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P.T. Barnum Knew It

source: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/doj-intervenes-in-case-challenging-illinois-coronavirus-restrictions

Why are people so malleable?  Or perhaps, the less polite question is, why are people so gullible?  Has this always been so, or is this a phenomenon of today’s internet and fake news environment?

A guy who knew that gullibility was an immutable fact of human nature was P.T. Barnum.  For those too young to know who this guy was,  Barnum was a American character who lived in the 19th century and who took great advantage of his unique insights into this ubiquitous frailty of human nature.  Barnum did a lot of things in his life including author, philanthropist and politician.  What he was most famous for however, was his career as a showman and the Barnum and Bailey circus was his signature life legacy.

He is widely credited with the famous line of “there’s a sucker born every minute” and thus many of his attractions at his entertainment shows included improbable acts and exaggerated freaks which he charged people to see.  Today of course, such individuals are mainstream.  For example, the bearded lady is now the chief health officer of Pennsylvania.

This predilection to naivete by the public has been capitalized upon by many shrewd operators since Barnum’s time, notably by those in the entertainment industry; by politicians and of course by the modern news media.  Oddly the capacity to be fooled seems to be endless since none of the ‘tricks’ employed by the noted groups have substantially changed over the generations.

In the case of the entertainment racket, they at least try to put out some new variations of the same themes, but in politics and with the majority of today’s mainstream news, they don’t even bother to go through the motions of obfuscation.  They just make things up out of whole cloth!  At least while Barnum was feeding the public his versions of reality, there was always some nugget of plausibility to his presentations.

The recent fiasco which has been the handling of the covid flu, billed as biblical in scale by every mainstream news outlet, has lifted the curtain on them to definitively expose that….they really don’t know what they’re talking about and that they’re just making things up as they go along.

Of course, the usual suspects, the New York Times and the Washington Post were the very worst in their breathless reportage of death rates to infinity and spreading hysterical narratives of gloves, masks, distancing, isolation and toxic surfaces….most tactics of which are currently being debunked. The media are not just crying wolf, they have created a three act musical of the hysteria.  The narratives by these media outlets have proved to be demonstrably erroneous, yet the public naively consumes them like P.T. Barnum sideshows. As an aside, it’s interesting to note that so many ‘health’ experts look about as healthy as a 3 week banana.

This news coverage of this recent imminent disaster  places the climate change imminent disaster back to page 2 of their permanent bleats about the end of the world.  World hunger and  AIDS has been pushed way to the back pages. You’d think people would get Armageddon fatigue.

Meanwhile, power drunk politicians enforced arbitrary tyrannical dictates upon their subjects under the cover of public security.  Hairdressers are thrown in jail, while inmates are released so as not to suffer Covid infection.  People are allowed to stand on wet sand, but not dry sand.  No canoeing in the ocean.  You can line up at Wal Mart and Home Depot but not at the local donut shop which had to remain closed.  People being arrested for not wearing their masks properly or for sitting in their cars.  Long standing businesses and livelihoods are ruined forever and the mental stress impact is immeasurable.  Yet the idiots get elected again and again.

There will be lots of psychology books written in the future looking back at this dystopian moment in history.  People will wonder how could a population of sane people have allowed this to happen?  It’s very reminiscent of the murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964 New York.  As the poor  woman was being murdered in front of her apartment in Queens, not one person came to her aid despite her loud screams as she was being killed.  In interviews afterwards, people said that they didn’t want to get involved and they thought that someone else would intervene.

It looks like we’re starting to see more and more pushback from regular people who refuse to stand by and suffer by irrational dictates. They are refusing to buy the hysterical narrative pushed upon them. They are refusing to stand by and rely on others to intervene. It’s surprising that it hasn’t happened sooner and in greater numbers, especially in America.  Perhaps it’s a lot to expect that people will finally reach an epiphany about the real roles of media and government in this sad period, but there’s always hope.

Old P.T. was only after people’s money with his charades.  Continuing to swallow the narratives of the media and politicos will cost people a lot more than that.

 

 

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