Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Russiagate


It's been a long time since I've read Charles Mackay's Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (or excerpts from it -- it's been so long that I don't remember which!), so I'll just rely on a snip from the Wikipedia summary:

Witch trials in 16th- and 17th-century Western Europe are the primary focus of the "Witch Mania" section of the book, which asserts that this was a time when ill fortune was likely to be attributed to supernatural causes. Mackay notes that many of these cases were initiated as a way of settling scores among neighbors or associates, and that extremely low standards of evidence were applied to most of these trials.

As applied to witches, that dynamic apparently resulted in quite a few stretched necks, burned corpses, etc.

As applied to Russians, well, the hysterical ninnies and the demagogues (it's not always easy to tell who is which) are getting faster and louder with their bizarre comparisons of some "Help Jesus Beat Hillary" Facebook ads to Pearl Harbor and 9/11 (for example, here and here and here and here).

Which, if people don't CALM THE FUCK DOWN, could eventually end up producing a much higher body count.

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