Fear of Police and the Collectivist Mentality

In my previous posted I promised a followup post describing an observation I made at the OccupyMN event. Namely that there is a high level of paranoia amongst occupiers that other occupiers may be government plants or informants. I find this mentality fascinating and I’m not sure if this is due to the occupiers living in a police state already or if it’s a side effect of the collectivist mentality. I’m leaning towards the latter as the same mentality doesn’t seem to run through various tea party gathers.

Saying such concerns is a potential side effect of collectivist thinking is a rather bold statement without some explanation. If you look at the history of collectivist societies such as the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, or Cambodia under Pol Pot you’ll notice they always end up becoming police states at some point. Part of this is because collectivism requires members of the society to think alike. As soon as you have members whom with to diverge from the collectivist society norms problems rise up. Most collectivist societies started indoctrinating children at a very young at and either arrested dissidents as enemies of the people or just outright killed them. This type of atmosphere breeds paranoia as everybody is told to watch everybody else. When your government is telling you to spy on your neighbor and visa versa the only outcome and be extreme paranoia.

During the OccupyMN meetings I’ve attended I’ve noticed many accusations being thrown around proclaiming another occupier as a police informant or government plant. Hell I’ve been accused of being a plant, although that’s kind of funny because if I’m a plant I’m a pretty poor one (the way I dress when I go to the OccupyMN event makes me stick out like a sore thumb). One lady to left the tent committee meeting in a huff Friday night was instantly accused of going to the police. I’ve also noticed a couple of occupiers informing others to watch so-and-so because he or she is likely a snitch. These accusations seem to be tossed at anybody who isn’t willing to perfectly conform to the “collective.” I’d be shocked if a secret committee hasn’t been established to weed out snitches and plants.

In a collectivist society the most destructive accusation that can be made is usually one of non-conformity. Collectivists fear being ostracized from society and fear people not part of the collective infiltrating and propagandizing against the collective. Therefore accusing somebody of being a snitch would be an accusation that the target isn’t a member of the collective. The accusation could be seen as incredibly destructive by members of the collective and a good way to silence those who disagree with you.

This will be something I’ll invest some more time into researching.