The madness of crowds

Review of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay.

We are living through some very silly times right now. From 2013, the Woke movement swept up many and in 2020, what little sanity we had left went out the window.

That’s normal.

Writing in 1841, long before many well-known bouts of hysteria, Charles looks further back into history and sees a pattern in our madness.

The most fascinating aspect of these accounts is how familiar they are. Forget smartphones and social media; we’ve always been like this.

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A loftier blog

I recently visited the old dame of Australian conservative writing, Quadrant.

Allegedly established with CIA money by one of the perpetrators of the Ern Malley hoax, for a long time it reflected anti-communist and anti-progressive thought in the Old Country. Its writers, often former communists themselves, penned screeds against the obsession of the left-wing media with its pet, Triple-R issues: Aboriginal reconciliation, the republic and refugees.

Quadrant’s left-wing counterpoint is The Monthly, which mostly writes about Aboriginal issues and refugees. The republic now takes a back seat to modern Woke obsessions. I think the new R word is race but gender also gets a look in depending upon the fashion of the day.

I hoped to find something intellectually stimulating in Quadrant but instead found it repeating the catechisms of mainstream conservatism: crazy Woke nonsense on campus is crazy Woke nonsense, global warming is bunk, Covid is overblown, plus endless, dull squid ink on the perpetual History Wars regarding Aborigines.

That 2% of the population seems to occupy 20% of the words ever written by white intellectuals on both sides, which is funny because few Aborigines will read a word of it.

Oh, and they obsess over ABC bias of course.

Tell us something we don’t know. This is stodgy, middle-brow stuff that we can hear in 3-minute format from Andrew Bolt on YouTube. [Edit: that link no longer works because Sky News just shitcanned him.]

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