«

»

Apr 09 2016

Liberty vs Mob Psychology

Tyranny depends upon mobs and their psychology. Tyrants both feed mobs and feed upon them, in order to gain control and power. Liberty is the opposite of this. Liberty demands action by the individual, to take responsibility and show self motivation and initiative. We can insist on retaining our independence and liberty or we can relinquish our responsibility and our power as individuals to mobs and tyrants. The choice is simple.

Upon closer observation, it becomes apparent that every strong upsurge of power in the public sphere, be it of a political or a religious nature, infects a large part of humankind with stupidity. It would even seem that this is virtually a sociological-psychological law. The power of the one needs the stupidity of the other. The process at work here is not that particular human capacities, for instance, the intellect, suddenly atrophy or fail. Instead, it seems that under the overwhelming impact of rising power, humans are deprived of their inner independence and, more or less consciously, give up establishing an autonomous position toward the emerging circumstances. The fact that the stupid person is often stubborn must not blind us to the fact that he is not independent. In conversation with him, one virtually feels that one is dealing not at all with him as a person, but with slogans, catchwords, and the like that have taken possession of him. He is under a spell, blinded, misused, and abused in his very being. Having thus become a mindless tool, the stupid person will also be capable of any evil and at the same time incapable of seeing that it is evil. This is where the danger of diabolical misuse lurks, for it is this that can once and for all destroy human beings.
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Bonhoeffer was a German pastor executed on April 9, 1945 for opposing Adolf Hitler. Hitler died three weeks later, committing suicide as Soviet troops closed in on his Chancellery in Berlin.