I’ve previously used the term “socialist antibody” to describe the members of a leftwing protest crowd whose function is apparently to shadow and intimidate people they identify as unsympathetic to their cause. I think the following may also qualify. For the last year or so, Ann Althouse has been reporting on some of the more instructive scenes at the Wisconsin protests - as, for instance, when activist doctors invoked the virtue of “public service” while handing out bogus sick notes to absentee teachers, thereby leaving the taxpayer with a multimillion-dollar bill for work not done. All in the name of “social justice,” obviously. It’s fair to say this attention wasn’t always well-received by our egalitarian betters and resulted in death threats, ‘shadowing’ and a promise to “ruin your career, your sense of safety… and your life.”
Yesterday Althouse visited another leftist gathering at the Wisconsin capitol. While filming, she was recognised. A smiling woman approached and asked an unusual question: “Who’s going to save you when you get attacked?”
I know. It’s because they care so very much.
As Ann says in her post,
They seem to feel empowered by their numbers and my aloneness, but they can see I’m filming, and they’re only interested in harassing me because I’ve put things on the internet in the past. Are they so into the moment that they don’t have a clue that I’m going to put up this blog post?
It is, I think, instructive that so many voices of the left should profess such empathy with the mob dynamic, in which personal responsibility can be dispersed and obscured, allowing participants to indulge more freely in some physical emphasis, or threats thereof. Mobs tend to embolden their participants precisely because of the sense of physical power and the promise of moral anonymity, and the implicit threat that violence can ensue should their wishes be frustrated. Or indeed their vanity. And while mobs may be effective in rousing emotion and inflating egos, they aren’t an ideal forum for mental or moral clarity. Perhaps that’s the appeal for the rote radical. Maybe that’s why they forget that people will see.