A Reader Challenge

This will seem like a digression from our normal themes about investments, the economy, and interpreting data.  Bear with us.

We want to talk about something with which we all have experience:  Plumbing!

The challenge to readers is to find the source of the key point, indicated below.  And yes, there is a little trick.


We have used many plumbers over the years to solve an array of problems.  Some of them made mistakes.  Some over-charged.  We have found their work to be erratic and expensive.  We have documented changes in plumbing practices, often substituting plastic pipe for copper and taking other shortcuts.

Our experience has been confirmed by talking with neighbors who also have experienced plumbing problems.  Polls also show an increase in the consumption of bottled water, partly attributable to plumbing.

The Key Point

Over these many years of critique and criticism, I have noticed two interesting factors:

The tendency for many plumbers to 'circle
the wagons' around their chosen profession (i.e., blindly defend
standard precepts). Hey, if you are going to go through the trouble of
getting a union card in
something, you probably don't want to hear how flawed many of its basic assumptions and/or methodologies are.

2) The false counter-arguments,
strawmen, and phony debates. There is no faster way to admit the
weakness of your argument than to claim that credible criticism is
merely a tinfoil hat conspiracy theorists.  (A variation of "When the Law and Facts go against you, call the other lawyer a jerk" approach).


It is not necessary for us actually to experience the plumbing apprenticeship program (we didn't) leading to the union card.  We know what is taught, because we see the results.  We know all about it.

The existence of a consensus among these so-called experts is itself evidence that they are wrong.  Their responses to our criticism simply provide more evidence that we are right.  There is even one plumber who has a website where he exposes the errors of his colleagues.

Let us all get real about plumbing.  It is something with which we all have experience, whether or not we have ever put a hand on a wrench.  We know.

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One comment

  • Fred September 5, 2008  

    It was bad plumbing that brought down the Roman Empire. The word plumbing derives from the Latin plumbum, meaning lead. Plumbum is also the source of the symbol for lead, Pb.