How the Karate Kid Taught Us To Read The Wall Street Journal
Face it. We are ensnared in a world of spin where true journalism has given way to opinion. Analytics has ceded to biased promotion. Taking this into account, how can we make sound investment decisions, develop strategy, and even decipher, ally from rival?
Let us look to the Ancients for guidance, Daniel-San:
A skeptic is simply someone who demands good evidence before accepting something and is willing to change their view when it conflicts with the evidence. These requirements are easy to say, but often hard to follow. Nevertheless, everyone should strive to be a skeptic.
The philosophy of skepticism goes back to the ancient Greek and Roman world. One version was Pyrrhonic, founded by Pyrrho of Elis. He gave us the Pyrrhic Victory: Win the Battle but lose the War. Pyrrhonist’s aims are psychological. It urges suspension of judgment to achieve mental tranquility. The contemporary version was espoused by Bob Marley in his “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”.
Another was Academic Skepticism, so-called because its leading champions were products of Plato’s Academy. They also began the tradition of the salmon cashmere sweater over one’s shoulders. The Academic Skeptics denied that knowledge is possible. This stance is accelerated with habitual imbibing of fermented beverages. The Academic Skeptics claimed that some beliefs are more reasonable or probable than others, whereas Pyrrhonean skeptics argue that equally compelling arguments can be given for or against any disputed view.
A cynic, on the other hand, is someone who does not believe goodness is possible. Cynicism is a moral concept, not epistemic. Basically, it is only indirectly related to the science of knowledge and thought.
The cynic rejects goodness.
The skeptic rejects knowledge.
Our Founding Fathers were omniscient. They knew the basis of a strong democracy was a fluffy white wig and an educated public. The pre-requisite for this education was a free press. They felt so strongly in this belief, they embedded this inalienable right into our quotidian lives. So, keep the printers running but retain a bit of skepticism when reading the financial reports…especially when China maintains a 6% GDP every year — no matter what transpires.
I have found one trick to assist me in interpreting the smoke. Always look to see what started the fire.