DON'T BE THE FIRST ONE TO STOP CLAPPING
One of Solzhenitsyn's most chilling stories concerned a birthday party for Comrade Stalin, held in a small, out-of-the-way town. Stalin was, of course, no where in sight, but still there were speeches and applause. Without thinking, the mayor of the town rose and exhorted his fellows to one last cheer for the evening to the honor of Stalin.
The applause continued for minutes without stopping and everyone was growing weary, but who would dare to be the first to stop clapping? As the labored applause wore on an old man collapsed. Finally the mayor allowed his arms to drop and the noise died. The next evening the mayor was sentenced to the gulag, and no charges were ever spoken against him. As he stepped into the train, a party official whispered into his ear, "Never be the first one to stop clapping."