quotations about mobs
What are a handful of reasonable men against a crowd with stones in their hands?
GEORGE ELIOT, Romola
A group is extraordinarily credulous and open to influence, it has no critical faculty, and the improbable does not exist for it. It thinks in images, which call one another up by association (just as they arise with individuals in states of free imagination), and whose agreement with reality is never checked by any reasonable function. The feelings of a group are always very simple and very exaggerated, so that a group knows neither doubt nor uncertainty.
SIGMUND FREUD, Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego
The nose of a mob is its imagination. By this, at any time, it can be quietly led.
EDGAR ALLAN POE, "Marginalia"
A crowd is not the sum of the individuals who compose it. Rather it is a species of animal, without language or real consciousness, born when they gather, dying when they depart.
GENE WOLFE, The Shadow of the Torturer
A mob is usually a creature of very mysterious existence, particularly in a large city. Where it comes from or whither it goes, few men can tell. Assembling and dispersing with equal suddenness, it is as difficult to follow to its various sources as the sea itself; nor does the parallel stop here, for the ocean is not more fickle and uncertain, more terrible when roused, more unreasonable, or more cruel.
CHARLES DICKENS, Barnaby Rudge
The sight of blood to crowds begets the thirst of more,
As the first wine-cup leads to the long revel.
LORD BYRON, Marino Faliero
The sum of the crowd's IQ was far below that of its most modest single member. Mobs have passions, not brains.
DAN SIMMONS, The Fall of Hyperion
There is nothing more odious than the majority; it consists of a few powerful men to lead the way; of accommodating rascals and submissive weaklings; and of a mass of men who trot after them, without in the least knowing their mind.
JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe
Mobs were ugly and vicious but they were also purposeful, congregating around a wound in the populace's psyche like white blood cells around an infection in the body. They were safety valves for frustration and dissatisfaction; they united a population against a real or imagined enemy.
PAUL MCAULEY, The Quiet War
Ten thousand fools, knaves, cowards, lump'd together,
Become all-wise, all-righteous, and all-mighty.
EDWARD YOUNG, The Brothers
The mad mob does not ask how it could be better, only that it be different. And when it then becomes worse, it must change again. Thus they get bees for flies, and at last hornets for bees.
MARTIN LUTHER, Whether Soldiers Can Also Be in a State of Grace
The tyranny of a multitude is a multiplied tyranny.
EDMUND BURKE, A Memoir of the Political Life of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke
The mob shouts with one big mouth and eats with a thousand little ones.
STANISLAW JERZY LEC, Unkempt Thoughts
The only difference between a mob and a trained army is organization.
CALVIN COOLIDGE, attributed, Calvin Coolidge: His Ideals of Citizenship as Revealed Through His Speeches and Writings
Only the mob and the elite can be attracted by the momentum of totalitarianism itself. The masses have to be won by propaganda.
HANNAH ARENDT, The Origins of Totalitarianism
Disruption never helps your cause. It just looks like you're afraid to have rational discussion.
BARNEY FRANK, towh hall meeting, August 18, 2009
It is an easy and a vulgar thing to please the mob, and not a very arduous task to astonish them; but essentially to benefit and to improve them, is a work fraught with difficulty, and teeming with danger.
CHARLES CALEB COLTON, Lacon
Everything bigger than life attracts a crowd.
GUNTER GRASS, My Century
Mankind are a herd of knaves and fools. It is necessary to join the crowd, or get out of their way, in order not to be trampled to death by them.
WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics
All things except reason and order are possible with a mob.
GEORGE ELIOT, Romola