Well, there were sixty-eight people there, and sixty-two of them had no more
desire to throw a stone than you had.
Oh, it's true. I know your race. It is made up of sheep. It is governed
by minorities, seldom or never by majorities. It suppresses its feelings and
its beliefs and follows the handful that makes the most noise. Sometimes the
noisy handful is right, sometimes wrong; but no matter, the crowd follows it.
The vast majority of the race, whether savage or civilized, are secretly kind-
hearted and shrink from inflicting pain, but in the presence of the aggressive
and pitiless minority they don't dare to assert themselves. Think of it! One
kind-hearted creature spies upon another, and sees to it that he loyally helps
in iniquities which revolt both of them. Speaking as an expert, I know that
ninety-nine out of a hundred of your race were strongly against the killing of
witches when that foolishness was first agitated by a handful of pious lunatics
in the long ago. And I know that even to-day, after ages of transmitted
prejudice and silly teaching, only one person in twenty puts any real heart
into the harrying of a witch. And yet apparently everybody hates witches and
wants them killed. Some day a handful will rise up on the other side and make
the most noise -- perhaps even a single daring man with a big voice and a
determined front will do it -- and in a week all the sheep will wheel and
follow him, and witch-hunting will come to a sudden end.
-- Mark Twain, _The Mysterious Stranger_