Monday, September 3, 2012

Scaring the Voters in the Middle – by Nicholas Kristof

I don’t link to much political stuff here. I don’t claim any affiliation to a political party and try to be as independent in my political views as I am when looking at potential investment ideas. I think my distaste of the ideologies by both major parties on many issues is likely shared by a lot of other people, but that the benefits and feelings that come from being part of a specific group are unlikely to bring Darwin-like objectivity into the political discourse any time soon.

In his 2007 USC Law School Commencement Speech, Charlie Munger said: “Another thing I think should be avoided is extremely intense ideology because it cabbages up one’s mind. You see it a lot with T.V. preachers (many have minds made of cabbage) but it can also happen with political ideology. When you’re young it’s easy to drift into loyalties and when you announce that you’re a loyal member and you start shouting the orthodox ideology out, what you’re doing is pounding it in, pounding it in, and you’re gradually ruining your mind. So you want to be very, very careful of this ideology. It’s a big danger.”

I didn’t watch much of it, but the clips I did see from the recently-completed Republican National Convention contained plenty of cabbage, though there were certainly some good and important points made as well. I suspect we’ll see the same from the Democrats during their convention, which takes place in my home city this week. The Kristof article excerpted and linked to below goes into a little of the Republican ideology on the issue of abortion. I think the economic ideologies of the advisors and economists giving advice to each party would of more interest to readers of this blog, and maybe someone will write an article on that in the future.

Maybe one day—in a galaxy far, far away—politicians will take the approach that: (1) differences of opinion exist on topic ‘x’ and will continue to exist; and so (2) because of these differences, I need to focus on making the best laws for the country and its people that take those differences into consideration, even if I am firmly on one side or the other as far as my personal opinion is concerned.