Dilbert’s Scott Adams Explains “How To Know You’re In A Mass Hysteria Bubble”

Authored by Scott Adams via Dilbert blog,

History is full of examples of Mass Hysterias. They happen fairly often. The cool thing about mass hysterias is that you don’t know when you are in one. But sometimes the people who are not experiencing the mass hysteria can recognize when others are experiencing one, if they know what to look for.

I’ll teach you what to look for.

A mass hysteria happens when the public gets a wrong idea about something that has strong emotional content and it triggers cognitive dissonance that is often supported by confirmation bias. In other words, people spontaneously hallucinate a whole new (and usually crazy-sounding) reality and believe they see plenty of evidence for it. The Salem Witch Trials are the best-known example of mass hysteria. The McMartin Pre-School case and the Tulip Bulb hysteria are others. The dotcom bubble probably qualifies. We might soon learn that the Russian Collusion story was mass hysteria in hindsight. The curious lack of solid evidence for Russian collusion is a red flag. But we’ll see how that plays out.

The most visible Mass Hysteria of the moment involves the idea that the United States intentionally elected a racist President. If that statement just triggered you, it might mean you are in the Mass Hysteria bubble. The cool part is that you can’t fact-check my claim you are hallucinating if you are actually hallucinating. But you can read my description of the signs of mass hysteria and see if you check off the boxes.

If you’re in the mass hysteria, recognizing you have all the symptoms of hysteria won’t help you be aware you are in it. That’s not how hallucinations work. Instead, your hallucination will automatically rewrite itself to expel any new data that conflicts with its illusions.

But if you are not experiencing mass hysteria, you might be totally confused by the actions of the people who are. They appear to be irrational, but in ways that are hard to define. You can’t tell if they are stupid, unscrupulous, ignorant, mentally ill, emotionally unstable or what. It just looks frickin’ crazy.

The reason you can’t easily identify what-the-hell is going on in the country right now is that a powerful mass hysteria is in play.

If you see the signs after I point them out, you’re probably not in the hysteria bubble.

 

If you read this and do NOT see the signs, it probably means you’re trapped inside the mass hysteria bubble.

Here are some signs of mass hysteria. This is my own take on it, but I welcome you to fact-check it with experts on mass hysteria.

1. The trigger event for cognitive dissonance

On November 8th of 2016, half the country learned that everything they believed to be both true and obvious turned out to be wrong. The people who thought Trump had no chance of winning were under the impression they were smart people who understood their country, and politics, and how things work in general. When Trump won, they learned they were wrong. They were so very wrong that they reflexively (because this is how all brains work) rewrote the scripts they were seeing in their minds until it all made sense again. The wrong-about-everything crowd decided that the only way their world made sense, with their egos intact, is that either the Russians helped Trump win or there are far more racists in the country than they imagined, and he is their king. Those were the seeds of the two mass hysterias we witness today.

Trump supporters experienced no trigger event for cognitive dissonance when Trump won. Their worldview was confirmed by observed events.

2. The Ridiculousness of it 

One sign of a good mass hysteria is that it sounds bonkers to anyone who is not experiencing it. Imagine your neighbor telling you he thinks the other neighbor is a witch. Or imagine someone saying the local daycare provider is a satanic temple in disguise. Or imagine someone telling you tulip bulbs are more valuable than gold. Crazy stuff.

Compare that to the idea that our president is a Russian puppet. Or that the country accidentally elected a racist who thinks the KKK and Nazis are “fine people.” Crazy stuff.

If you think those examples don’t sound crazy – regardless of the reality – you are probably inside the mass hysteria bubble.

3. The Confirmation Bias

If you are inside the mass hysteria bubble, you probably interpreted President Trump’s initial statement on Charlottesville – which was politically imperfect to say the least – as proof-positive he is a damned racist.

If you are outside the mass hysteria bubble you might have noticed that President Trump never campaigned to be our moral leader. He presented himself as – in his own words “no angel” – with a set of skills he offered to use in the public’s interest. He was big on law and order, and equal justice under the law. But he never offered moral leadership. Voters elected him with that knowledge. Evidently, Republicans don’t depend on politicians for moral leadership. That’s probably a good call.

When the horror in Charlottesville shocked the country, citizens instinctively looked to their president for moral leadership. The president instead provided a generic law and order statement. Under pressure, he later named specific groups and disavowed the racists. He was clearly uncomfortable being our moral lighthouse. That’s probably why he never described his moral leadership as an asset when running for office. We observe that he has never been shy about any other skill he brings to the job, so it probably isn’t an accident when he avoids mentioning any ambitions for moral leadership. If he wanted us to know he would provide that service, I think he would have mentioned it by now.

If you already believed President Trump is a racist, his weak statement about Charlottesville seems like confirmation. But if you believe he never offered moral leadership, only equal treatment under the law, that’s what you saw instead. And you made up your own mind about the morality. 

The tricky part here is that any interpretation of what happened could be confirmation bias. But ask yourself which one of these versions sounds less crazy:

1. A sitting president, who is a branding expert, thought it would be a good idea to go easy on murderous Nazis as a way to improve his popularity.

 

or…

 

2. The country elected a racist leader who is winking to the KKK and White Supremacists that they have a free pass to start a race war now.

 

or…

 

3. A mentally unstable racist clown with conman skills (mostly just lying) eviscerated the Republican primary field and won the presidency. He keeps doing crazy, impulsive racist stuff. But for some reason, the economy is going well, jobs are looking good, North Korea blinked, ISIS is on the ropes, and the Supreme Court got a qualified judge. It was mostly luck.

 

or…

 

4. The guy who didn’t offer to be your moral leader didn’t offer any moral leadership, just law and order, applied equally. His critics cleverly and predictably framed it as being soft on Nazis.

One of those narratives is less crazy-sounding than the others. That doesn’t mean the less-crazy one has to be true. But normal stuff happens far more often than crazy stuff. And critics will frame normal stuff as crazy whenever they get a chance.

4. The Oversized Reaction

It would be hard to overreact to a Nazi murder, or to racists marching in the streets with torches. That stuff demands a strong reaction. But if a Republican agrees with you that Nazis are the worst, and you threaten to punch that Republican for not agreeing with you exactly the right way, that might be an oversized reaction. 

5. The Insult without supporting argument

When people have actual reasons for disagreeing with you, they offer those reasons without hesitation. Strangers on social media will cheerfully check your facts, your logic, and your assumptions. But when you start seeing ad hominem attacks that offer no reasons at all, that might be a sign that people in the mass hysteria bubble don’t understand what is wrong with your point of view except that it sounds more sensible than their own. 

For the past two days I have been disavowing Nazis on Twitter. The most common response from the people who agree with me is that my comic strip sucks and I am ugly.

*  *  *

The mass hysteria signals I described here are not settled science, or anything like it. This is only my take on the topic, based on personal observation and years of experience with hypnosis and other forms of persuasion.

I present this filter on the situation as the first step in dissolving the mass hysteria. It isn’t enough, but more persuasion is coming.

If you are outside the mass hysteria bubble, you might see what I am doing in this blog as a valuable public service.

 

If you are inside the mass hysteria bubble, I look like a Nazi collaborator.

How do I look to you?

*  *  *

Adams wrote a book about how to persuade yourself to success. Based on reader comments, it is working. His upcoming book, Win Bigly, tells you how to persuade others. (For good.) That comes out October 31st.


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The Real Story Behind Goldman’s Q2 Trading Loss: How A $100M Gas Bet Went Awry

Goldman Sach’s FICC-trading income was a notable blemish on an otherwise strong second-quarter earnings report. And while the FDIC-backed hedge fund initially blamed the decline on lower trading revenues, there was obviously more to the story. Now, the Wall Street Journal has uncovered what really happened: A $100 million bet on regional natural-gas prices went awry after production problems at a local pipeline sent prices soaring, decimating Goldman’s short position.

“Goldman wagered that gas prices in the Marcellus Shale in Ohio and Pennsylvania would rise with the construction of new pipelines to carry gas out of the region, said people familiar with the matter. Instead, prices there fell sharply in May and June as a key pipeline ran into problems.”

More specifically…

“Goldman’s key miscalculation last quarter was betting that natural-gas prices in the Marcellus Shale would rise relative to the national benchmark price in Louisiana known as the Henry Hub, the people familiar with the matter said.”

The quarter was the worst ever for the bank’s commodities unit, which, as WSJ notes, has been one of the firm’s most consistent profit centers, and a training ground for many of its top executives, including Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein. The trading loss “extended a broader slump at a company once known as Wall Street’s savviest gambler.”

Goldman shares fell 2.6% on the day of the report, which analysts largely attributed to the miss in trading revenues, despite a stronger-than-expected bottom-line profit.

The investment bank has held on to its commodities-trading business even as most other American banks exited following the financial crisis. It is currently the seventh-largest market maker for natural gas in North America, larger than some energy giants like Exxon Mobil. According to WSJ, trading oil, metals and other physical commodities is increasingly dominated by smaller firms like Glencore PLC and Gunvor Group Ltd. that don’t face as much government regulation.

“The loss highlights the trade-offs Goldman made in sticking with the risky commodities-trading business, even as other large banks retreated following the financial crisis. Goldman is the seventh-biggest marketer of natural gas in North America, up from 13th in 2011, according to Natural Gas Intelligence—bigger than U.S. energy giants such as Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chesapeake Energy Corp. It has been the only U.S. bank in the top 20 since 2013, when J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. left the business.”

WSJ explains that Goldman’s position would've produced a profit if a pipeline being built to carry natural gas out of the Midwest had been completed on time. Instead, it faced multiple delays after a series of fluid spills and the accidental bulldozing of a historic Ohio home.

“Essentially, it was a bet on the timely completion of pipelines under construction to ferry a glut of gas out of the region.

 

But one of those pipelines ran into trouble this spring: the 713-mile Rover, which would transport gas from the Marcellus to the Midwest and beyond.

 

Its developer, Energy Transfer Partners, in February bulldozed a historic Ohio home without notifying regulators, and scrambled to finish clearing trees before the roosting season for a protected bat species. In May, federal regulators barred Energy Transfer from drilling on some segments of the route after a series of fluid spills.

 

The first leg of the pipeline, which had been set to come online in July, isn’t expected until at least September. Energy Transfer said it has “been working efficiently and nonstop to remediate” problems and expects to have the entire pipeline operational in January.”

In all likelihood, part of Goldman’s short position was accumulated to offset the risk-management needs of the bank’s clients, WSJ reported. Goldman’s counterparties, the drillers operating in the Marcellus shale, reported strong gains in their derivatives books.

“Goldman was in part likely catering to gas producers in the region that wanted to lock in steadier revenue through swaps and other contracts. Many Marcellus drillers reported big gains in the value of their derivatives portfolios in the second quarter—meaning their trading partners lost money in that period, at least on paper.”

Of course, the bank’s executives would have you believe the loss was solely the result of Goldman fulfilling its duty to help its clients manage risk, and that the bank’s trades didn’t violate the Volcker Rule (a ban on proprietary trading that was part of Dodd-Frank). As WSJ notes, whether or not a trade violates the Volcker rule depends on who initiated it, how long the bank held the position, and myriad other factors.

But with President Donald Trump in the White House, soon Goldman will be empowered to take more trading risks, for better or worse.


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‘Art Of The Deal’ Co-Author Slams “Racist” Trump, Says “Endgame Is On, Amazed If He Survives Til Year-End””

Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

Tony Schwartz, the man who co-authored Art of the Deal with Donald Trump in 1987, now says that the President will likely resign before the end of the year.

In a series of Tweets earlier this week Schwartz showed his disdain for the President and echoed the sentiments of top Democrats who have claimed that Trump will either be impeached or voluntarily step away from the Presidency:

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There seems to be a renewed interest from Democrats who are actively working on articles of impeachment that could lead to the President’s removal from office. And though such a move would require a majority vote in the House of Representatives and two-thirds of the Senate, it appears that many Congressional Republicans are now publicly speaking out against the President, suggesting that such a measure could have legs.

Coupled with an”independent” investigation targeting the President as well as members of his administration and former business partners, it is becoming ever more likely that, as Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robery Kiyosaki recently noted, they are going to find something.

While author Tony Schwartz has an obvious beef to pick with the President and may simply be pandering to the liberal left, the pressure being put on Trump could force him to resign in order to avoid impeachment and/or criminal charges, whether real or imagined.

The war to take out Trump’s closest lieutenants has been raging since before he was even sworn in and will continue until the goals of The Deep State have been accomplished.

As Brandon Smith of Alt Market has warned, Donald Trump may well be first used as a scapegoat by the elite in order to usher in the next phase of crisis and a reorganization of the global order:

I have been warning since long before the election that Trump’s presidency would be the perfect vehicle for central banks and international financiers to divert blame for the economic crisis that would inevitably explode once the Fed moved firmly into interest rate hikes. Every indication since my initial prediction shows that this is the case.

 

The media was building the foundation of the narrative from the moment Trump won the election. Bloomberg was quick to publish its rather hilariously skewed propaganda on the matter, asserting that Trump was lucky to inherit an economy in ascendance and recovery because of the fiscal ingenuity of Barack Obama. This is of course utter nonsense.

 

Obama and the Fed have created a zombie economy rotting from the inside out, nothing more. But, as Bloomberg noted rightly, any downturn within the system will indeed be blamed on the Trump administration.

 

Fortune Magazine, adding to the narrative, outlined the view that the initial stock rally surrounding Trump’s election win was merely setting the stage for a surprise market crash.

 

I continue to go one further than the mainstream media and say that the Trump administration is a giant cement shoe designed (deliberately) to drag conservatives and conservative principles down into the abyss as we are blamed by association for the financial calamity that will occur on Trump’s watch.

If Smith is correct, and all signs seem to be pointing to such a scenario, Trump will blamed for what will likely be the most epic financial collapse in world history. Once those goals are accomplished, a push to remove him from office may become reality.


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