I Was the Mob Until the Mob Came for Me by Barrett Wilson

Greg Ellis reads I Was the Mob Until the Mob Came for Me, Barrett Wilson’s essay about how he went from being a respected social justice crusader to driving for a food delivery app after being targeted by online activists on Twitter. It was published in Quillette on 14th July 2018.


  1. Heike says

    If it were up to me, I would make that piece required reading on every university campus in America. Twitter and Facebook have a lot to answer for.

    “How did I become that person? It happened because it was exhilarating. Every time I would call someone racist or sexist, I would get a rush. That rush would then be reaffirmed and sustained by the stars, hearts, and thumbs-up that constitute the nickels and dimes of social media validation. The people giving me these stars, hearts, and thumbs-up were engaging in their own cynical game: A fear of being targeted by the mob induces us to signal publicly that we are part of it.”

    Right along with Haidt’s talk on the moral roots of leftists and conservatives. I absolutely love the charts at the beginning showing how people order and rate the 5 morality channels within the political spectrum. It explains SO much about why people act the way they do when politics becomes involved in an argument.

  2. Num num says

    And the punch line is: “A fear of being targeted by the mob induces us to signal publicly that we are part of it.”

    A deep insight! Such fear-driven behavior probably underlies the “NPC” phenomenon… blending into the mob by exactly replicating it is a personal-safety strategy. So trying to reason with such a mental captive is hopeless from the start. They are not saying x, y and z because they believe they are logical a priori, but because such mindless replication is percieved to reduce their personal risk in the social setting they find themselves.

  3. Free speech warrior says

    Okay. I sympathize with him. But he never said what exactly he did, which undermines the plausibility of his story.

  4. Free speech warrior says

    What did he say that led to microaggression accusations?

    • Harland says

      Repeating the accusations would immediately identify him. That defeats the purpose of an anonymous article. He doesn’t want the torture to start again. Once was enough for him, he’s been intimidated into silence. Just as the SJW mob wanted.

      • free speech warrior says

        Nah, he could generalize. Or maybe he is that dumb (to not be able to generalize and give us a hint), and he also said really dumb stuff to get fired. The story is kinda unbelievable because it makes you use your imagination to think he made a few jokes about trans people (in the abstract) or something (before it really became a thing to treat them as normal), when chances are he said stuff even worse than that.

  5. Steven Hallstead says

    The story is his truth. Wether you think it or he is dumb doesn’t change that. I love these Quillette Narrated articles. I encourage all my students to listen to them. I have heard them discussing their opinions after listening to them, and opening up their worldview.

    I believe Quillette is onto something here. I think more online magazines will start vocalizing their pieces. It’s such a creative and artistic medium and gives voice to the writer. And that’s got to be good.

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