The Bullshitters, but better.

The Bullshitters, but better.

We Live In The Age of The Bullshitter is an interesting and truthful article about the biggest bullshitters of our time. Musk, Peterson, Steven Pinker, Trump, Dr. Oz and the like.

The author rightly points out how these people do not know much about the world, but their confidence coupled with the clickbaity world we live in and their celebrity status, makes them superstar-influencers.

Elon Musk is the richest man on planet Earth. He is also a complete bullshitter. He makes false claims about the cars he makes. He constantly promises that he is going to accomplish things that he never, in fact, accomplishes. In March 2020, he made the confident COVID-19 prediction that “based on current trends, probably close to zero new cases in US too by end of April.” After convincing cities around the country that his “Boring Company” was going to build tunnels that would alleviate traffic congestion for low, low prices, Musk’s company simply went silent after municipal governments asked it to follow through on its commitments. 

They talk about a recently famous guy named Sam Bankman-Fried who “had committed himself to the “Effective Altruism” movement, which aims to achieve maximal moral goodness through benevolent acts and philanthropy“. He was a crypto-rich-man. Basically the same Musk but instead of playing the money game he was playing the cryptocurrency game. He got caught stealing and lying. He was living like a rich man. You know, all of that.

There are many naive minds out there thinking that you can create honest businesses, you can trade fairly and do good through trading. This is almost never the case as these examples, and millions of others, prove.

Jordan Peterson sells books and makes money out of being so “radical” and yet unscientific. Pinker does the same. But real scientists are the ones you never heard of, the ones that do the work and not sell books and become viral online. To trust these figures is as naive as trusting Dr. Oz.

One of the problems is that for-profit media has a very bad set of incentives. For instance, every time Elon Musk makes some confident prediction about how he is going to implant chips in human brains or build a Mars colony or tunnel under Miami or whatever, tech websites are faced with a choice. They can print a story with the headline “MUSK SAYS BRAIN CHIPS COMING IN SIX MONTHS” or they can ignore Musk’s bluster until he offers proof that he has actually invented one of the things he keeps promising to invent. To ignore Musk is to sacrifice the precious clicks that a new Musk prediction will inevitably garner. Thus a for-profit tech journalism website faces a conflict between its financial self-interest and its integrity. In a time when it’s tough for media outlets to survive, it’s hard to turn down the clicks.

The author tries the waters but does not go for a swim. This is unfortunate because the cause of these issues is in plain sight: our trade based society.

Here’s how it works as an example:

Musk is a trader and does everything he can to maximize his advantage being pushed by this competitive environment of trade. When he buys and sells, and he is also entangled with investors and clients from all sides, he (the man) cannot be unbiased. Thus, he is biased. He will exaggerate the claims about his businesses, lie, deceive, and all of that, to keep himself afloat and to swim in that sea of trades.

The people who follow Musk in his quest, from employees to his Twitter followers, are either forced to follow what he says and do like he does (his employees who have no other choice since they have to trade to survive), or the busy idiots who trade in other ways, keeping themselves busy all the time, not able to digest any information very well or much at all. So they can follow the HE, the man, whatever he says.

So far we have the rich man (the celebrity) and the idiots (the consumed ones). All created by the same trade-based society that keeps us busy and idiots, specialized on one thing (most of the time useless and mindless), and wants us to compete all the time and get better traders.

Lastly we have the media.

Guess what media wants? Same as Elon Musk or his fanboys: more for themselves. More clicks means more views, means more attention trading, means you can transform that into a currency and then stuff. The media is rich and wants to get richer, so it is very well incentivized to publish whatever crap sells. And thus they sell these bullshitters to the consuming idiots. Simple.

The rich-celebrity + the consumer idiots + the for-profit-media = a dumb down society.

Voila. Mystery solved!

All of us are victims of the same system of trade. And as long as we live in the same system, nothing will change.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *