söndag 22 maj 2011

Charles Mackay: Madness of Crowds and CO2 Alarmism

In Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds published in 1841, Charles Mackay debunks witch-hunts, alchemy and economic bubbles.

Today Mackay would have been writing about the crowd madness of CO2 alarmism, with the witches being the polluters of CO2, the alchemists the CO2 alarmists and the bubble the green economy.

Mackay said many clever things obviously anticipating CO2 climate alarmism, while giving hope to skeptics of CO2 alarmism:
  • An arrow may fly through the air and leave no trace; but an ill thought leaves a trail like a serpent.
  • Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.
  • Money, again, has often been a cause of the delusion of the multitudes. Sober nations have all at once become desperate gamblers, and risked almost their existence upon the turn of a piece of paper.
  • Aid the dawning, tongue and pen: Aid it, hopes of honest men!
  • He who has mingled in the fray of duty that the brave endure, must have made foes. If you have none, small is the work that you have done.
  • Truth... and if mine eyes Can bear its blaze, and trace its symmetries, Measure its distance, and its advent wait, I am no prophet - I but calculate.

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