Herd mentality is the seed of totalitarian societies

Mobs that form from the bottom up may prove even harder to defeat than totalitarian regimes.

The madness of the crowd.
Photo: LPW

The mass ideologies of the twentieth century, Nazism and Communism, represented a profound degradation of reason. Yet these ideologies reveal more than we would like to admit about our own political extremes and current direction in the world.


Nazism and Communism have multiple origins.

The American diplomat Robert Strausz-Hupé (1903-2002), a realist of foreign policy, considered that it was symbolically no coincidence that Karl Marx and Frederick Engels published their “Communist Manifesto” in 1848 — the year of failed democratic revolutions in Europe and the last time when liberalism and nationalism “fought on the same side of the barricades”.

If this rupture had not happened – if the uprisings of 1848 had succeeded across the continent – there might not have been World War I, and therefore no Vladimir Lenin and no Adolf Hitler.

But, there was something even more fundamental than the short-lived failure of 1848 that brought about the ideological horrors of the 20th century: technology.

The tens of millions of “dispossessed of the industrial revolution”, in Strausz-Hupé’s words, have become stupid infantrymen of class and race war, encouraged by the new force of the mass media.

“As policy evolves towards several continental systems, and technology accentuates the strategic importance of large, contiguous areas. Thus, the era of overseas empires and free world trade closes.
If this reasoning is pushed to its absolute conclusion, the national state is also a thing of the past, and the future belongs to the giant state.
Many nations will be locked in a few vast compartments. But in each of these one people, controlling a strategic area, will be master of the others.”
– Geopolitics: The Struggle for Space and Power (1942).

It is impossible to imagine Hitler and Stalin, except in the context of industrialisation, which worked everything from tanks and railroads, to radio and the news.

Propaganda, after all, has a distinct twentieth-century resonance, being an integral part of communications technology. See: Edward Bernays.

Technology has never stopped evolving, and the roots of our current crisis lie in what went wrong in the 20th century. Not only the technology itself, but the societal impacts of this technology.

The ‘hive mind’ has always been the biggest threat to a free and open society.


Photo: NGA

Nazism and Communism shared two decisive elements: crowd safety and the desire for purity.

In Crowds and Power, first published in German in 1960, Elias Canetti wrote perhaps the most intuitive book on the crisis in the West in the past 100 years after escaping the Nazis.

Further, Oswald Spengler’s The Decline of the West (1923) argues that Western civilisation, like all civilisations, is ultimately ephemeral.

However, Canetti’s book shows the real mechanics of this process.

The crowd, says Canetti, emerges from the lonely individual’s need to conform to others. Because he/her cannot exercise dominance alone, they exercise it through a crowd that speaks with one voice.

The urge of the crowd is always to grow, consuming all hierarchies, even if they feel persecuted and demand retaliation. The crowd considers itself to be entirely pure, having attained the highest virtue.

Thus, one of the purposes of the mob is to hunt down the insufficiently virtuous. Crowd tyranny has many aspects, but Canetti says its most egregious form is that of the ‘questioner’ and the ‘accuser’:

“When used as a power intrusion,” the accusing mob “is like a knife cutting the flesh of the victim. The questioner knows what there is to find, but he really wants to touch it and bring it to light.”

There are strong echoes of this in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, and in particular in Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism.

Arendt, a Holocaust survivor, isolates crowd psychology as an intellectual subject in its own right.

Crowds have been around since the dawn of time. But modern technology – first radio and newspapers, now Twitter and Facebook – has created untold prospects for mob tyranny.

This tyranny, born of a gathering of solitary people, aims at the destruction of the individual, whose existence proves his or her lack of virtue in the eyes of the crowd.

There is, however, a difference between the 20th and the 21st century.

The 20th century was an era of mass communications, often controlled by large governments, so the ideology and the intimidation that came with it was broadcast from the top down.

The 21st century has produced an inversion, where people work through digital networks to come together from the bottom up.

But while the tyranny produced has a different style, it has a similar result: intimidating dissent through a declared monopoly on virtue.

If you do not agree with us, you are not only wrong but you want it morally, and as such you must not only be exposed but destroyed. Remember, Nazism and Communism were utopian ideologies.

In the minds of their believers, they were systems of virtue, and it is precisely because of this that they opened up new vistas for tyranny.



Civilizations are built not only on intellectual and cultural foundations, but also on cruder aspects of strength and power.

The historic West, which is ultimately the freedom of the individual to rise above the crowd, survived the 20th century thanks to hard work and dedicated persistence — itself maintained by a system of individual excellence.

But social media is now immersing itself in the crowd, where it claims virtue in its purest ideological form, so that much of the media too often plays the role of Canetti’s accuser.

The thirst for purity, combined with the tyranny of social media technology in the hands of millions who have little sense of the past and tradition, threatens to create an era of the most formidable crowds in history.

The result of such mob coercion is widespread self-censorship: the cornerstone of all forms of totalitarianism.

This ultimately leads to a controlled society ruled by the bland, trivial, and mundane, wearing the lobotomised face of Channel Nine’s weekday afternoon TV.

Pure and simple evil can certainly be cured, but self-righteous conformity is more difficult to resist. Without control, this is how the West slowly dies.

The 19th-century Russian intellectual, Alexander Herzen, anticipating Spengler and writing about the failure of the democratic revolutions of 1848, delivered perhaps the most pessimistic of warnings:

“Modern Western thought will pass into and become part of history, have its influence and place, just as our bodies will pass into the composition of grass, sheep, chops and men. We don’t like that kind of immortality, but what should we do with it?”

This is what we are fighting against.

As medical globalisation naturally plunges the West into the intersecting currents of other civilisations, and extreme forms of identity politics trample on individual rights, both historical liberalism and traditional conservatism has the task of infinitely pushing back Herzen’s vision.

Historical liberalism in particular, as a champion of individual action, berates all ideologies and the fate Herzen had in mind.

The direction of the story is unknowable, so we have no choice but to keep fighting.

After all, the world we enjoyed until recent history was not a given. It was earned with hard work.


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9 comments on “Herd mentality is the seed of totalitarian societies”

  1. EQUILIBRIUM! @ A Society near You! Gramaton Clerics have already been at Play in Victoria,! Dan Andrews, stars as ‘Father!’

  2. Fed up to the back teeth with the moronic sheeple. I’m probably even more angry and disgusted at them than I am at the evil perps (the globalist-parasites) and their key quislings. Need another run up/down Mt Lofty: only by putting myself in a world of physical pain that excludes all else can I escape this anger and disgust. Sad, isn’t it? That “Academy of Ideas” short video on the evolution of mass psychosis is a beauty. HD Thoreau: “Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves”. That means there is/are an awful lot of potential/already there slaves in this country…all those stupid fools dutifully wearing their face nappies and signing-in wherever they go…not to mention their probable double-quaxxed status.

    1. I feel exactly the same way Graham. It really is depressing and frustrating to be a critical thinking ‘individual’ among the brainwashed conformist sheep. If the masses don’t snap out of this psychosis I feel there’s no hope for the future of human-kind. If the human psyche doesn’t ascend past this mental human condition, then maybe we’re destined to repeat the cycles of past advanced civilisations and keep self-destructing. Advance, self-destruct and repeat.

    2. It IS true! Sheep! NO longer amazed @ THE Flock, who are Programmed to ask ME, about my Information Sources, but NOT MS & The main Social M Platforms! THEY, refer to The Same Media Cabals Code of Conduct Operations, & I remind them of The Governments & Banking Sectors CoC having ‘Worked SOOO Well’, in keeping THE Banking System ‘Operating with Honesty/Integrity & Truthfulness’! Let’s see, Fraud/Counterfeiting/Profits of Crime/Money Laundering/ Financing Terrorists. And a Full Royal Commission Later = ZIP! I explain to THEM, SO, THIS is what a Code of Conduct Means. MY Mistake! THE Same Flock, ‘Defend’ the Propaganda Cabal on THEIR ‘Data’, reciting the Same with Glee, But without ‘Checking Accuracy’, “But THEY’VE [MS & Soc Media] got a Code of Conduct! They remind us every other Minute on T.V. & Radio!” Bleat the Sheep. “And I, used AAP Fact checker, just to make sure it’s ‘True!’ Look! They’ve even given a Big Green Tick to themselves [Psychological WANK], to ‘PROVE’ the Narrative is ‘True’!”
      “ER, Sheep Features, you DO Know that the ‘Cabal’ is ALL owned or Controlled by the Same FEW don’t You?”
      “NAH! I saw it on the News! THEY’VE got a Code of Conduct! THEY’VE Got a Green Tick!”
      [Ah for Gods Sake! – WHAT!]
      ‘AND The Sheeple of Australia go Bleat Bleat Bleat,
      Screwed over since the First Fleet Fleet Fleet.
      Belief in Govt/ Corporates disguised as Little Bo Peep,Peep,Peep,
      Lockdowns together the Flock to Keep Keep Keep.
      Huddled together on Hoof Hoof Hoof,
      Promise we’ll let you ‘Free’ on Vaxxed Proof Proof Proof.
      What Don’t YOU trust us on Truth Truth Truth,
      Bang that Mask back on OUTSIDE even when there’s NO Roof Roof Roof.
      God Damn that sheep turned into a Truth Rooster Rooster Rooster,
      Grab Him, Muzzle Him before the rest Stir Stir Stir.
      Nothing to see Here Here Here,
      Those Awake Sheep are Queer Queer Queer.
      Get your QR phone App App App,
      Cranial Process is having a Nap Nap Nap.
      Alternately make your Mark Mark Mark,
      It’s NOT about Trace Tracking this is Stark Stark Stark.
      It’s Safe, It’s healthy & the Right thing to Do Do Do,
      SHIT! We’re running out of Leverage- Speel again ‘Would WE Lie to You You You?
      Last Chance our Best Emotive Leverage Leverage Leverage,
      Think of Gran, Baby & the Program FOOL Coverage Age Age.
      We’ve got ‘Effective’ Vaxx by The Score Score Score,
      SOOO effective, the ‘Boosters’ have been ordered More More More.
      Can YOU Sheep be quiet @ The Back Back Back,
      I’m mesmerized by this Media Hack Hack Hack.
      & if YOU find this Ditty Appealing App ealing App ealing,
      Then be Assured YOU haven’t Prostituted your Sense of Reasoning!
      I thank My Gran for my Education, Encouragement & sense of Individuality, in a Former ‘Healthier World!’ & Her Large Leather bound quietly brooding Encyclopedia Britannica collection!
      I thank The Christian Brothers for Abuses & My Appreciation of the Noir!!

      Per Linda L – The Word. English is a Strange Kettle of fish.
      D in front of Evil = Devil. & Evil reversed = Live & Reversed Devil = Lived.
      &, I don’t even Drink the ‘Tap’ Water!
      Wellness again. – One way or another, a New Genesis of Actual Thought is already Upon US!
      The Sheep can Impress THEMSELVES, maybe even in a Mirror. Self Awareness would have to be in Play Unfortunately/ Fortunately!
      Last; Young Graham, went thru the Gambit of Emotions per The Sheep [Probably Latently still do], but have tried Tempering this with Writing, drawing, Comedy [Don’t leave Home without IT] & Destressing with Music [Maybe Videos in Future, I envision The Vatican Doing ‘Covers’ of Rammstein & Pantera – Perhaps Death Metal [In it’s Many Forms IS appealing to that ‘Institute’]]. & ‘Grounding out’ in a Healthy Body of Water [The Ocean always seems to do it for me! STILL NOT Taxed Yet!]
      SHIT! Instead of a ‘Comment’, the Fools written another Bloody Book!

    1. ‘M’, Weren’t YOU in Bond – 007? Very KOOL info, especially ‘Biggest Scams in History!’ There’s such a Competition Going! Those Homo Sapiens!
      Wellness. Watch out for ‘L’ & ‘N’ – ‘Flankers’.

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