Saturday Essay header picture




November 11, 2017

The return of mob rule

IN the words of Ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes, ‘the mob is the mother of tyrants’ and anyone who has ever witnessed the terrifying frenzy of a mobilised mob will know that he spoke the truth. Mobs operate outside the law and according to no accepted values. They are dangerous, destructive and diabolical in the way they treat their targets. When unleashed, the mob is a monster that can cause mayhem and murder. And how easy it is to whip one up: simply choose a scapegoat and blame that person or group for the ills of society. The Nazis did it with the Jews and it led to nothing less than the Final Solution. This is what journalist Hugh Greene, of the Daily Telegraph, wrote after witnessing the events of Kristallnacht – that infamous night in November 1938, when the Nazis unleashed their wave of terror against German Jews: ‘Mob law ruled in Berlin throughout the afternoon and evening and hordes of hooligans indulged in an orgy of destruction. I have seen several anti-Jewish outbreaks in Germany during the last five years, but never anything as nauseating as this. Racial hatred and hysteria seemed to have taken complete hold of otherwise decent people. I saw fashionably dressed women clapping their hands and screaming with glee, while respectable middle-class mothers held up their babies to see the “fun”.’ The so-called ‘fun’ was Jewish shop windows being smashed to smithereens. It was the sight of once-respectable Jewish citizens being kicked, punched and lynched by their former neighbours and ‘friends’. It was the mob, foaming and raging with fanatical fury. Such is the essence of the mob mentality: ordinary decent people losing all sense of right and wrong, striking at the scapegoat as though possessed…Read more