The French Revolution did not invent the mob, but it did perhaps invent the political mob. Or at least the mob as a tool of those with a political agenda. The French Revolution led to chaos, mass murder and eventually tyranny. The mob’s record has not improved since then.
The Communist and National Socialist gangs who battled it out on the streets of Weimar Germany were the direct descendants of the thuggish sans-culottes of the French Revolution. The appearance of the mob rarely leads to happy results. The mob is essentially fascistic. Violence and intimidation are its methods. Mobs represent the triumph of irrationality and hate. Those who believe in democracy, free debate and political freedom are the victims of mobs, not the instigators. Those who see mobs as demonstrations of “people power” inhabit a dream world.
The student radicals of the 60s were part of the same historical pattern. Once again their methods were violence and intimidation. They were not motivated by a desire for open debate. Their objective was to shut down opposition, not to promote the free exchange of ideas. They were the instruments of the hard left.
The hard left has always gravitated towards political thuggery. They have routinely used mobs as a weapon against freedom of speech. Indeed they have played a major part in transforming universities into bastions of intolerance where dissent is ruthlessly suppressed.
The most recent descendants of the Revolutionary mob are the thugs of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The only real difference is that the OWS mobs are dirtier than most. They are as fascistic as their forebears.
The reason that Tea Party rallies do not descend into thuggery is that violence and intimidation are not the natural weapons of those who believe in freedom. They are the natural weapons of those behind the Occupy Wall Street movement. Unwashed hippies are always fascists at heart.