Beware The Mob

Beware the Mob

The founding forefathers of the United States of America were looking for a way to secure the nation in a way that it would never be removed from the hands of the people; thus forming the opening of the preamble to the Constitution, “We the people.” However, encapsulated within is the declaration of something that is not a democracy. This is because the founders knew that the definition of a purely democratic government being “one man, one vote” would send them towards a mob rule mentality, which would only result in anarchy. While it was important that the citizenry must be able to vote, they must have a system that equalizes the power. Thus, a government controlled as a republic was born. The question would remain though, would the democratic vote hold sway over the republic, or would the republic hold the reigns of the democracy? This was the reason when Benjamin Franklin emerged from the secret Constitutional Convention of 1787, responded to a Mrs. Powell of Philadelphia who asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” with, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

As time would march on, politicians and parties would begin to learn the ways of manipulating the central populaces in the country. The representation of immediate constituencies overrode the wellbeing of the United States as a whole. Elected representatives became far more interested in holding power as opposed to serving patriotism. Soon, the power of the mob was harnessed.

Mobs serve few functions. One, is to drown out any opposition. Two, is to destroy remaining hindrances in their paths. The third item, which always seems unanticipated amongst them, is to self-implode. The mob is always attractive to those in positions of power insofar as they can steer them. However, once the mob breaks free from the reigns, it is seldom regained to containment.

This act is of no new play. For centuries mob mentality has been used by wicked people for what they would think to be their own purposes. Take for example the persecution of Christians. Maltreatment in the Roman Empire was largely motivated by crowds who were stirred up by those who would convince them of a pseudo-conviction of their consciences. In other words, tell the crowds that someone is encroaching upon an inherent good in their lives, and therefore, they must take drastic action.

This was the same principle the Jews exercised when bringing Christ into the mock trial that led to an audience with Pontius Pilate. But the Jews incited the devout women of prominence and the leading men of the city, and instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. Acts 13:50 (NAS)

Marcus Aurelius took greater action than those that preceded him. As witnessed in the inquiry of Pliny the younger to emperor Trajan concerning the handling of Christians, Trajan merely stated that the Christians were not to be pursued. However, if they were come upon, they were to be prosecuted according to the law of Rome. The practice of Christian prosecution for denying the gods of Rome continued through the reigns of Hadrian and Pius. But Aurelius took a more aggressive stance to the pursuance of Christians to the progressive shedding of blood. His modus operandi to accomplish this goal was primarily in and through the immediate governors inciting city crowds to act against the pending threat upon their securities and moralities. The easily manipulated populace would therefore accomplish the duty otherwise reserved for the Roman government. Ironically, the Pax Romana appears to have been used against itself to serve itself by creating a false narrative of a pending threat to Rome. This in turn would justify a lynch mob to execute justice. Again, the irony lay in breaking the law to protect the law.

Mobs and revolutions are not to be confused. While revolutions often encompass war, at times it is also exercised through peace and passivity. The common denominator is the accomplishing a desired purpose based upon a set of fixed principles. It is true enough that revolutions can be evil as well. Yet they are still structured as such. Mobs in general are chaotic and unhinged. The vast majority are unable to remotely articulate that for which they riot against. In the midst of predisposed, externally force-fed clichés, arguments given are often circular in reasoning and have no root in which to rely on. This ends in a graduated form of vandalism that fickly ebbs and flows with things such as emotions and the weather. However, a true revolution looks well past its immediate circumstances. It believes in a far greater purpose, which compels them past local hindrances.

Remember, it was the same crowd shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David,[1]” to Jesus as He entered Jerusalem, that were later demanding, “Let Him be crucified[2]!” before Pilate. This is because the mob is easily incited, as the chief priests and elders persuaded the crowds to shout for the release of a guilty man over the innocent Christ.[3]

As the church, we are never to be the mob. We are the body of Christ. In Him there is purpose, meaning, and given direction. Evil will continually attempt to harness the zeal of Christians for its own reasons. Resolutely turning our faces towards our King will prevent being deceived and the temptation to take matters into our own hands.

Keep the Faith,


[1] Matthew 21:9; NAS

[2] Matthew 27:23; NAS

[3] Ibid 27:20