Munger on ideology

by PlanMaestro

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 have what I call an iron prescription that helps me keep sane when I naturally drift toward preferring one ideology over another and that is: I say that I’m not entitled to have an opinion on this subject unless I can state the arguments against my position better than the people who support it. I think only when I’ve reached that state am I qualified to speak. This business of not drifting into extreme ideology is a very, very important thing in life

Of course the self-serving bias is something you want to get out of yourself. Thinking that what’s good for you is good for the wider civilization and rationalizing all these ridiculous conclusions based on this subconscious tendency to serve one’s self is a terribly inaccurate way to think.

Of course you want to drive that out of yourself because you want to be wise, not foolish. You also have to allow for the self-serving bias of everybody else because most people are not going to remove it all that successfully, the human condition being what it is. If you don’t allow for self-serving bias in your conduct, again you’re a fool.

Darwin paid particular attention to disconfirming evidence. Objectivity maintenance routines are totally required in life if you’re going to be a great thinker.

USC Law Commencement 2007 

I do not like  to discuss political and macroeconomic issues in this blog, much less religious ones, considering the highly ideological component. You convince no one, learn little, and in return do not make many new friends … though some might say that is the whole point of blogging.

But considering the seriousness of the situation, and its implications for investors, let me post the question. Should not we at least be thinking about the disconfirming evidence of the last few months and see if they fit our mental models?

  • Treasuries rally after an S&P downgrade
  • TIPS 10y at 0% despite the spending and monetary stimulus
  • Business investment and consumer spending anemic despite the free money