mob :  1688, “disorderly part of the population, rabble,” slang shortening of mobile, mobility “common people, populace, rabble” (1676), from L. mobile vulgus “fickle common people” (1600), from mobile, neut. of mobilis “fickle, movable, mobile,” from movere “to move” (see move).

via Online Etymology Dictionary.

It’s useful to look at the origin of words.  The term “mob” dates back to the 17th century, in the time when England was chopping off the heads of its kings, and a new middle class was forming.

The aristocracy was unhappy.  You see, this middle class, people who were moving from the lower class to the middle class, had very strange ideas about things like “rights” and “commerce”.  Why, if the king decided that he needed a few million pounds to go fight another war with France, he was accustomed to just taxing everyone who had money until he had enough for a war.  But now this Mobile Middle Class, the mob, had different ideas. They thought that the king had done enough adventuring on the Continent, and they were just fine not paying any more taxes, thank you very much.

This is the mob that started by shortening Charles the First’s rule by about, oh, ten inches and ended up running James II out of England, writing up the Revolutionary Settlement (with such wacky parts as the Englishman’s Bill of Rights) and establishing a Prime Minister with absolutely no royal blood at all.  The nerve!

And now the mob is at it again.  Not content to finance Our Betters’ wild expensive adventures, it is once again rising up, saying no more taxes, and down with kings.

You want to call us a mob?  You’re goddamned right that we’re The Mob.  We are the Mobility, and we’re rising up.


  1. Stormy Dragon says:

    Of course, the mob’s objection to Charles the First had as much to do with religion as with politics, and the replacement government ended up being even worse. Then again, the political movement that spoke of liberty when out of power but then imposed the Puritan Cromwell regime is the perfect metaphor for the current Republican party.

  2. Phelps says:

    I’m sure Charles’ last thought was, “well this isn’t a sustainable system.”

  3. Kristin says:

    “I’m sure Charles’ last thought was, “well this isn’t a sustainable system.”

    ^^^ I loled.

    BTW, Meet the Press spoke about the comment you left over at Shawn’s about the unemployment rate and the flip side of it.

  4. mexigogue says:

    Etymology rocks!!!!!

  5. Phelps says:

    Well, K, when I’m backed up by right-wing bastions like… uh… Salon, then maybe that means something: