Why are we mad

Good morning,

Coming back last night to what is still home for now we were not surprised by the familiar sequence of events. The toll road from Sotogrande to Malaga is still as light in traffic as ever but with the added benefit that several years of lobbying by the concessionaires have paid off and there is really no police on these pay and play roads so that you can drive as if we were in the 90s still. Once at the airport in Malaga, one gets further confirmation that Aena is over-earning as it keeps setting the A/C at a very uncomfortable 29ºC. A European weekend getaway would not be the same without a delay caused by striking French air traffic controllers. It kind of makes one root for Germany to try again, maybe the 4th time around they will succeed. Once at Heathrow, we discover that somebody else somebody is over-earning here as well. The ePassport booths close at 11 pm because they require a back-up staff of six people who apparently make millions, nothing like a long line to get home at 12 am to remind you should not leave in a country that requires a passport to go everywhere else in the world. Once on the road home to the West End we have to take a detour that takes us not very far from Glasgow because of some unnecessary summer maintenance work on the M4. If it’s not one thing it’s another, but it is apparently socially very important to the proper working of society in the UK to have these sort of travails that build character and a very British opportunity to “Stay Calm, and Carry On”.

On the flight down to Malaga we were fortunate enough to seat next to a Leave voter from central casting who was aggressively reading the Daily Mail right next to us and gloating. He was very lucky we were on a BA aircraft otherwise he might have received a cuppa right on his lap, harsh but much nicer than other thoughts that crossed our minds. Two and a half hours later we were well versed on all the talking points of the leave campaign that this nice gentleman had taken in hook line and sinker. This was a great reminder once again on how uninformed some people´s decisions are. It’s quite shocking to us that while professional investors can often strongly believe that a bunch of their highly educated and motivated peers have no clue what’s going on a variety issues, there are many amongst my brethren who nevertheless believe that the man on the street is can somehow make superb decisions with the information available to him. This we would call the “Free to Choose” fallacy. Milton Friedman was obviously in the dark about how the mind works when he made the eponymous TV show in the late 1970s. But his ignorance should not be an excuse for those who today can review all the literature on how poorly we make choices or how free will is conditioned by one’s heritage in a way that make politically correct people puke. The literature on how badly people make decisions keep is growing steadily but it doesn’t help people make better decisions.

Anybody who works in politics, any campaign manager, will explain to those who listen that campaigns hinge on short snippets that don’t relate to reality but which appeal to the target market just like a TV advert. If in addition to something like “Make America Great Again” if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on scary footage the combination will bring out the vote even better. From the “Willie Horton” attack ad of the 1988 US Presidential race, to today’s images of mostly black immigrants at Calais ready to pounce at the occasion of entering the UK illegally to presumably rape and pillage everything in sight, these tactics have proven to be quite effective.

This is the reason why in a modern Republic (including Europe’s parliamentary monarchies) sovereignty resides in the people’s representatives in Parliament. There important issues can be debated by people who are able to obtain their own analysis of the issues as this is paid for by tax payers. There is another model of direct democracy in the West which results in women not getting the right to vote until 1971 or a majority of 55% deciding that there is no need to build anymore minarets in the country. Since Kant we know that reason is the source of morality, that our actions should be tested for their justice not just for whether they benefit the greatest number. Since Tocqueville many agree that a democracy has to protect the rights of all the minorities. These are the things that irritate some of the Remain people, not just the delusional fabrications of the Cycling Cicero.

Best regards,
Luis

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