The Inspired Rationalist:
- Analysis of important issues that are often misunderstood or underappreciated.
- Objectively researched by examining credible evidence and information from a variety of sources and perspectives.
- Hopes to advance understanding and contribute to the establishment of shared truths on which we can base our opinions and voting decisions
- Aims to do all of this in a way that will save you time in your effort to be responsibly informed.
In short, my objective is to deeply research important issues and distill my findings down to a digestible article of four to 10 pages. At most I’ll be posting once a month, so you won’t be inundated with content.
Why Am I Blogging?
The level of division, anger and nastiness in this country is alarming. Our country has become intensely tribal in an awful way that encourages us to focus on our differences rather than our common bond as Americans. Increasingly it seems that our political affiliation is the tribe many Americans identify with the most.
Often, we take on the views of our tribe (party) and any disagreement with those views becomes an attack not just on the tribe, but also on ourselves. These “attacks” must be defended, sometimes with more emotion than reason. Dialogue becomes angry debate with each side aggressively defending their tribe’s view of the world rather than listening and honestly trying to get at the truth. The possibility of understanding is lost, replaced with distrust and contempt.
For many, tribalism is more powerful than the commitment to decency, honesty and sound reasoning so that we can’t even agree on basic truths. For sure not everything is clear and factual but there are things that are true. Former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, “everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts.”
This is a big problem. We can’t make sensible choices when we vote it we are not informed by real facts and evidence. And informed citizens are more likely to vote – too many of us don’t vote. When we share real facts and truths, we are more able to engage with each other on the issues, improving the quality of our discussion. Moreover, an informed public is in a position to demand and receive more honest communication from its political leaders. This is all part of a healthy democracy.
While many people are very well-informed, collectively we’re not meeting this basic democracy requirement. Perhaps that’s not surprising. Being informed is time consuming and people are so busy with work, family and social life that it’s tough to find the time. There are lot of issues. Some are complex. It’s hard to know where to go to find honest explanations of the topics of the day.
The challenge is worsened by technology, social media, hyper-partisan talk radio, and some politically-oriented news media that are affecting the social dynamic more quickly than our society can adapt. These forces contribute to mistrust of the legitimate media, feed our desire to confirm our own biases, and drive a steady flow of dangerous misinformation intended to manipulate our understanding and opinions, often by triggering outrage.
I believe what we are experiencing poses a threat to our nation. It motivates me to at least try to make some contribution. I hope to prove to you that I can offer objectively-based context and analysis that helps you enhance your understanding of critical issues in a way that ultimately saves you time (whether or not you are already well-informed).
What qualifies me to take on this challenge?
I’ve spent almost 40 years doing investment research and analysis. I know how to analyze data. I’m experienced talking to experts and assessing their credibility, objectivity and the quality of their analysis. I know how to search out credible, high quality third party research and information sources. I can home in on key assumptions and cut through the confusion to focus on what’s important. I like to think I have a high level of intellectual honesty that allows me to question my own assumptions and consider points of view that are different from mine. I can admit when I’m wrong. I think people who have worked with me for a long time would say I’m good at these things. I hope to prove that to you.
Importantly, I’m passionate about this and willing to put in a significant amount of time each day in service of this mission. I’ll slog through books, many articles and research papers on both sides of an issue and attempt to distill it into a digestible read that delivers clear common-sense analysis. I look forward to having you join me as I examine information, data and facts that can inform a reasonable and honest opinion.
Do I really think this will make a difference?
It would be silly to think The Inspired Rationalist will move the needle when it comes to the division in this country. On the other hand too many of us feel that we can’t make a difference. But we can all have some influence by engaging with others, and even impacting a small number of people is a contribution. As I embark on this endeavor, that’s how I think about it and perhaps over time the audience will grow. For now, I’m enthusiastic about taking this on and seeing how it plays out. Ultimately, I’ll stick with this project if it generates interest and I’m enjoying the process. If my writing doesn’t resonate or if the audience is non-existent, I’ll stop.
My Promise: I commit to doing my best to stay true to the following:
- I will provide context and framing for each issue
- I’ll follow the data, facts and information and let that and honest analysis drive my conclusions. I won’t start with a conclusion and then seek to support it by cherry-picking data and information. I will investigate a range of perspectives.
- I will rely on a wide range of carefully selected sources to educate myself including news media, periodicals, think tank research, academic research, books, government data, and interviews with experts. I will link to sources and supporting research when relevant and possible.
- I will seek to avoid a political slant though these days everything is political so at times some may perceive I’ve failed at this objective.
- I will do my best to be succinct. This will require some restraint at times.
- I will suggest actions you can take if appropriate.
- I am not in this to make money and will not pursue any sources of revenue.
I should also mention that I’m taking on a considerable challenge in writing to a wide-ranging audience in terms of the going-in-level of sophistication and knowledge. For some, I may provide unnecessary explanation and others may need to look up some references. I’ll work to find a common balance.
My hope is that over time readers will come to trust the quality and objectivity of the analysis I provide.
If you find The Inspired Rationalist valuable, please share it and help me expand my audience!