Mattias Desmet’s theory of Mass Formation attracted a great deal of attention in 2022. In this review of Desmet’s book, The Psychology of Totalitarianism, we argue that it manifests the psychology of atrocity – and that “Mass Formation” paradoxically serves to legitimize the mass atrocity perpetrated during the Covid-19 era.
This article was written by David Hughes, Valerie Kyrie and Daniel Broudy. It is a guest submission exclusive to Unlimited Hangout.
With the declaration of the pandemic that changed the world in March 2020, an army of thought police descended upon populations worldwide. Overnight, the public face of science was transformed from a civil and civilian endeavor into a matter of law and order. In place of what had formerly emanated from research communities came edicts from government officials, bolstered by celebrity bureaucrats, enforced by censorship, smearing, and coercion, and backed up by riot squads (e.g. here, here, here, here, here, here, and here). In the process, science as previously known, a careful product of time, hypothesis-testing, collective critique, and pertinent subject matter expertise, gave way to The Science™, a kaleidoscopic, ever-changing and capricious set of pseudo-medical justifications for government overreach and violations of citizens’ rights, riding on rolling waves of public messaging and manufactured fear, in keeping with a totalitarian model.
From the earliest days, there were those who could see these developments as dangerous, and those who could not. There were those who saw that the sharp turn away from democracy, due process, and human rights had nothing to do with empirical science whatsoever. And those who did not. The former have been mystified by the latter, and increasingly so as time has passed. Why can’t they see what’s going on?