold cause/effect logic of getting things done here. We’re talking morality.

Crowdists work by assimilation because their demands are open-ended. This is the strength of the Crowd: it is not an individual demanding subsidized unlimited freedom, but a Crowd of people demanding it for everyone. This kind of passive-aggressive ploy makes it difficult to counterattack, because then they respond with, “Well why don’t you want ‘freedom’ for everyone?”

Their definition of freedom is flawed because it, too, is open-ended. Freedom from what? From everything. From anyone who knows better.

Their assimilation proceeds because like any other mob, they wander around looking for people who don’t agree. They then challenge these people and when said people don’t agree with their demands, the mob claims it is the victim, and attacks viciously.

With this process Crowdists destroy dissenters in layers, starting with the most committed to opposition, and moving outward toward those who simply do not fully agree with the Crowd.

Although all liberal movements are Crowdist, not all Crowdists are liberals. Crowdism can infest any society, any group, and any religion or philosophy. As soon as one person starts pandering to the open-ended abyss of what people want to think and want to hear, instead of what is realistic, Crowdism takes over and assimilates or destroys everyone involved.

Lies that Crowdists tell:

  • There is no objective standard or reality. No one can tell us what is right, what is moral, or what we share as a group. In fact, destroy all groups.
  • We are free to do whatever we want with our own bodies and in our own homes. They ignore the fact that these actions have consequences.
  • Anyone who opposes us does it out of a personal desire to control us. This is pure passive-aggression: the “only” reason someone could object is personal and bad, they tell us.
  • Since we are all equal, if anyone has more they got it by evil means. This is what psychologists call “compensation” or “cognitive dissonance”: if a disparity exists, it must be unfair on a moral level.

Of course, to anyone who thinks on these topics for more than twenty seconds, the above are clearly logical fallacies.

  • The judgment “there is no objective reality or objective standards” is in itself is an objective standard.
  • All actions, even personal ones, have consequences; they just may not be visible immediately. If you start a swinger’s club, sexual morality in your community starts to erode. If you preach communism, others convert. If you take drugs, you are inattentive. They believe that the world owes them a total subsidy such that they are not responsible for interacting with it. They just close the front door and since they can’t see it, it’s not there. They cannot see the future consequences of their actions, so those must not exist either.
  • They assume that any demand always has the same origin, which is mathematically impossible. I may put out a fire by accident, or to save a child, or because I’m warm. Even worse, they insist that such things are “personal,” which is psychological projection because since their own jihad is about personal un-accountability, they assume others are doing the same.
  • They assume rather than prove equality not just of political representation, but of ability. This is social logic, or how you make friends, by treating them as if everyone has the same abilities. In reality, that’s not the case and not acknowledging it means you put people in situations they are not prepared for.

We like to think that we enlightened monkeys take a look at life, think really hard, and then come up with an ideology to match.

The converse is true. We do what we want, then invent some voodoo word salad to justify it.

For this reason, it is important to carefully analyze the implications of human behaviors more than the ideologies behind them as worded.

In a mob, no individual stands out, so the group can make a demand without fear of reprisal. They feel united against anyone who is not in the mob, and know that if that person fights back, the mob will crush them.

Any person who has power will avoid a mob. They have other means of getting done what they need getting done. If there is something objectionable, they change it by building something better that naturally subverts the bad thing. They worry less about the little things in life and focus more on the big picture.

Mobs by the fact of their existence are ready for something to set them off. They don’t care how important it is. They are united by a negative philosophy, which is that if they’re all equal, and yet they’re not succeeding as well as others, there must be a Satan somewhere that’s oppressing them. As a result, mobs go in search of enemies, not solutions.

It is an ever-opening battlefield: the demand for everything to be assimilated into that which is convenient for the low self-esteem individual. And this is what bonds them together. They are underconfident about their abilities, their place in life, or even their ability to socialize. So they join with others who are having a tough time, and together they agree that it’s not their fault and they deserve more. Strength of numbers does the rest.

They fool most people by advancing simple but baffling concepts: all choices are personal (consequences outside the individual don’t exist). Objective reality and standards don’t exist. There is no purpose to life or any particular society. We’re all the same inside and deserve the same things.

But these ideas form a cancer which destroys society from within. When everyone is equal, no one strives. When we cannot criticize bad behavior even if it’s personal, bad behavior becomes the norm. When we pander to pleasant illusions and not reality, our society becomes delusional. When we give up on the idea of purpose, adaptation to objective reality, or a consensus of shared values, our society falls apart.

They hide behind whatever pretense they can find and tell us we are the ignorant ones for insisting the world exists and has consistent rules, and that our ancestors figured those rules out and built a great society out of them. They hate the idea that any one person can be smarter or more disciplined than another, so in place of intelligence, wisdom and discipline they substitute “working hard” or spending more time in offices.

It is hard to assault the passive-aggressive unless you invert their attack. Practice saying “It is impossible to say that there is no such thing as objective truth without in so doing presupposing objective criteria for the application of terms.”

Practice pointing out that if we have equality, we have entropy, because there’s no point in striving for anything but personal gratification. And how many videogames can you play, porns can you watch, bongs can you smoke, sluts can you poke, etc. before you zone out from boredom? We as individuals are not as fascinating as we’d like to think.

Also remind them that they are the ultimate in shallowness. With equality comes no distinction between people but the shallow: how you dress, what memes you repeat, what you own and your position in a social group. These things have zero importance in reality except that other humans react to them, in an increasing cycle the more Crowdism gains hold.

Do you ever wonder why our world is awash in hipsters, salesmen, actors, prostitutes and vagrants, but it’s hard to find an honest person? Our political system disincentivizes honesty and using cause/effect logic to find solutions to problems.

Above I said that all liberals are Crowdists, but not all Crowdists are liberals. The difference in mentality between liberal and conservative underlies the distinction between Crowdism and that which came before it.

Originally, of course, politics was just discussion of issues. There were not two sides because it was assumed that everyone worked within the system. With the rise of liberalism and the revolution in France, we got the left/right divide.

  • The left thinks in terms of the impact of any action on the individual, and therefore values equality, social/moral pressures over financial or military ones, and demanding that exceptions define the rule.
  • The right thinks in terms of the impact of any action on society as an organic whole, and therefore thinks of it in a biological metaphor, in terms of consequences, overall health, discipline and organizing principle intact.

A few insights into this division:

In a new study, UNL researchers measured both liberals’ and conservatives’ reaction to “gaze cues” — a person’s tendency to shift attention in a direction consistent with another person’s eye movements, even if it’s irrelevant to their current task — and found big differences between the two groups.

Liberals responded strongly to the prompts, consistently moving their attention in the direction suggested to them by a face on a computer screen. Conservatives, on the other hand, did not. – Science Daily

Conservatives respond to nature, an organic whole, a collective, an abstract purpose or system of law.

Liberals respond to social cues and their effect on the individual.

This is why we say that Conservatism isn’t an ideology so much as an aggregate; it is a collection of ideas that have been time-proven through history.

Liberalism, on the other hand, is an ideology because it has one central concept (equality/freedom) around which every other aspect of liberal thought is organized.

“Political conservatives envision a world without God in which baser human impulses go unchecked, social institutions (marriage, government, family) fall apart and chaos ensues,” says McAdams. Liberals, on the other hand, envision a world without God as barren, lifeless, devoid of color and reasons to live.

“Liberals see their faith as something that fills them up and, without it, they conjure up metaphors of emptiness, depletion and scarcity,” McAdams said. “While conservatives worry about societal collapse, liberals worry about a world without deep feelings and intense experiences.” – Science Daily

Liberals worry about personal experience, or feelings, emotions, perceptions and appearance. They are not worried about consequences.

Conservatives worry about us getting deluded inside our big heads and therefore paying too much attention to the shallow surface, thus causing future consequences that break the design of our society or our selves.

When you see an expert destroy a fourteen story building with just two pounds of explosives by putting those explosives in key structural load-bearing points, you can see why the conservative fears are justified.

Haidt argues that human morality is a cultural construction built on top of — and constrained by — a small set of evolved psychological systems. He presents evidence that political liberals rely primarily on two of these systems, involving emotional sensitivities to harm and fairness. Conservatives, however, construct their moral understandings on those two systems plus three others, which involve emotional sensitivities to in-group boundaries, authority and spiritual purity. “We all start off with the same evolved moral capacities,” says Haidt, “but then we each learn only a subset of the available human virtues and values. We often end up demonizing people with different political ideologies because of our inability to appreciate the moral motives operating on the other side of a conflict.” – Science Daily

Liberals are worried about personal harm and personal fairness.

Conservatives interpret harm and fairness in the organic sense of the whole, which also requires sensitivity to allegiance to consensus (in-group boundaries), structure (authority) and design (spiritual purity, also an analogue for philosophical unity)

We can show how history split in 1789, with one side staying true to what was known, and the other side launching themselves into the shallow ideology of Crowdism by which they demand feelings, appearances, pandering and illusions for each individual but demand also to ignore consequences to the whole (and by extension, future individuals).

  • Traditionalism: decentralization of power yet centralization of role around a series of ongoing ideals and observations about what functionally adapts to reality in human life, thus keeping an abstract consensus without needing a centralized power structure.
  • Liberalism: decentralization through lack of consensus, attention to appearance and social/moral factors while ignoring consequences not yet seen, and maintaining strong control by making social disorder so profound that the only salvation is to have strong allies among those who have already become socially successful.

One concept the citizens of democracies haven’t awakened to yet: for any kind of actual freedom, you need a functional society, and that requires trampling on some individual rights to keep the social order from breaking.

Another: equality of ability is a myth. But the greatest equality may be that each person has a position which fits their abilities, so they are never made to feel insufficient by tackling things that are beyond them or below them.

Yet another: if we focus on appearance, and ignore consequences, we create a downward spiral. Focus on appearance makes us delusional; it also makes us fear consequence-based logic, like conservatives use. So we demonize it. That leaves us with no solution except more appearance-based logic, and we demand more and more of it as it kills us.

Like a cancer, this illogic slowly assimilates our good cells and replaces them with zombie cells that know nothing but their own need, and so they eat recklessly, eating away the structure of the civilization until all turns equally into wreckage.

13 Comments

  1. [...] Brett Stevens – “The Problem of Tolerance“, ““Naming the Jew” and Why You Won’t See it Here“, “The Pathology of a Mob” [...]

  2. burqa says:

    Hey Brett, Into Oblivion gave you a nod in the acknowledgements in their new album!

    You should check it out!

    (Im not from the band LOL)

  3. Laglil says:

    This post reminds me of how human beings being naturally social creatures, today, for the most part live in self induced anti-social environments. That contrast is obviously what causes so much trauma in many modern societies.

  4. odin says:

    While I don’t disagree on certain of your specifics, the length to which you go to lay them out suggests you haven’t fully thought it through. This piece reads like an interior monologue, not the distilled essence of matured thought.

    But it is clear that bipolar thinking restricts the evolution of mature, complex, human responses to existing problems. You are definitely afflicted by that in this essay. So busy to prove that liberals are wrong and conservatives are right, you miss the bigger point: corporate entities (disembodied legal fictions constructed by texts) have been pushing for mobocracy since the invention of agriculture, when people were herded into cities and turned into hive dwellers.

    This didn’t all come about in the modern era. Humans developed agriculture as a desperate attempt to cope with their ecological overshoot. The history of agriculture, and everything built on it, has been one kludge after another to extend this model. It has eroded the human soul and turned “society” into a laughable concept, mostly romantic, and largely dysfunctional, regardless of which pole of the bipolar disorder of two-party politics has held the reins of power.

    I personally am not a “naturally social creature.” I’d far rather spend my time with trees and bears than most humans, who have been warped by “societies” and politics and religion into grotesque chimeras. I’m sick of being forced to pander to Mediterranean religions of the ancient world, and Near Eastern ones. I’m sick of conservatives telling me that my only option as an American is to do that pandering–like Christmas, that syncretism of Egyptian, Mithraic, Jewish, and Catholic myths. Resist that in the name of older beliefs, and you’re suddenly having a War On Christmas.

    THAT is what conservatism has wrought. It has imported these foreign beliefs into nations where we didn’t want them then, and aren’t allowed to want them now. At least liberals leave some room for heathenism, shamanism, paganism, agnosticism, atheism, and environmental/nature worship!

  5. Edniv says:

    Wonderful post! I could not have said it better myself. Mind if I link your site to my blog? If you wanna visit it, just click my name.

  6. crow says:

    Odin if you know it all, what are you doing here, with us lesser mortals?
    Bears and deer are great social friends. Don’t forget deer-mice and raccoons.
    But being forced, as so many of us are, to endure humans, we are all a bit mystified by the hocus pocus.
    Thus Brett has a place and a function.
    He does a damn fine job too.
    You may be smug in your uber knowledge, but many are angry and not a little confused.
    If you’re so smart, then share it. Not to make yourself look good: but to help expand the general awareness.

  7. abc says:

    Haha, and even the statement “The judgment “there is no objective reality or objective standards” is in itself an objective standard.” requires an objective standard. And even my statement now requires one again.
    Conclusion: You can’t find any words for reality when requiring objectivity. And now again, haha, I require objectivity, so I keep my mouth now.

  8. Southern Hemispere Dweller says:

    “The right thinks in terms of the impact of any action on society as an organic whole, and therefore thinks of it in a biological metaphor, in terms of consequences, overall health, discipline and organizing principle intact.”

    It has been said that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. This should be borne in mind by anyone inclined toward uncritical endorsement of conservatism in modern societies (granted, you have specified ‘organic whole’, and from what you’ve written it is apparent that you do not consider modern Western society to be thus).

    But, for the benefit of anyone tempted to infer invalid conclusions from this article, I elaborate:

    A conservatism that matches the quoted description, but that is blind to the desiccated character of our society, could easily make the mistake of uncritically endorsing this society. A certain discernment of what needs to be conserved is necessary. In the absence of this, I prefer the defense of the individual from society, rather than the opposite – let not the few good men who still walk be drawn into a society that is not for them.

    The paradox is apparent when you consider that this society has itself actively created the ‘Crowdism’ that erodes it by various means of systematic indoctrination – had individuals been preserved from this, there would perhaps have been a lack of cohesion, but at least there would be no widespread cohesion around a rotten axis.

  9. [...] to protect your family, and what the work of your hands has produced, from the creeping tide of Crowdism. Why don’t they stick around? A good question [...]

  10. [...] of equal parts liberal anarchism and commercial fascism, this type of civilization uses “freedom” and “equality”to create a society without standards, values or [...]

  11. [...] tax holiday extension without the Keystone Pipeline. It is the harsh contradiction between the Amerika of Barack Obama, and the America that all good, worthy Conservatives pledge allegiance to. Sponsored Content [...]

  12. [...] tax holiday extension without the Keystone Pipeline. It is the harsh contradiction between the Amerika of Barack Obama, and the America that all good, worthy Conservatives pledge allegiance to. Share and [...]

  13. [...] gets his ideas from whatever the crowd wants. He is what Brett Stevens of America.org describes as a Crowdist. Whatever the mob demands, Mitt Romney seeks to make the demands of the mob, no matter how inchoate [...]

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