Updated: Jan 16, 2021
It's been said that a stopped clock is right twice a day. This saying conveys the sentiment that even the most unreliable sources can offer correct information once in a while. But without some way of determining the correct time, you can't know when the stopped clock is correct. So the statement is technically correct but practically irrelevant. In effect, a stopped clock is always wrong.
Being wrong 100% of the time is an astonishing accomplishment. It's quite difficult to consistently achieve this level of error. If you took a test and just guessed at 50 multiple choice questions each with 4 possible answers, you'd probably get at least 10 answers correct. Try calling a coin flip 10 times and I bet you'll get it right at least a couple of times. When your goal is to be perfectly wrong about everything, you can't do it by yourself. You need to join a mob.
Mobs are never correct. Just like stopped clocks, mobs serve no useful purpose. And unlike stopped clocks, mobs destroy things and hurt people. A stopped clock will make you miss an appointment. A mob will flip your car, beat you unconscious, and set fire to the place where you work. You will still miss your appointment, but a mob turns an inconvenience into a full blown tragedy.
Before you can join a mob, you need to be able to recognize one. Locating a mob is not as simple as looking for a bunch of people standing in a group. While it is true that all mobs are groups of people, not all groups of people are mobs. A group of people wearing robes, standing in a semi-circle, singing songs is a choir. A group of people wearing robes, standing in a semi-circle, burning a cross, is the Ku Klux Klan. And neither of those groups is a mob.
Surprise! You thought the Klansmen were a mob, right? Wrong! If consistent wrongness is your goal, I'll explain your error so you can repeat it in the future.
A proper mob cannot be unified in any way. There is no 'higher cause' that motivates the mob's activity. In the case of the Klan, every member agrees that white skin makes them superior to other people. They gather at pre-determined locations to burn crosses. And they all wear the same outfit, which is a dead giveaway. They are organized. Racism unifies them.
A mob can't do what the Klansmen do because each member of a mob is motivated by different things. They aren't unified by a singular cause. Each member is acting independently. There is no core ideal driving them as a group. There is an evil coherence in the Ku Klux Klan; a mob is nothing but chaos.
At this point, I will confess that I'm deviating from the theme I was assigned by my editor. I was supposed to write about how a mob is like "The Blob" from a horror movie. The Blob oozes around causing destruction and death, similar to a mob but there is an important difference: The Blob is a singular entity with a single motivation. It desires to absorb other life forms in order to grow itself. This single, focused desire makes The Blob intellectually and morally superior to a mob.
Interviewing The Blob while it rampages down Main Street would yield a completely different answer to the question, "Why are you doing this?" than you'd hear from the mob.
The Blob won't say, "for women" or "for equality" or "for climate change" or "to fight prejudice" or "to raise awareness" or "to protest" or "to promote" or "to teach" or "to defend" or "to demonstrate" or any of the other answers the mob gives. The Blob will simply say, "Because I'm hungry."
You can argue with The Blob about whether or not it is correct to satisfy its hunger by absorbing your neighborhood because the gelatinous beast offered one—thoroughly rational—explanation for its actions. You cannot argue with a mob because there is no single explanation for the chaos it creates as it rampages down Main Street.
Chaos is the only way to achieve perfect wrongness. In your effort to be consistently incorrect, the aid you'll get from the mindless mob is indispensable. Any act of goodness you accidentally perform will be immediately erased in the chaos of a mob.
You already know to suspect the judgment of a crowd. When your mother asked, "If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?" you responded correctly with, "No!" Yet the members of a mob would unanimously respond, "Yes," to the question, "If a hundred strangers were looting a Target store, would you do it too?" Ignoring the basic rules of civilized life you were taught as children is another way a mob stays consistently wrong.
You can find a lot of support in the Bible for the belief that mobs are always wrong. You can't find any passages in scripture where the crowd delivers level-headed rationality and quiets hostility. No situation improves when the mob shows up.
But the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city.
When Paul reached the steps, the violence of the mob was so great he had to be carried by the soldiers.
The arrogant are attacking me, O God; a band of ruthless men seeks my life— men without regard for you.
Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.”
See? Jesus met a guy who was actually possessed by a mob! It was causing the guy a legion of problems. So Jesus cast out the mob and caused a whole herd of pigs to commit suicide.
The only instance I could find of God condoning the actions of a mob is in Ezekiel 23. There are a couple of women, Oholah, and her sister was Oholibah who are consumed with lust for the Assyrians. It's pretty obvious that these women represent God's people and their perpetual wickedness. God gets fed up and in Ezekiel 23:46 says:
"Bring a mob against them and give them over to terror and plunder. The mob will stone them and cut them down with their swords; they will kill their sons and daughters and burn down their houses."
When the job calls for murder and mayhem, God gives the job to a mob. A crowd of people is the most efficient means of manifesting violent pandemonium. God never sends a mob to make peace or promote diplomacy.
By now you might be wondering about "peaceful assemblies" to protest bad policies or advocate for good causes. You might be thinking that a million people marching to protest publicly funded abortion is an example of a mob doing something right. My initial response to you was going to be, "Are you illiterate?" but I decided it would be better to keep that to myself.
Response #1: When people gather for a unified, specific purpose upon which they all agree, it is not a mob. Protests, rallies, and demonstrations have 'organizers' who set rules of conduct. The organizers are responsible for the behavior of the group. There are no rules in a mob.
Response #2: In a mob, individuals benefit more than any larger cause. Whether the stated cause is racial equality, women's rights, freedom of speech, social injustice, or climate change, that cause is not served by stealing a big-screen television from Wal-Mart. A social justice activist isn't protesting police brutality when she loads up the trunk of her car with sneakers she boosted from Foot Locker. Nobody looting the CVS was really mourning George Floyd. A mob is always made up of self-serving individuals giving lip service to some 'greater good.'
Despite what you've been told by mob members, mobs don't cause positive social changes. Life in the village does not improve when the mob sets the village on fire. The mob doesn't make anything better because the mob is always, every single time without exception, wrong.