They Said What?

At the annual Berkshire Hathaway meeting, Warren Buffett was asked about Bitcoin. He dodged the question. His partner, Charlie Munger, did not.

“I hate the bitcoin success. And I don’t welcome a currency that’s so useful to kidnappers and extortionists and so forth,” he said. “So I think I should say modestly that I think the whole development is disgusting and contrary to the interest of civilization.”

This argument from Munger is quite common and quite silly. Law enforcement would love nothing more than for criminals to use a financial instrument whose history can clearly be traced, like Bitcoin. You know what criminals use to launder money that doesn’t leave so clean a path? U.S. dollars. And Berkshire Hathaway is currently sitting on $145 billion of them.

A circle of competence is one of the core principles of Buffett and Munger, so I understand why they haven’t bought any Bitcoin. I have a harder time understanding why Munger feels so strongly about something that is clearly outside of his circle.

When a person you respect says something you don’t agree with, your brain tends to short circuit. It’s hard to process how someone you admire can have an opinion that is anything less than admirable.

We live in a world where people get written off forever because of one unpopular opinion(s). I’m not trying to preach or tell anybody how to feel, but I’ve found it much better to say “I still like this person, but I don’t like what they just said,” as opposed to “wow this person is dead to me forever.”

I still admire Charlie Munger, even if I don’t agree with his assessment of Bitcoin.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to feel one way about a person and change your opinion on them over time, but “over time” is the important part of that sentence. One bad take shouldn’t change how you feel about somebody because you’re not going to agree with anybody about everything. If you do, then you’re not thinking for yourself.

There are some views and opinions that are unforgivable. When somebody reveals something truly disgusting about themselves that you didn’t previously see, move on. But when a person you like says something that you don’t, you shouldn’t write them off forever.

How you react when a person you respect says something you disagree with says more about you than it does about them.

 

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