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: