5.31.2021 – suddenly conscious

suddenly conscious
power in numbers safely
permit viciousness

Part of the Mencken Project

Taken from the line:

Not because the stoneheads, normally virtuous, are suddenly criminally insane. Nay, but because they are suddenly conscious of the power lying in their numbers—because they suddenly realize that their natural viciousness and insanity may be safely permitted to function.

In other words, the particular swinishness of a crowd is permanently resident in the majority of its members—in all those members, that is, who are naturally ignorant and vicious—perhaps 95 per cent. All studies of mob psychology are defective in that they underestimate this viciousness.

From Damn! A Book of Calumny. XX The Crowd, by HL Mencken, 1918

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