Mob is a word which can designate any large gathering of people, including flash mobs intent on amusing displays of coordinated activity, but often refers to mobbing behavior in which people "gang up", to intimidate, bully or oppress others without regard to their human rights or dignity. Some organized criminal gangs are often referred to as "the Mob."
Groupthink · Herd mentality · Masses · Ochlocracy ·
== Quotes ==
At the United Nations, a lynch mob for Israel is always just a moment away.
Elliott Abrams, in "Joining the Jackals" in Weekly Standard (2 June 2010)Nec audiendi qui solent dicere, vox populi, vox Dei, quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima sit.
And those people should not be listened to who keep saying the voice of the people is the voice of God, since the riotousness of the crowd is always very close to madness.
Variant translation: We should not listen to those who like to affirm that the voice of the people is the voice of God, for the tumult of the masses is truly close to madness.
Alcuin, Works, Epistle 127 (to Charlemagne, AD 800)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, in Totalitarianism: Part Three of The Origins of Totalitarianism (1968), p. 63But steel bars have never yet kept out a mob; it takes something a good deal stronger: human courage backed up by the consciousness of being right.
Ray Stannard Baker in McClure's Magazine, Volume 24 (1905), p. 426TV in America created the most coherent reality distortion field that I’ve ever seen. Therein is the problem: People who vote watch TV, and they are hallucinating like a sonofabitch. Basically, what we have in this country is government by hallucinating mob.
John Perry Barlow, interviewed in "John Perry Barlow 2.0" by Brian Doherty at ReasonOnline (August 2004)The aggressive use of wiretaps is important: It shows that we are targeting white-collar insider-trading rings with the same powerful investigative tools that have worked so successfully against the mob and drug cartels.
Preet Bharara, in "Once Reserved For Drug Crimes, Wiretapping Takes Center Stage in White Collar Prosecutions" by Jordan Miglich, in Forbes (21 May 2013)ZEUS, n. The chief of Grecian gods, adored by the Romans as Jupiter and by the modern Americans as God, Gold, Mob and Dog. Some explorers who have touched upon the shores of America, and one who professes to have penetrated a considerable distance into the interior, have though that these four names stand for as many distinct deities, but in his monumental work on Surviving Faiths, Frumpp insists that the natives are monotheists each having no other god than himself, whom he worships under many sacred names.
Ambrose Bierce, in Ambrose Bierce: The Devil's Dictionary, Tales, & Memoirs, Library of America #219 (2012), p. 539In countries with a properly functioning legal system, the mob continues to exist, but it is rarely called upon to mete out capital punishment. The right to take human life belongs to the state. Not so in societies where weak courts and poor law enforcement are combined with intractable structural injustices.
Teju Cole, in "Perplexed … Perplexed': On Mob Justice in Nigeria" in The Atlantic (24 October 2012)The history of persecution is a history of endeavours to cheat nature, to make water run up hill, to twist a rope of sand. It makes no difference whether the actors be many or one, a tyrant or a mob. A mob is a society of bodies voluntarily bereaving themselves of reason, and traversing its work. The mob is man voluntarily descending to the nature of the beast. Its fit hour of activity is night. Its actions are insane like its whole constitution. It persecutes a principle; it would whip a right; it would tar and feather justice, by inflicting fire and outrage upon the houses and persons of those who have these.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, in "Compensation" in Essays: First Series (1841)National armies fight nations, royal armies fight their like, the first obey a mob, always demented and the second a king, generally sane.
J. F. C. Fuller in The Costs of War: America's Pyrrhic Victories (1999) by John V. Denson, p. 488Our country, if you read the 'Federalist Papers,' is about disagreement. It's about pitting faction against faction, divided government, checks and balances. The hero in American political tradition is the man who stands up to the mob — not the mob itself.
Jonah Goldberg in: NPR Staff Do Liberals Live Under A 'Tyranny Of Cliches'?, npr.org (2 May 2012)The thing that's really cool for me about Miami Beach is you have this dichotomy between sunlight and family and happiness and innocence and then at night, darker, stranger mob conspiracy stuff sort of comes out. It seems like a storytelling engine. You can just keep writing about how those two worlds smash into each other.
Mitch Glazer in: Creative Minds: Mitch Glazer talks 'Magic City' and 1950s Miami, The Los Angeles Times (30 March 2012)Religion is the idol of the mob; it adores everything it does not understand.
Frederick the Great in “Letter to Voltaire” quoted in: John H. George Be Reasonable: Selected Quotations for Inquiring Minds (1994), Prometheus Books, p. 165The mob shouts with one big mouth and eats with a thousand little ones.
Stanisław Jerzy Lec, in Unkempt Thoughts (1957) I honor the man who is willing to sinkHalf his present repute for the freedom to think,And, when he has thought, be his cause strong or weak,Will risk t'other half for the freedom to speak, Caring naught for what vengeance the mob has in store, Let that mob be the upper ten thousand or lower.
James Russell Lowell, in "A Fable for Critics" (1848), Part V - Cooper, st. 3A hungry mob is an angry mob.
Bob Marley, in Them Belly Full (But We Hungry), from the album Natty Dread (1974)Once spirit was God, then it became man, and now it is even becoming mob.
Friedrich Nietzsche, in Nietzschean Narratives (1989) by Gary Shapiro, p. 50Before abstraction everything is one, but one like chaos; after abstraction everything is united again, but this union is a free binding of autonomous, self-determined beings. Out of a mob a society has developed, chaos has been transformed into a manifold world.
Novalis Blüthenstaub (1798), Fragment No. 95And what do Democrats stand for, if they are so ready to defame concerned citizens as the 'mob' — a word betraying a Marie Antoinette delusion of superiority to ordinary mortals. I thought my party was populist, attentive to the needs and wishes of those outside the power structure. And as a product of the 1960s, I thought the Democratic party was passionately committed to freedom of thought and speech.
Camille Paglia, in "Camille Paglia: Pelosi Needs to Go!" in neveryetmelted.com (12 August 2009)Passion is the mob of the man, that commits a riot upon his reason.
William Penn, in Quotes about Passion, Quotations Book, p. 9When I met Elvis, we didn't really have a conversation. I was introduced by my uncle, and he sort of grunted my way. What stays with me is the whole scene. I had never seen a real mob scene before. I was really young and impressionable. Elvis really did look - he looked sort of not real, as if he were glowing.
Tom Petty, in Esquire: The Magazine for Men, Volume 146, (2006), p. 135The nose of a mob is its imagination. By this, at any time, it can be quietly led.
Edgar Allan Poe, in Southern Literary Messenger, Volume 15 (1849), p. 336Cultivate solitude and quiet and a few sincere friends, rather than mob merriment, noise and thousands of nodding acquaintances.
William Powell, quoted in Reverends Steve and Bev L.U.S.T.!!! (2011), p. 41Rights are not a matter of numbers - and there can be no such thing, in law or in morality, as actions forbidden to an individual, but permitted to a mob.
Ayn Rand, in The Return of the Primitive: The Anti-Industrial Revolution (1999), p. 30Every time the Mob puts the pressure on a good man, tries to stop him from doing his duty as a citizen, it's a crucifixion. And anybody who sits around and lets it happen, keeps silent about something he knows that happened, shares the guilt of it just as much as the Roman soldier who pierced the flesh of our Lord to see if he was dead...Boys, this is my church! And if you don't think Christ is down here on the waterfront, you've got another guess coming!
Budd Schulberg, in On the Waterfront (1954)Our country's national crime is lynching. It is not the creature of an hour, the sudden outburst of uncontrolled fury, or the unspeakable brutality of an insane mob. It represents the cool calculating deliberation of an intelligent people who openly avow that there is an “unwritten law” that justifies them in putting to death without complain under oath, without trial by jury , without opportunity to make defence, without right of appeal
Ida B. Wells, in Crime and Punishment in America (2010) by David B. Wolcott and Tom Head, p. 144The mob spirit has grown with the increasing intelligence of the Afro-American.
Ida B. Wells, in African American Classics in Criminology and Criminal Justice: Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in all its Phases (2002) by Shaun L Gabbidon, et al., p. 32The alleged menace of universal suffrage having been avoided by the absolute suppression of the negro vote, the spirit of mob murder should have been satisfied and the butchery of negroes should have ceased.
Ida B. Wells, in John Clark Ridpath,et al.,The Arena, Volume 23 Lynch Law in America (1900), p. 17The nineteenth century lynching mob cuts off ears, toes, and fingers, strips off flesh, and distributes portions of the body as souvenirs among the crowd.
Ida B. Wells, in Words of Fire: An Anthology of African-American Feminist Thought (1995) by Beverly Guy-Sheftall, p. 73There is no logical reason why the camel of great art should pass through the needle of mob intelligence.
Rebecca West, in Mary Biggs Women's Words: The Columbia Book of Quotations by Women (1996), p. 152There is no necessity to separate the monarch from the mob; all authority is equally bad.
Oscar Wilde, in The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde: The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde : Volume IV: Criticism: Historical Criticism, Intentions, The Soul of Man (2007), edited by Josephine M. Guy, p. 261We have been entertained with a great variety of phrases, to avoid calling this sort of people a mob. Some call them shavers, some call them geniuses. The plain English is, gentlemen, most probably a motley rabble of saucy boys, negroes and mulattoes, Irish teagues and outlandish jack tars.
John Adams, 1771, from speech as defense attorney for the Boston Massacre defendants.
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