Progressive Mass Hysteria

Democracies have been fickle for 2,000 years, but the Internet makes it worse.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online


Share This

27 thoughts on “Progressive Mass Hysteria”

  1. Enjoy the historical analysis. If the printing press was key to Reformation, where will the internet lead us? What started as a vehicle for knowledge seems to have turned into a rocket for drama.

    1. Excellent point. Much of what is on the Internet is opinion and often couched in vitriolic terms. On many public forums, angry rants, consisting of personal attacks, are typical. While there was initial hope that the web would be a medium of education and enlightenment, the end result has often been anything but. Thank goodness for the likes of VDH, who is one of the few voices in the wilderness.

  2. And the internet is international…how many pseudo-Americans are fanning the flames, happy to encourage discord, incite hatred and violence?

  3. On the National review corner, it is pointed out that June 30th, 1934, same day as today, ” was The Night of the Long Knives, Hitler’s purge of those standing in his way.” They damn near conquered all of Europe with the ” engine of groupthink”.

  4. Charles Teachout

    I like to view this “Progressive hysteria” from the perspective of what has happened to American society particularly over the past 50 years. The “leavened judgment” of our ancestors is ignored in demand for “instant gratification” of the “Two Minutes of Hate” from the Mass Media. Beginning in 1965, America’s Churches have made an increasingly uncritical adoption of “politically correct” Leftist ideology while diluting moral instruction and discipline to the point where the message is now virtually empty of scriptural substance. The Supreme Court couldn’t care less if there is a clear Scriptural ban on sodomy. The “leavened” and “balanced” prudent judgment of Christendom Christianity has been shoved aside as the mob races frantically down the street.

  5. Don’t blame the Internet. Blame the lack of critical thinking skills in our populace. The medium isn’t the problem. The poor education system we have for educating our citizens is the real problem.

  6. “The mutability of the past is the central tenet of Ingsoc” – 1984

    Of course, in the rare instances where the past is still expedient because it can be deployed to lower Western Civilization’s conceptions of itself, use it as a weapon. Utilize “Doublethink, histrionics, and obfuscate language to avoid honest reflection that might unveil logical disconnects in your one-key-fits-all-locks worldview.

  7. Well, I have to say that progressives appear to be winning the battle.

    With a compliant media, headlines scream about racism, sexism, income inequality, evil banks, trigger-happy police, gay marriage, women’s right to abortion, and student debt. The NY Times has promoted Huffington Post to a leadership position in mainstream news, despite storylines that would embarrass the National Enquirer. Yet people are reading that crap.

    On the flip-side, conservative commentators respond with commentary backed up by facts and thoughtful commentary.

    Sorry, but facts are not capturing readers attention as much as headlines such as “Have the Religious Right Hijacked Marriage?” (Huffington Post) and “Fox News airs despicable ‘investigation’ into NYC homelessness” (Salon).

    Conservatives need to adopt the ambush tactics of the left in order to win the war. Take Saul Alinsky’s playbook and use it against the false narratives of the Democratic Party, NY Times, Washington Post and the sensational Huffington Post.

    Otherwise conservative thought will find itself in the ash can of history.

  8. Pingback: Progressive Mass Hysteria | Newport Mesa Tea Party Patriots

  9. Jim Rothenflue

    Another of Thucydides’ writings is also appropriate to the analysis of this situation: the Melian dialogue. This attack on the Confederate battle standard (CBS) is a demonstration raw power, not morality. The left, resolved to destroy those who will not submit, demagogues the idea that the CBS is a symbol of hate used by haters. Now, the American flag flew over slave owning states for nearly 100 years, over inhumane slaving ships, and was the standard under which armies brutalized the American Indians. Similar statements can be said of the Christian cross, including being the single most visible symbol of the Klan. However, the left perceives that southern culture is weak by comparison to the champions of the Stars and Stripes and the Christian cross. This makes the south Melos in this analogy, and the strong will do what they can and the weak endure what they must. Thus, I think you’re incorrect in supporting the removal of the CBS from public spaces. Legions of modern-day southerners view this standard as a symbol of resistance to government tyranny (even if futile), and we should no more relegate this standard to a “symbol of apartheid” then we should equate the Stars and Stripes to a genocidal banner, or the Christian cross to a symbol of bigotry.

  10. Sure looks like the hidden ‘Robespierres’ have awakened!

    And poor democracy and the seminal work of the great Greeks who gave us a worthy tradition to work out the nation’s issues. One thing that has to be said and quite evident today is that it looks under assault from those who use knee-jerk reactions to affect policies and those who rip and change it from its historic foundations to be used to simply being a proxy for lurching into autocracy.

    So in that case we can see that it has descended into what has been termed an ‘illiberal’ democracy’ in one European country which still purports to argue it has all the elements of the democratic tradition.

    The brilliant Thucydides wrote centuries ago and knew his age very well. Today we can see that his observation where ideology and ‘words that have their ordinary meanings changed’ work hand in hand and can be a prescription for trouble when those use ‘democracy’ as a cover for their narrow undemocratic agendas.

  11. The most dangerous part of this is that Progressives seem to think they can control and direct the mob.

    The mob is incited, directed and runs literally, sometimes figuratively riot.

    The horse will eventually buck the rider off. And usually trample him.

  12. Why didn’t the Mytilenean males simply transgender? I thought that Lesbos was had a progressive reputation in regard to gender identity issues.

  13. “”China ratifies the creation of BRICS bank.”” from RT news. Quote— The launch of the BRICS bank is seen as a first step in breaking the dominance of the US dollar in global trade”. The United States is fighting a two-front war. The first-front is inside the country—unsustainable policies, and “Us vs Them”. And the second-front, foreign powers seeking slowly but surely to topple U.S. hegemony. With the seemingly incurable “worm inside the apple”, which is toppling the USA brick by brick, the BRICS need not fire a single shot.

  14. I’m no historian, but I can find no concept of “gay marriage,” in which same-sex relationships are considered identical with opposite-sex child-producing relationships, anywhere in any culture before the year 2000 going back to antiquity. Various cultures have legitimized it one way or another, but not via “marriage.” Anyone, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. Personally, I think the whole thing is a conspiracy among divorce lawyers looking for an untapped demographic.

  15. In the USA, it’s finance. In China, it’s manufacturing and outright thievery, and in Europe, it’s slow decay. Since the USA can do nothing about third-world China and socialist Europe, The United States has to at least halt the erosion of confidence in the USA, for if it fails, two questions will be answered within a decade— What will become of world order if the United States is successfully toppled, without firing a shot ? And tied to that question, What will be the future living conditions within the dethroned, former leader of the free world ??

  16. Twitter is a great example of a plague of histrionics, orchestrated by a small cadre of zealots, directing public opinion like a symphony of hate.

  17. If we are going to ban things that are associated with racism in our history….don’t we NEED to ban the Democrat party? Afterall, they fought to keep slavery, the southern Dems created the KKK and Jim Crow laws! Yup…the Democrat Party must GO. Too painful a reminder of a dark part of our history…and also a very damaging part of our present.

  18. I should, in justice to a great man, like to correct one point above. General Robert E. Lee, who had written before the war that “slavery as an institution, is a moral & political evil,” who, in emancipating the slaves which he had inherited from his father-in-law, actually freed more slaves than Abraham Lincoln (the Emancipation Proclamation being limited to slaves behind Confederate lines, where Lincoln’s writ did not run), and who, finally, favoured emancipating slaves who volunteered for the Confederate Army, can only with difficulty be described as having “fought to perpetuate human bondage.”
    In other respects I am in full agreement with Mr Hanson’s piece.

  19. “I think the train’s gone off the rails.” Ben Jones (AKA Cooder from the Dukes of Hazzard)

    Appearing on Fox the other day, Jones, who played the grease muh, ahem, mechanic on the hit show (that was a close one), quite eloquently excoriated the decision by TV Land to drop the Dukes of Hazzard. The reason for cleansing a television show that used to be watched by 33 million people out of electronic existence was apparently because one of the show’s props, the iconic Dodge Charger used by the Duke brothers, had a Stars and Bars roof decal. I feel like I’m living in a bizarre alternate universe, but, sadly, it’s America 2015.

    Just as Southern television affiliates nearly dropped F Troop when actor Larry Storch posed in a photograph with his interracial step daughter, what we’re seeing now is the mirror image of the same kind of racially driven ignorance that the country has spent decades trying to change. As E Pluribus Unum disintegrates into the salad bowl of group identity politics, European-Americans should expect to see their group caricatured as oppressive and privileged more intensely. While I believe the comparisons to Nazi book burning is a bit over the top – the Confederate battle flag connotes a defunct system of racial Apartheid, while the works of Jewish scholars, artists, and intellectuals were targeted by the Nazis purely out of religious animus – I do think cleansing the Stars and Bars marks the beginning of the deconstruction of a past American identity by the Social Justice mob hell bent on using coercion and censorship to forge their vision of a Brave New World.

  20. I live and work in S.F. 10s of thousands gallons of water a day is used to wash the streets on and around Market St. human waste from the the fathomless homeless. Young newly hired tech workers can find no housing due to rent control, government subsidized and now mandatory 30% + affordable on all new structures.
    Besides the city buildings in everyday view, most are run down. No new paint causing rot, electrical and plumbing deteriorated ect.
    Hetch Hetchy reservoir can maintain S.F. for years, much water is sold to the surrounding suburbs, at rates making the H.H. a money machine.
    So we have in all aspects of government run endeavors, less for more. Except our own freedom to throw a ball for your dog, $192 fine if caught off lease while homeless litter the parks with waste, needles and filth. The common person always pays the dept for Governments ills.
    The Government park and all workers get fresh spring water delivered in bottles. We drink the poisoned Cloramine tap water.
    Yesterday three officers of the law moved along a mentally ill man near the Mechanics Statue on Market St.
    one looked at me and said “reap what you sew”. We will get written up if we do anymore to the man. Homeless man jaywalked, almost got run over from a trolley, backed up traffic and cursed all around him.”Bleeding heart liberals caused this 10,000. strong invasion the officer said.”
    A day before a criminal from our southern boarder shot and killed a 32 year old woman for no reason, other than he was nuts. Most Mexicans I work with that now dominate the construction trade, know that Government cant be trusted, work hard and have American pride. Yet Jerry Brown opened the boarders for all criminals on the run .
    Pay the Almond growers to give up the central desert land. 90% of world of the crop is from Cali.
    70 gallons per Almond.
    China supply’s 30% and growing of our produce. They are more efficient and of course cheaper.
    Soon in the end we will build waste treatment plants that convert to potable water. In the end, the aftermath of Government foolishness, the reclaimed water will prove deadly results, While instead of working, counting their pensions, loosing count after $200,000, the waste water we use will be that, waste water.
    And remember to do your best to control the planets temperature. them cave men screwed it up causing the last ice age.
    We, you and I the commoners always in the end suffer.

  21. The leftist mob is on the loose no doubt about it. Do you think the mob will launch Bernie Sanders into the WH? The answer seems pointless doesn’t it. The government has made itself irrelevant and the mob senses how weak, truly weak and venal and contemptible government has become – by the fact that it feeds the mob. The mob can now sense itself as the authority and the Internet is their engine to power. A hundred voices sound like a million there. And ten thousand becomes a majority in a land of 360 million. The mob needs feeding, though, that is its weakness.

    The dems have yet to truly wet the mobs appetite for free stuff. I think that is the next feeding frenzy. The frenzy that will occur when the economy, at least what remains, tanks – now that brings the inflection point. The mob will come for what’s theirs as they see it and that will be well, about everything. The government grows illegitimate by its catering to the mob. Anyone sentient can see the federal government has almost no restraints at this point. It is learning like an AI robot. Whatever it takes to hold power, it will do, that is plain.

    There will be no Concord bridge where we face down mob tyranny. The government will back away from confrontations, it will let the mob do that. The government is the twisted courts, the fake legislature, the numb bureaucracy and a lot of force it can’t deploy without hurting itself. So, it guides the mob and the media feed it and in turn, the mob feeds the power. The mob is a psych job, without the slightest substance to it, at the square root of stupidity. This is the government of the near future in every part of this geography we call USA.

    The mob now forms and seethes but for now the outlines of its mass are sketchy and will be until the economic engine that fuels the complacent and the alarmed alike grinds down. That seems not too far from now. The only question is how it is done: first in the legislature, then in the courts but after awhile, as the mob is fed, it must come to take it all. The flash mob at Wal-Mart – just the beginning. The riots in Baltimore – a forecast of daily life. I think it will be a race mob to lead the bloody way and when the police walk away as they will be ordered to do, the mob will grow confident and then, the left will have its day in the sun. At some point the mob will keep coming until it is confronted and the guns come out. And the race war the left has worked on for so long, has nurtured and goaded and called for minority volunteers – it will finally be in full. The last fourth of July seems not so far away;

  22. It seems that Mr. Hanson’s intellectual training has been honed into wisdom by the earlier sweat and effort of the good and honest dirt of a farming past. Hard work for honest gain often does that to a person. Pity that so many intellectuals have their heads full of knowledge turned into silly putty by onerous injections of political correctness and group think. This article describes what happens to serious thinking when it is attempted in an emotionally charged crowd drugged senseless by the fever of mob mentality.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *