People who are really smart can still fall prey to even the most obvious, in retrospect, cognitive biases and blind spots. That is the difference between someone who understands how things work and applies rationalism, and someone who doesn’t.
But one doesn’t need to understand everything either. Why does Bitcoin keep going up? Who knows, but it’s going up, so don’t fight the flow. Eventually the answer will be obvious, but for now it isn’t, but by then there will be no more upside, because without uncertainty there can be no upside in an investment. Same for stocks: ‘the market is overvalued and overextended,’ ‘Trump is bad for the economy because he is crazy,’ ‘Tesla and Amazon cannot keep going up and are bubbles’ say the media, leftists, and blogs. Yet reality is slapping them across the face like a foam finger drenched in water. 10 years from now we’ll be looking back thinking, “hmm, given how much profits and earnings have surged, and given how Amazon now controls all of retail, maybe Amazon stock was justified going up so much.”
That’s why one much suspend ‘rational’ judgments about things. The idea of Trump winning was irrational, but he did. The post-2009 bull market was not supposed to last 2 years, let alone 8(!), but it has. Facebook in 2007 was never imagined to be a $500+ billion-dollar company, but it is. But is this a repudiation of rationalism? Not all. As earlier examples show, rationalism can help one immediately filter out bad arguments. This increases the odds of making correct decisions. Unlike liberals such as Nassim Taleb and Daniel Kahneman, who also agree that cognitive biases and fallacies (such as survivorship bias and conjunction fallacy) impede understanding, in the postmodernist tradition, they don’t believe that a ‘terminal understanding’ is possible, whereas reactionary realists and rationalists such as myself use knowledge and understanding to construct comprehensive theories of high predictive value. Why so many on the far-right hold Taleb in high regard despite him being a postmodernist and a moral relativist, is a mystery to me.
Some skepticism is justified, but taken too far and you sound like a sore loser who is waiting for the sky to fall, the world to end, and who begrudges others’ success as being luck or exploitation rather than skill. Taleb in Fooled by Randomness, in agreement with many on the left, argues that all success is luck (he gives the metaphor of Russian roulette), not skill. I agree randomness plays a non-trivial role in outcomes, but not all of it. This is similar to how the left argues that no one is biologically better than anyone else, but rather some are more successful than others because of unfair societal advantages, crony capitalism, exploitation of the weak, and deception, or denial that biological traits and ‘goodness’ have anything to do with each other, or that ‘goodness’ and ‘biology’ cannot be quantified, or rejecting that science can be prescriptive instead of just being descriptive. David Hume is another such example of a liberal philosopher, whose themes of skepticism, fallibilism, his anti-rationalism and ethical naturalism, the is-out problem/guillotine, and and how “reason is a slave to the passions,” agrees with views held by the far-left [but some on the palo-right also hold this view, showing again the applicability of ‘horseshoe’ theory]. Karl Popper is another example of such a liberal who is held in high esteem by many on the ‘right’ nowadays.
But then what about Enron, for example, which had a similar upward trajectory before spectacularity imploding. But the broader point is, in all of these examples–whatever the outcome–in retrospect, it’s obvious. Enron was revealed to be insolvent and a fraud, so obviously in retrospect it was worthless. So by ‘suspend rational judgement,’ I mean don’t put you’re own rationalizations (such as for why the market is a bubble, etc.) above what is already, in a sense, is predetermined. One’s own rationalization of things are no more than opinions and have no affect on the outcome. When someone says ‘the market (or a specific stock )is behaving irrationally,’ it means they think know more than the totality of all the market participants, but also that the reason or antecedent (weak economy, bubble) for the outcome (such as the market crashing) one rationalizes will in retrospect be obvious. But the point is, it’s not so much that everything happens (or at least preempts) for a reason, but that there is an underlying reason for everything that happens, and such a reason is only revealed later and in retrospect is obvious even if now it isn’t. [For example, the market is surging, which may seem irrational right now because there is uncertainty over Trump and others reasons for it to go down, but it’s surging in anticipation of the huge earnings that will be manifestly obvious later, and in retrospect the market was not irrational to be going up so much now.]