Friday, February 5, 2021

"Herd Mentality"

This label and several other potential synonyms (mob mentality, pack mentality, gang mentality, cult mentality) is one way to define an extreme tendency to conform. It describes how people can be influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors that on their own they likely would not have exhibited. In Defying Hitler, Sebastian Haffner describes how the Nazis had encouraged the citizens to think of themselves as “comrades.” The comrades became the “herd,” which relieved many people of the responsibility for thinking for themselves and making decisions and exhibiting behviors that ordinarily they might never have done on their own. In effect, the “comrades” or “herd” became their conscience. Whatever they did was okay provided everyone else had the same mentality and was doing the same things. Those outside “the herd,” were often assaulted or killed to gain conformity. Some think that the recent assault on the nation’s capital was a type of herd mentality action.

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