King con:
So how do you lead people to the truth as you see it?  Well maybe use the same technique that leads people to outright lies.  The term Ponzi scheme means selling stock and paying dividends out of the investment.  Ponzi didn’t invent it.  Such schemes had been described by Charles Dickens and Mark Twain.  I suppose it is the con for high rollers.  Smaller scale deceptions pass with little notice.

There was a really big scam that got reviewed (The King of Con Men ECONOMIST vol. 405 no. 8816 December 22, 2012 page 109)  about a con man called Gregor MacGregor, who sold shares and opportunities in an imaginary colony in central America in the 18 hundreds.  This article went far enough to look for the things that make a con scheme work.  Let’s see.

  1. Catch them in a good mood.
  2. Make the pitch aggressive.
  3. Make the dream grandiose.
  4. Find trusting people.
  5. Make them feel like it’s exclusive.
  6. Find greedy people.
  7. Flatter their ethnic identity.
  8. Pursue your own ethnic group.
  9. Access banks.
  10. Play on people’s envy.
  11. Promise lots of money.
  12. Act with flair.
  13. Delude yourself.
  14. Care nothing for what happens to other people.


Evidently I am doing it all wrong.

There is another way to get people’s attention.  The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein became one of the most famous philosophers of his time based on a little book he wrote in 1921 saying, so far as I can tell, nobody knows anything.  All right.  How do you get 75 pages out of that?  Anything you say is something you don’t know anything about.  On top of that, how do you become a great philosopher on the basis of it?  Easy.  He was a billionaire.  Inherited money.  People notice billionaires.  Nihilism has started as a political movement in Russia in 1860 and Nietzsche had romped and stopped over the general issue before the end of the century.  Nobody accuses Wittgenstein of dishonesty, but in my mind those who idolized him at best entered a gray zone.  So we continue:

  1. Inherit a billion bucks.

Then of course there is the founder of Christianity, who is likewise respected by Islam.  In fact the two faiths vary so much internally that I tend to think of them as different collections of denominations within the same religion.  Even my friends who renounce all denominations will tell me, in soothing tones as if to comfort me, “He was a nice guy.  Had some good ideas.”

Well he is reported as having predicted an end of the world that was to have come within the lifetimes of many around him.  Again nobody accuses him of dishonesty, but his admirers kill each other with such fervor that at least some of them must have ventured into a gray zone.  So what was his secret of getting people to listen?  I mean what can I tell the non denominational ones was his secret?  Well for one thing he was king.  Yes, yes, I know this particular king was at the same time a humble carpenter, a thinker, scholar, healer, teacher.  But he was none the less king.  His step father was direct male line descendant of David.  Nobody else I have ever heard of at that time made the same claim.  And he acknowledged the boy.  Hence the boy became king upon the death of his father.

Didn’t get crowned, actually.  But there were plenty who would have set that up if it had been possible.  So:

  1. Be born king. 

Nope.  (Sorry if I offended anybody.  Really didn’t mean to.  Have the highest respect.  The title only refers to that Scot.) 

So no I am not cut out to persuade people.  But I am still obliged to try.

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