Politics, Psychology and Investing

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Robot-48x48There are 3 Things in the title.  Thing 2 is a big key to managing markets and being successful at Thing 3.  Thing 1, while a consideration to the extent that it affects policy and structural macro issues, can get people all screwed up with respect to Thing 2, thereby hurting their chances with Thing 3.  As noted in an article last April, it is vital for investors to deprogram themselves, especially when it comes to politics.

To the extent I went over the top with the theatrics after the election, making light of fully erected Trump Towers (vertical stock charts of the ‘Trump plays’) and whatnot, I got out of line with my normal mode, which is to tune it all out.  But hear me now; the Trump phenomenon was very good for me because it opened up a wellspring of psychological inputs I can work with.  The gentle, firmly entrenched Obama whispering lullabys to us for 8 years?  A snooze fest.

With Trump, politics are not involved in my market view but psychology surely is.  Fiscal (Trump admin) as opposed to monetary (Bernanke/Yellen Fed under Obama) economic manipulation may work or it may not.  But it is just a different form of government policy trying to will an economy to do what they want it to do.  I’ll just stay open minded because… psychology.
Apparently, according to some people it is my civic duty to state a political stance (even though successful market management involves being dispassionate about this stuff).  A subscriber sent me a mini-screed based on this paragraph written in NFTRH 429.  Apparently I copped out of claiming a side by calling myself merely a human.

“As an aside, with the degree to which I poked this media star in the eye after the election, I have to believe that a vast majority of readers are either not Trump supporters or are very open-minded and tolerant of my writing style (for which I thank you). FWIW, I am not a democrat or a republican; just a human.”

I won’t reproduce his email because I did not seek permission to, but it was mildly insulting (I’ve had worse and you have to really try hard to insult me because I have confidence in myself and my non-mainstream way of looking at the world, based in psychology) and what set him off was the last sentence, because it supposedly helps me disguise the fact (in his view) that I am “anti-conservative”.

He assumes that a much larger segment of subscribers have very different political views than mine (in his view a liberal “Masshole” based on the state I live in) and says I should write a mia culpa about my wimpy wording (ah, pass).  In being labeled a Masshole anti-conservative, I feel I am the victim of Stateism, being persecuted because of the state I was born in and live in.

That last sentence is a joke; I am not that sensitive to anyone criticizing me through political bias.  But for what it’s worth, I have always had contempt for the embedded traditions of Massachusetts scoundrel politics, with the lasting image of 6 bureaucratic dough boys sitting at a table in the Saltenstall building in Boston as I, a lowly citizen, came before them once decades ago to state my case.  Though this was a minor issue, it took 6 of these clowns to render a decision on my appeal.  6 men, sitting in a room behind one of those windows marking time until lunch.  That was how it felt.  They sermonized, lectured a little and then said ‘no’ well enough before noon feeding time.

saltenstall building

Me to my critic…

“Where on earth did that caricature you paint me [as] come from? FWIW, I have voted republican at every opportunity I’ve had in my life in this most liberal of states, simply to add a counterbalancing vote. I owned a business here and have been taxed to death here. You are way out to lunch, reacting because somebody doesn’t like Trump.”

I’d note that this gentleman is a Wharton graduated gold fund manager.  So we are talking intelligence, I would think.  We are also talking linear or robotic thinking.  Why oh why do I proudly note the fact that Alice, the Queen and the Rabbit occupy my right arm?  Why do I frequently quote Alice as follows?

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”

Because she does not give a fuck about politics or your linear thinking.  Nor do the other characters in Wonderland.  I don’t either.  It’s funny, when I was critical of the Federal Reserve under Bush I was a great guy with quality analysis, in the view of one person in particular I am thinking of (his kudos from 2010 are the very bottom item on this page).  When I was critical of that same Fed and its brilliantly evil monetary policies (beginning with 2011’s Operation Twist) during the Obama admin, I suddenly became a right wing gold bug lunatic in the eyes of that same politically biased individual.

Now the Fed is hawking it up a bit and the policy is expected to be coming directly from the new admin led by a man who is deranged at worst, and reckless at best (in my opinion) and suddenly I am a Massachusetts liberal, AKA a “Masshole”.

“Anti-conservative” sir?  I can see that tax cutting is conservative, but deficit spending and increasing the debt to stimulate and kick off a Reaganesque ‘trickle down’ effect?  Please.  Debt is debt, it is already unserviceable and it is used in the short-term (which is now 8+ years in the making on this most recent cycle) to rig the economy.  But it will be addressed, and now that the Fed and its previous agenda are on hiatus, probably sooner rather than later.  I mean you’re a conservative gold bug and you think this is okay?

Listen, I basically hate everybody (not really, but I’ve long felt that if I am not pissing people of diametrically opposed world views off at one point or another, I am not doing my job of staying balanced).  I have to be this way because the big mass known as everybody AKA the collective, is really an average, and it follows trends.  I don’t care how many Wharton, Harvard Business or Columbia degrees are in that mass.  The herd is the herd and quite often intelligence has little to do with it.  Linear thinking has everything to do with it.  Why do you think herds follow the leader?

So I am anti-conservative in your view.  I have written what I think here in public since 2004 and in NFTRH since 2008.  People who don’t like what I write or the way I write it will take care of themselves and move along.  No harm, no foul.  But that last sentence in the first quote above is 100% consistent with everything in my continuum and ongoing education over time, including when I rethought things after duping myself into being a Ron Paul supporter, before realizing he’s just another lightweight (at best) or pitch man (at worst).  The guy actually signed his name to an assault weapon give away, pandering to the Tea Party.  By the way, I own a nice little semi automatic here in Massachusetts and have never had the slightest problem getting my license renewed.  It’s simple, don’t be a deranged lunatic, have your background checked and it’s fine.

If you are a sensitive political type, liberal or conservative, you will have found me abrasive  at one point or another in the past (well, on the limited occasions I get on this infernal subject).  That means I am doing my job in basically tuning out everybody, and hopefully writing clearly about why it is important to tune them out.  I happen to hate politics in the form of the embedded Massachusetts tradition of political cronyism and corruption, in the form of right wing lunacy, and everything that is overly linear or black and white or crooked in between.  The only people I have time for are the ones with open minds.

BTW, the featured image at the top of this post is a photo I took of my favorite psychology-related book of all time; a collection of writings about the Jungian ‘Shadow’ on both personal and collective (societal) levels.  It was the most amazing thing I’d ever read to that point and got me started in really thinking about who we are and how our ego and id impede and/or aid our progress.  While in some ways I am one of the more faulty people I know, in other ways I am grounded for having read this and considered it deeply.  We all have our shadows and the projection of these shadows, both personal and collective, is the basis of untold hatred and divisiveness in the world.

So politically sensitive people (right or left) might want to move along; I am going to insult your closely held view sooner or later.  The rest of you, let’s move forward and try to have a little fun while not being overly sensitive… and biased.

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