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Sunday, April 16, 2006

LIBERALS, HYPOCRISY & GUILT: An aquaintance of mine — who never misses a chance to rail against "greedy capitalists who destroy the environment for their own gain," and for whom this particular complaint is only part of a far more encompassing critique of Everything American — has taken to investing in real estate, specifically two vacation houses. I teasingly pointed out that this acquisitive behavior of his seems to border dangerously on capitalism. Well, the only reason I bought the houses is because a ski slope is planned for the vicinity, which will make the properties much more valuable. That's definitely capitalist thinking, I replied. Well, I would prefer that they not build the ski slope. But it's going to be an ecologically-friendly resort, which is good. Since the project is unstoppable, I see no problem in realizing some of the benefits personally.
Festive, yes? I didn't start the enterprise, I was just standing there. Some fat cat wants to assume the risk, why should I refuse to pocket some of the resulting value? Here's the clincher. My friend regularly admits to being irritated by the fact that one of his brothers holds stock in Halliburton! He finds this unconscionable, because, you see, Halliburton is an evil corporate entity that rapes the Earth. Let us tackle these conundrums one by one, shall we? (First, by way of personal disclosure: I do not own any investment properties, nor do I own Halliburton stock.) 1. If it is morally wrong to build this ski slope (you choose the ethical criteria), the developers themselves are not the only Bad Guys involved. People who buy property with the intent of making profit are also morally deficient, yes? Conversely, if this is a "good" ski slope to build, then the goodness extends from the original investors to land speculators busy buying up adjacent properties. Can I get a yes to this, too? Analogy: Replace "ski slopes" with "gas ovens in Germany" and run the moral software. 2. "Ecologically-friendly resort." Are we talking about the world's first ski slope conceived and managed as a public charity? No. The ski slope is being created by a corporation. You know: CEO, board of directors, quarterly statements. Goal: generate wealth. 2. Halliburton. Is it a "bad" company? The answer is yes, or no, or maybe - again depending on your criteria. Now of course many leftists think Halliburton is a decidedly evil outfit. Filmmaker Michael Moore thinks so, for sure. Money quote by Moore:
Halliburton is not a "company" doing business in Iraq. It is a WAR PROFITEER, bilking millions from the pockets of average Americans. In past wars they would have been arrested -- or worse.
Well, guess what? Michael Moore bought and sold shares in Halliburton stock! Wait, it gets better. Moore also bought and sold stock in such evil corporate entities as Pfizer, Mercks, Sunoco, and General Electric. No, wait. It gets a lot better. You've heard of Noam Chomsky? Arguably the most prominent and looniest propagandist for the prominently loony left, Chomsky stands second to nobody in his hatred of corporate America (or America, more generally). Famous for declaring the Pentagon “the most hideous institution on this earth,” how ironic to learn that Chomsky worked for the Research Laboratory of Electronics, funded entirely by the Pentagon and multinational corporations. Socialist Chomsky’s vacation home in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, is today valued in excess of $1.2 million! Oh, such fun to hate capitalism, while profiting from capitalism on the side. Nothing wrong from getting rich from the system you're committed to destroying, I always say. But I digress. My capitalism-depising friend, who opposes the idea of the ski slope but means to benefit from its development, might just as well buy a few shares of Halliburton stock, too. He'll be in good company, given that he finds both Moore and Chomsky to be, um, men of integrity. Admirable, to boot. Scratch the surface of the left's hatred of all things American and it begins starts to look like the depths of the left's self-loathing might just be limitless. But of course self-hatred never feels really good; best to keep sending the bile outward. Psychologists call this "projection." But let's not get fancy. "Spewing" comes closer. Evil Halliburton! Vile ski slope! Bad Dick Cheney! Stupid George W. Bush! I hate my dad even though he's the one who made all the money that gave me the trust fund that allows me to send money to MoveOn.org to express my contempt for capitalism! And so on.