Skip to comments.Obama and the Politics of Crowds (Very good)
Posted on 10/30/2008 7:06:01 AM PDT by nuconvert
There is something odd -- and dare I say novel -- in American politics about the crowds that have been greeting Barack Obama on his campaign trail. Hitherto, crowds have not been a prominent feature of American politics. We associate them with the temper of Third World societies. We think of places like Argentina and Egypt and Iran, of multitudes brought together by their zeal for a Peron or a Nasser or a Khomeini. In these kinds of societies, the crowd comes forth to affirm its faith in a redeemer: a man who would set the world right.
As the late Nobel laureate Elias Canetti observes in his great book, "Crowds and Power" (first published in 1960), the crowd is based on an illusion of equality: Its quest is for that moment when "distinctions are thrown off and all become equal. It is for the sake of this blessed moment, when no one is greater or better than another, that people become a crowd." These crowds, in the tens of thousands, who have been turning out for the Democratic standard-bearer in St. Louis and Denver and Portland, are a measure of American distress.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
Wow! Excellent! And bookmarked.
I just read this and loved it. My favorite book of the 20th century (non-fiction) is “Crowds and Power”—the lure of fascism. It is a great companion to that other classic of the 19th century, “Extraordinary Delusions and Popular Madnesses of Crowds.”
Yes, the mesmerized will awake from their trance the morning after and realize that their problems remain.
Back home though, everyone believed that people who go and spend time in “demonstrations” have nothing better to to.
I feel the same for big Obama crowd. They look like the big immigration crowd we saw several years ago. What if a huge portions of Obama crowd are simply illegal people coming to see the famous Obama!
Ya, what’s with Obama and huge crowds?
He enjoyed being the center of attention in Berlin with 200,000 people. He moved his convention speech to a stadium to be in a crowd of 75,000 instead of just a few thousand convention delegates. And he’s planning a big election night party in Grant Park in Chicago, where there could be 100,000 gathering to hear him.
Wow! That is - far and away - the single most insightful article I have ever read about this election. I cannot believe how piercing the insight of this author is.
While our institutions crumble into "street politics."
Fouad Ajami is an international treasure.
Bump for later reading.
Bump for later reading.
The Left is a collection of cults rigidly segregated from one another. The author left out one dynamic person of the left in which much of the Democratic party lifts their oratory, Jim Jones.
“Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds” by Charles Mackay
Thanks. I’m going to check that out.
That’s right. You’ll love it—a true classic on the crazy malleability of people.
There was grudge and a desire for retribution in the crowd to begin with. Akin to the passions that have shaped and driven highly polarized societies, this election has at its core a desire to settle the unfinished account of the presidential election eight years ago. George W. Bush's presidency remained, for his countless critics and detractors, a tale of usurpation. He had gotten what was not his due; more galling still, he had been bold and unabashed, and taken his time at the helm as an opportunity to assert an ambitious doctrine of American power abroad.
Obama's "crowds" have been out for blood, and they will have it one way or another.
CHILLING to the core.
I agree Obama’s use of crowds is scary. But I think the crowds are a sign of distress in liberals/democrats, not the general population. Libs will never get over not being able to steal the elections from Bush.
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