I notice that one of the ways to criticise people who agree with me on twitter is to call them a ‘mob’ or a ‘cult’ and that if I tweet something and people agree with me, that’s because I’ve caused a ‘pile-on’, got my followers to…etc etc.

It’s an interesting picture. The ‘mob’ bit is a piece of dehumanising. A ‘mob’ is not a group of individuals with their own reasons for thinking or doing things. It’s an unthinking mass. A ‘cult’ is another unthinking ‘mob’, the reason being that they are such devotees that they can’t think rationally or logically. Then, if it’s me (or anyone else) who ’causes’ a ‘pile on’ or who ‘gets his followers to…’ it’s as if I or anyone else has magical powers to enlist the support of others. This denies every single one of such people any agency, any will of their own to think or do anything because they choose to.

It’s not clear how I or anyone else has these magical powers particularly as these powers are seemingly exerted through the medium of twitter, a place devoid of instruments of compulsion.

It’s also a great way to deflect from talking about the substance of whatever is the subject of the discussion. Just complain that a few people are agreeing with someone else: dehumanise them and deny their agency.

Micheal Rosen



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