Thursday, April 02, 2009

A liberal's confession

Noted liberal writer Eric Alterman makes an interesting disclosure:
I had a painful moment of recognition about a decade ago, when, during the dot-com boom, I stupidly listened to a CEO interviewed on CNN call his stock undervalued to reporter Ron Insana, found myself convinced and then proceeded to my computer to double down on a bad bet I had already made. When the stock tanked some more, I had a painful epiphany: these morons mouthing off about money were no better informed or intellectually rigorous than the loudmouths shouting at one another about politics. They were television talking heads, nothing more. That was the last time I thought myself smart enough to make my own investment decisions. As Walter Lippmann diagnosed the problem back in Liberty and the News (1920), I simply had no access to good information and was at the mercy of "the quack, the charlatan, the jingo, and the terrorist."
It's all starting to make sense. Maybe Alterman and his ilk favor big government because they realize their own intellectual shortcomings and need the government to protect them from themselves.

Fortunately I don't suffer from Alterman's apparent lack of common sense. I've always intuitively known that CEOs aren't exactly objective about the financial prospects of the company they manage and that making investment decisions based on television soundbites is a poor strategy. Alterman's defense that he "simply had no access to good information" rings hollow. Could he not find sound investment advice from any number of books on or the local library (I'd recommend this one)? Is he really that helpless?

Unfortunately it is people such as Alterman that are the reason why my freedom is being encroached upon. Because the government can't distinguish the fools from the savvy, we are all made to pay.

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