I have been moaning and whining and bitching and passing value judgments at will quite a bit recently. It is not going to change, except maybe to get worse.
The stuff going on right now is super scary, and despite my earlier Alec-Baldwin-type claims, I can’t just run back to Canada because: a) the weather blows, b) the business culture blows, c) my wife has vetoed it, and d) the idea that Canada is far enough away to make a difference is max naïve. Re b), I am unemployed, but still.
So I am going to be normative a lot. I am going to say things like, pissing away democracy and limited government would be BAD. Not just bearish for the stock market, which it might not be anyway, but BAD in the non-analyzable Humean sense. Moreover, the Republicans who seem so ok with this are also BAD for America. So shoot me.
However, this post is not really that normative, but more a sincere expression of surprise.
I had a friendly exchange with a former colleague today and he gently ribbed me for being partisan. Having been away from Wall Street for sixteen months now, I was taken aback a bit, because I had forgotten how strong the centrist pull is across much of Wall Street.
The main political impulse there, as you will know, is libertarianism. “Let me guess, you are a fiscal conservative, but a social liberal.” It is as if some sort of chip were inserted to control the brain and then a tape inserted to express how.
But even stronger than the pull of libertarianism is that of centrism. Far worse than being wrong, incidences of which are usually impossible to identify objectively anyway, is the sin of being partisan.
My opinions on that are known to anybody reading this blog, so for once, I will not reiterate. I know you don’t care. And while I generally don’t care if you care, in this case I will conform.
But still, I find that centrist impulse really striking. And to repeat, I was taken aback somewhat today. Guy could have called me a douche or stupid or whatever. But he went with partisan.
Being seen to be avoiding partisanship is a really high priority across much of Wall Street. As I recall, sometimes it even got in the way of talking about the practical effects of policy.
Incidentally, I saw a bit of history of the guy in the photo above while googling to get the picture. He was actually an early adopter of Nazism but ended up falling in love with a Jewish woman. Once the issue became personal for him, apparently, he changed his mind. By then, things had moved on.
Right there, you got one of yer cases for abstract reasoning. Try to imagine a situation that might be slightly different from the one staring you in the face now.