When the mobs lets loose (& the statues crash down) ….

By | June 26, 2020

What do you think about the video above?

Statues are actually very easy to topple. Remember, they weren’t built to withstand lateral (= sideways) force. Statues stand upright, held down largely by their own weight. So, just climb up, put a rope around the top part, then all you need is a few people to pull on the rope, and the statue comes crashing down.

It’s happening all over America, and in other countries, too. Here’s a few questions for you.

  1. Do you think the people in this video are intelligent, or acting intelligently?
  2. Do you think they really care about ‘social justice’ or ‘black lives matter’?
  3. Did you understand their chants – that is, the words they were chanting?
  4. Do these chants reveal anything about them?
  5. Did you notice what they did afterward to the statue?
  6. Do you think there might be some people who do not want the statue pulled down (and what would happen if these people tried to say anything)?
  7. Why aren’t the police trying to stop this?
  8. How should society deal with statues which some people might not like?

Here are some answers (as I see it, of course).

[Question 1] These people are a mob, driven by mob instinct, and there is nothing intelligent in that. Mobs are, in fact, extremely dangerous. They are a huge unthinking group, in which no single individual takes responsibility for their own acts, and everyone is freed from the burden of thinking for themselves. This means that they can be led to do anything. Be very careful when facing a mob.

[2] The idea of ‘social justice’ and ‘black lives matter’ are good and true in the literal sense (= the dictionary meaning of the words); however, these concepts have transformed beyond this literal meaning. It has become a political cult, driven by destruction and hate (and not by intelligent thought).

[3] Here are the chants.

“We, we, we, are the revolution.”

“No cops, no KKK, no fascist USA.”

[4] These chants reveal a lot. Chanting an agreed set of words (= a ‘mantra’) helps the people who chant unite and bond as a cult/mob-members. The chants demand ‘revolution’, no police, and the desire to remake American society, which they call ‘fascist’. ‘Fascist’ (adj) means ….

putting nation and often race above the individual, headed by a dictator, who strictly controls society, and suppresses and kills anyone against them

So, does that describes America? Hmmm. I thought it was a democracy, with a constitution, laws, an election coming soon, and that there are state elections, local elections, and individual representation, and so on.

But the answer to Question 5 reveals a lot. The mob moved in on the broken statue, spitting on it, kicking it, and jumping on it. But, it’s just a lump of metal, you know? But that lump of metal has become the symbolic enemy. Cults need enemies, and these enemies needs to be not just destroyed, but also ritually humiliated. And that is what you see. Ritual humiliation of the symbolic enemy.

As for Question 6 & 7, there may be some who don’t want the statue pulled down, but remember what I said: mobs are extremely dangerous, so those who disagree won’t dare say anything, and for the same reason, the police have just given up. The mob is too large, and the cult (nurtured for years in universities and social media) is just too strong.

Finally, Question 8. If there is a statue which some do not like, they can organise into a group, inform local government of their views, state their aims, gather support from the media and other members of the public, and follow the rule of law.

Remember, bricks and broken glass eventually have to be picked up; graffiti has to be removed; windows and gutted buildings need to be rebuilt; goods and services need to be re-established. Society as a whole pays a price when mobs take over, and the instincts to riot and destroy are let loose. But that is a thinking response, and mobs don’t think.

Here are some of the words used in this post.

  • a statue
  • to topple
  • lateral
  • a chant
  • a burden
  • to be literal
  • a mantra
  • a cult
  • to be fascist
  • to suppress
  • a symbol // to be symbolic
  • a ritual // ritually
  • to nurture
  • graffiti
  • to be gutted
Author: Andrew

Andrew Guilfoyle Cambridge CELTA, Cambridge DELTA, Cambridge CELTA teacher-trainer, M.Ed