As the old proverb goes, “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.” This has been true since the dawn of time. There’s strength in numbers. And bullies are notorious for running in packs and using their numbers to intimidate targets.
However, there’s a reason that goes much deeper than strength or power.
Social science has proved that comradeship is born when two or more people can find something (or someone)they dislike- a common enemy they can all share a passionate dislike for. And if members of the group do not feel they can get solidarity any other way, they will find and/or create an enemy against who they can all unite.
Simply put, they single out and harass a certain person for group cohesion purposes- to facilitate camaraderie among the other bullies in the group.
Put another way, they use their victim as a vehicle for interaction, ingratiation, and bonding. Uniting against an enemy ensures group solidarity. Each member takes turns bullying the victim because they know it’s expected of them by the rest of the pack. Therefore they commit the harassment to ‘fit in’ and get rewards of group unity at the victim’s expense.
Today, we call this “pack mentality” or “herd mentality.” And sadly, most people will do anything, right or wrong, to follow the rest of the herd.