Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Passion, Facts and Opinions

I had lunch with a friend today who manages money. I wanted him to tell me that my ideas about the markets were wrong. That they were free, that the average investor does not get fleeced by the financial institutions (in terms of passive management, fee grabs). I was not wrong.

We talked briefly about politics. Same general consensus as last week's lunches---grave issues with both candidates, a feeling that the choice was not robust, but that anything would be better than what we currently have. Not very heartening.

I've no plan to discuss politics here. Political and religious discussions are difficult ones to have. My theory is that most discussions are long on conviction and short on fact. Political discussions around securing voters require the most votes for the buck. So while the quickest way to a man's heart is through his stomach, the quickest way to a voter's heart is through his/her standard of living. Accordingly, you promise to increase the standard of living OR show how the other candidate will reduce it. It appeals to fear, and we know how effective that is.

A passionate opinion and an informed opinion can be very far apart. The ideal would be a passionate, informed opinion. A passionate opinion absent fact is most likely more potent than an informed opinion without any passion. I've never thought about it that way before. That's the nice thing about rather forces you to make such comparisons and juxtapositions. Like thinking out loud, one can commit an embarrassing act. At least it is just ideas and not dancing about both naked and drunk at an office party--of your spouse! (I've no experience with this should you be wondering).

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