Howard Marks in praise of anger

Howard Marks gives us a great read about the role of anger in this week’s election, along with the anger we’re seeing all over the developed world. Here’s his take on the “Wutbürger” or angry person.

In its pure form, anger is a wonderful force of change.  Just imagine a world without anger.  In Germany, without the anger of the labor movement, we would still have a class-based voting system that privileged the wealthy, and workers would still toil 16 hours a day without pension rights.  Britain and France would still be ruled by absolute monarchs.  The Iron Curtain would still divide Europe, the United States would still be a British colony and its slaves could only dream of casting a vote this Nov. 8. 

Karl Marx was a Wutbürger.  So were Montesquieu [who articulated the concept of separation of powers within a government], William Wilberforce [the leader of the abolitionist movement in Britain], the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the tens of thousands of Eastern German protesters who brought down the Berlin Wall in 1989. . . . 

Now: Compare these spirits to the current parties claiming to stand for necessary change. . . .  Sadly, the leaders of today’s Wutbürger movements never grasped the difference between anger driven by righteousness and anger driven by hate. 

Anger works like gasoline.  If you use it intelligently and in a controlled manner, you can move the world.  That’s called progress.  Or you just spill it about and ignite it, creating spectacular explosions.  That’s called arson.

Unfortunately, this lack of maturity and prudence today exists among not just the new populist class, but parts of the political establishment.  The governing class needs to understand that just because people are embittered and paranoid doesn’t mean they don’t have a case.  

Read the whole thing when you get a chance, at the link below.


Implications of the Election (Oaktree)

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