by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Revolutionary elites who push utopias are always a small minority. In order to get all of society on board, they must enlist mobs to promote the illusion of compliance with their visions. Mobs enforce the narrative, often through violence. They help censor any competing views through intimidation and various forms of book burning. …
… The common denominator of such revolutions past, present, and future is the weaponization of loneliness. All its features pit people against one another. All were at work in various ways in past revolutions of modern history. And all result in our further atomization, our further separation from one another.
The most critical features are the forces of identity politics, political correctness, and mobs. Identity politics is clearly meant to divide us into hostile groups, such as oppressor and victim, based on race or sex or any other demographic grouping. Political correctness induces us to self-censor, which means we drive ourselves into further isolation by limiting our exchanges with others to avoid the risk of social rejection. Mobs then serve as agitation forces that push propaganda into action. They intimidate others into silence and compliance and finally can cause any agenda—no matter how fringy—to become policy.
Another way to think about the machinery is as a combustion engine that can’t operate without ignited fuel. The fuel is our conformity impulse, and the spark is our fear. Without them, the machinery of loneliness simply can’t operate. So if we cannot shake off our conformity impulse and fear of isolation, we will remain self-silenced, isolated, and obedient to the mob. We will end up lonelier, more exhausted, and conditioned to repeat the cycle.
The good news is that there is a wealth of neglected research on these matters of social psychology.