Extraordinary Popular Delusions—The Madness of Crowds

by Glenn R. Geist

And the Madness of Crowds.

First published in England in 1841, Extraordinary Popular Delusions by Charles Mackay became a prescient classic that explored and documented the “madness of crowds” It’s a book so topical and appropriate to our times it begs to be read, and fortunately, you can buy the e-book on Amazon for 49 cents.

“The Trump Era seems to be a fertile breeding ground for the illusion of knowledge.”

Writes Richard Wooley at CNN.com today as Facebook announces that they are essentially throwing Alex Jones off a cliff. It’s certainly about time unless you believe that 2000 children a year really are being shipped to Mars as sex slaves.

“What we do know is: there’s a coverup going on…”

…growls Jones talking about his assertion that the recent Florida school shooting was faked by actors. but there’s no evidence and a mountain of improbability, yet our hunger for the status of secret knowledge holder is insatiable. Everyone wants to be a prophet and everyone wants to be able to talk down to and denigrate others. People like Jones make it easy.

“What we do know…” says Alex, whose blog gets three million hits a month.

It’s a little gift to those who know nothing but want to hide it. Collecting and protecting these wildly delusional opinions is

“an easy way for people to feel like experts in in topics they know nothing about…”

…writes Wooley That’s a large and growing group because the world is changing fast.  There are those who still lament the changes brought about since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and how comforting to the perplexed that Trump says he can bring back coal jobs as coal fades away and the remaining jobs are done by robots and the public is unwilling to live with the filth.

Steel jobs are coming back as US Steel builds 6 new mills tweets the President.

No they aren’t and those jobs he claims to have saved went away nor are they building cars in Racine, Wisconsin.  But who would puncture their own life raft with pointed questions?  It’s like the paleolithic man afraid of those noises in the night listening to the shaman telling him it’s all right as long as he sacrifices part of every hunt – to the shaman.

Comfortable solutions – a plausible story and an anecdote ( truth optional.) Balm to the suffering and the ignorant. It’s like religion: something to take the fear of change and the unknown away.

Why question and why risk having to change your mind by allowing others to question and point to the truth?  Invent an enemy and associate critical thinking with that enemy – focus the fear and turn it to anger and “lock her up” becomes the war cry of the gleefully oppressed.

We know Trump’s got our back,” says a recent Florida TV commercial. That’s just where he sticks the knife.

In Case You Missed It: Crazy Alex Jones: Dems Want to Brutally Murder and Rape Children 

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Posted by on August 7, 2018. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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7 Responses to Extraordinary Popular Delusions—The Madness of Crowds

  1. Michael John Scott Reply

    August 7, 2018 at 9:31 am

    Yesterday, while on my customary morning walk, I saw three people wearing MAGA hats. Each was smoking a cigarette, was unshaven, and driving a piece of shit car. Back in the day, when I was on patrol, this look fit a certain profile, and we identified each as being a “shitbum” who bore watching. Perhaps that’s an unfair, sweeping characterization, but it is what it is. I see this look as representing a cross-section of Trump supporters.

  2. Ron Reed Reply

    August 7, 2018 at 11:07 am

    I’ve never seen a hat-wearing MAGA that didn’t look like they crawled out of the muck. I know that’s a naive statement, because there are millions of otherwise decent folk that support him, but, they aren’t really visible are they?

  3. jess Reply

    August 7, 2018 at 11:16 am

    Many people are saying, some say, I heard from x people… all things dolt45 says to keep his uninformed or low info rubes in check. Oh and Ron, there are not decent people supporting him at all. If you chose to vote with and for a racist, sexist fuck then you are condoning those actions and behaviors and you are deplorable not decent imo.

  4. Glenn R. Geist Reply

    August 7, 2018 at 11:17 am

    No doubt the MAGAmorons constitute some kind of underclass, th ekind of people that are grasping at straws and looking for something that elevates them in their own minds, but the motivations of his other supports escapes me, but the book in question discusses just that – what makes millions, whole countries and even civilizations become suddenly obsessed with something that can be totally illusory or obviously untrue lose all sense and sometimes destroy themselves and many innocents in pursuit of it. It seems to be part of human nature.

  5. Glenn R. Geist Reply

    August 7, 2018 at 11:20 am

    In reading the history of nations, we find that, like individuals, they have their whims and their peculiarities; their seasons of excitement and recklessness, when they care not what
    they do. We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.

    -Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, 1841-

    • Michael John Scott Reply

      August 7, 2018 at 1:24 pm

      I need to read this book. He just described what’s happening now, and he did it over a hundred years ago.

  6. Glenn R. Geist Reply

    August 8, 2018 at 9:37 am

    I’ve argued with more than one psychologist about the existence of contagious madness – and a long time before I heard of Mr. Mackay. I never got anywhere with the idea, but I think history lists too many examples to count.

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