explicitClick to confirm you are 18+

Social Death Spiral The Rise of Charlatanism

jibbajJun 27, 2019, 6:02:55 AM

The term charlatan is one that is not commonly used now a days. Most of the time snake oil salesman is used in it's place, but it is one that should be making a come back since the amount of people who it can be applied to is growing at an extreme rate. A charlatan is someone who proclaims to be an expert when in reality they're not. In olden times these people where the ones who would be trying to sell cures to the sick or they would attempt to be advisers to nobility. In a more contemporary context, these people are grandstanding or they are attempting to make the identity for themselves which they want to be true more concrete. If there is a malicious intent behind it is up for debate but it does seem to be something that is more tied into technology and politically correct culture then playing the role of a con-man. 

The University of Google

Search engines are used by everyone, it doesn't matter what class the person may belong to it is a staple of every day life now. Without using them it would be very difficult to navigate the cyber realm and it would also make conducting research a much more time consuming task. Despite the usefulness of this technology there do exist pitfalls that the vast majority of users are not aware of. It's the same kind of irony that exists when someone is complaining capitalism while using an iPhone. 

Many people consider a quick Google search is all they need to do in order to figure whether or not some thing is true. What ever the top result or what is shown to them right off the bat is the correct answer that they need. This comes from not understanding that a search engine is nothing more then a tool and like any tool it takes a little bit of time to figure out the best way to use it. 

Search engines have to major flaws with them when it comes to research. The first is that search results are customized for the user jumping on to use it. Depending on what the meta-data with your browsing history you can end up have very different results then someone else. This creates a similar type of echo chamber that you find with social media, the only real difference is that search engine echo chambers are rarely brought up in conversation. The customized search results serve two purposes, the first is to increase the user experience. The more accurate the results are in regrades to a person views the more likely they are to keep using your service. The other reason for customized search results is to make it easier for marketers to reach people who might be interested in the product being sold. If for example you are more of a dog person then a cat person, having ads promoting cat food to you isn't going to spark your interest very much.

The other issue that comes with using a search engine as your reference source is how websites end up at the top of Google. There is no team or bot that is going through and checking for accuracy or making sure that is being shown isn't some piece of propaganda. It all falls down to what kind of meta-data is being used on the website and the amount of links that are going back to the website in question. The less spammy these links are the more trustworthy Google is going to view the website. This is the idea that SEO is based around and why for many people looking to do business online have this as part of their marketing plan. With no fact checking or anything like that going on, you have to take the extra time to double check everything that you are reading while also pushing your own personal biases a side. This is something the average person isn't willing to do since it would cut into the time they spend watching cat videos or doing the orange man bad routine. 


Wikipedia is one of the sites that everyone goes to when they want answers fast. It is an ever growing data base of information that has a growth rate that is faster then people can keep up with when it comes to double checking everything that is posted. View that task in the same light as attempting to count every grain of sand on a beach. No matter how far you get with the task you are never going to be complete it. 

With the amount of new posts going onto the website and the current culture war Wikipedia has become a new battle ground that most people aren't aware of. Pages that are deemed to not fit into the PC narrative tend to be written in a fashion that makes it seem like there is a conspiracy going on. Cultural Marxism is a proper example of this. Sources are cited on pages like this but if you click the links and double check the source you are going to find that many of these sources are either incorrect or they have a other goal in mind. That's not to say every post that goes up falls into this group but it is something that you have to be mindful of and take the extra time to ensure that you are getting the right knowledge that you are looking for. 

Misguided Views

There are many other factors that could be at work when it comes to people who may have the persona of the charlatan. Social media and the moral grandstanding culture, the hyper focus on labels and the generations being brought up on the concept that they are perfect are all factors that should be considered when thinking about this topic. 

If you find yourself running into someone like this the thing you have to remember is that they are going to try and knock you down a few pegs in order to boost themselves up. Any argument that you may present them is going to be dismissed as just being subjective and because of that you know less then they do. Many of the people with this complex don't understand what subjective viewpoints and objective viewpoints really are. Generally this is one persona that is going to mixed in with the teacher complex. Sometimes it can stand on its own but not always. If you are going to try and attempt to counter a modern day charlatan the important thing to remember is you are not going to directly win with them. They are going to resort to personal attacks and get aggressive with you. It's not a personal thing in all reality it's just a defense strategy in order for them to maintain the image they want and not the image that they have. The people who you are really going to want to be reaching are the people viewing the exchange, keeping calm and using logic will expose the person without you having to drop down to their level.