Catching onto the magsman

Liron Shapira is puzzled by Balaji, the top galaxybrain bully.

Balaji isn’t a mystery, he’s a classic conman type. I’ve mentioned him in two different references. Now that I look at both together, I realize they’re both British and both from the same decade.

(1) Definition from the 1874 dictionary of British slang:

Magsman, a street swindler, who watches for countrymen and “gullible” persons, and persuades them out of their possessions. MAGSMEN are wonderful actors . Their work is done in broad daylight, without any stage accessories. Their ability and perseverance are truly worthy of a better cause. Magsmen are often men of superior education. Those who work the tidal trains and boats are faultlessly dressed and highly accomplished.

(2) In the 1870s Edward Johnson set out to achieve absolute perfection in counterfeiting.

Johnson was a tall impressive British gentleman with impeccable taste and charm. He had a massive capacity for detail and could discuss any subject from ancient history to the latest medical theories.

Speaking of medical theories, the Wikipedia bio for Balaji mentions that Trump tried to appoint him to the FDA.

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Unrelated… Bitcoiners constantly talk about “freedom from banks”, even while every bitcoin scheme is “hacked” by its founders, or just openly absconds with your funds. This is a peculiarly mistimed marketing tactic. In 1930 regular banks were actually failing and losing your funds and absconding. An alternate to banking would have been attractive at that point, and scrip filled the gap to some extent. Modern banks aren’t nice, and don’t pay interest, BUT they are more secure than ever before. Banks use Big Data to catch and halt hacks and frauds, and it works wonderfully. I don’t understand how anyone can reverse the comparison!

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Related: I’ve been skimming through those old British dictionaries to see if Trump’s type is represented. So far I haven’t found it. Ordinary swindlers mostly use the authority of education and high caste to dazzle the suckers. The Trump-Bryan-Boris approach uses fake working-class “realism” to dazzle the suckers. It was extremely common in America in the 1870s. Apparently it wasn’t common in England at that time.

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Looking up ‘tidal trains and boats’: The ancestors of the Chunnel, used by aristocrats who traveled to France for business and pleasure. The trains took Londoners to the dock, then the boats took them to France. A good place for a swindler to cultivate rich fools.

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