People have often been willing to give up personal identity and join into a collective. Historically, that propensity has usually been very bad news. Collectives tend to be mean, to designate official enemies, to be violent, and to discourage creative, rigorous thought. Fascists, communists, religious cults, criminal “families” — there has been no end to the varieties of human collectives, but it seems to me that these examples have quite a lot in common. I wonder if some aspect of human nature evolved in the context of competing packs. We might be genetically wired to be vulnerable to the lure of the mob.

Jaron Lanier

What struck me was the contrast between Lanier’s view of collectivism and the more standard romantic notions of collectivism. Lanier’s view is that institutional arrangements that place checks on mob rule are highly valuable, while institutional arrangements that encourage mob rule are dangerous.