If You're So Smart, Why Ain't Ya Rich?


New at Reason: Matt Welch sticks up for George Soros.

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  1. Back when Soros first came to public attention with his currency speculation, I remember an ultra-left friend of mine raving on about what a horrible capitalist bloodsucker he was. Now that Soros has decided to lead the Hate Bush contingent, it’ll be amusing to see how leftists will applaud his wisdom and his generosity with what they used to consider his ill-gotten gains.

  2. PapayaSF — I’d wager there won’t be too much time spent on the exercise, regrettably. See: Huffington, Arianna…. Also, Soros has had a far more convincing Conversion process than the Mad Greek; admittedly not a hard thing to do.

  3. George Soros is a mixed bag, but I do see something in charges of him being a self-loathing Jew. Time will tell, I suppose.

    Excellent article on the new anti-Semitism on the New York Magazine today, though. Very well thought out.


    I wonder if, in Soro’s attacks upon Sharon, he remembers the deal that Arafat walked away from at Camp David three and a half years ago.

  4. Soros’s view of history is dominated by the second world war to the exclusion of other periods, and that has lately been a liability for him. My main disagreement with him is over Russia. He refuses to have anything to do with the oligarchs on the grounds that the 1990s privatization “makes him sick.” Apparently Soros thinks the process by which monopolies are undone and businessmen wrest power from a controlling state is supposed to be pretty. It’s an easy trap to fall into, I suppose, for someone whose business revolves around which pieces of paper to buy or sell, rather than a long-term constructive vision.

  5. Nice tag line. I ask myself that question everyday.

    People will never realize that the beauty of freedom is it’s ugliness.

  6. John Hensley,

    The process of “privatization” was well captured by Sean Corrigan–former state assets, paid for out of working people’s sweat, are sold off to insiders for nominal prices.


    There’s a lot to be said for the alternative method of privatizing state-owned economies suggested by Rothbard and Hoppe. Their suggestion was to treat state industry as “unowned” property, to be “homesteaded” by those currently occupying it: the labor force.

    Rothbard. “How and How Not to Desocialize” The Review of Austrian Economics 6:1 (1992) 65-77

    Hoppe. “De-Socialization in a United Germany” The Review of Austrian Economics 5:2 (1991) 77-104

    Hoppe. Democracy, the God that Failed (New Brunswick and London: Transaction Publishers, 2002) pp. 124-31

  7. And BTW….

    Jackie Mason, “unfunny commedian”? The emperor has no clothes!

    Next, you’ll be saying Art Buchwald and Mark Russell aren’t funny.

  8. The mafia, gypsies and rich people.
    I will continue to sterotype them until you pry loose my cold, twisted brain.

  9. Perhaps some of the criticism has been overwrought, but Soros is no libertarian, either.

    I still remember this infuriating article in which Soros proudly displays his familiarity with the words involved in various philosophical, economic and political concepts; along with an impressive inability to apply any of them coherently.

  10. Being influenced by Karl Popper is, of course, no great recommendation as Popper was explicitly opposed to laissez faire. So maybe, it’s no surprise that Soros is as well; but with a vengeance. The problem is that Soros has more then just the force of ideas to see that his own are put into force…into coercion, to put it frankly. Soros’s disdain for unregulated markets are both, weakly argued and inviting of suspicion that it springs from the fact that he would like to use his influence regulate them to his liking.

    Soros has complained in the past, quite bitterly, about the IMF, the world bank, and the WTO, but in the manner of a Gorbachev his solutions always involve a new more “dynamic”(a favorite word for him) iteration with bigger budgets even more access to taxpayer’s (from all over the world) money and, always, always more power. Of course the ability and willingness of sovereign nations to accede to his designs are limited, so Soros is putting his vast funds to work trying to empower as well as create new agencies of international governance. The appeal of international governance is the same for Soros as it is and has been for other’s who would use the power of the state to further their ends. International governing bodies are more insulated from the complaints of those who pay the taxes and have to obey the laws then are sovereign nations.

  11. ?but, the “self hating Jew” criticism of Soros would be laughable were it not so ugly. That charming bit of name calling invites visions of psychosis. It’s usually invoked against Jews who commit the transgression of speaking against the Israeli government by it’s knee jerk supporters. The Jewish critics of the Israeli state are immune from being attacked with the standard issue “anti-Semite” card (at times shamefully played by neo-con camp against their critics, but it lacked punch as too many neos aren’t Jews and too many of their critics are) so they are hit with the variant. The message is the same though:
    Your thoughts aren’t valid because you hate. It also serves to change the subject from the criticism to the critics defending themselves against charges of harboring prejudice.

    Soros didn’t say that the anti-Semitism fostered by the Sharon regime’s crimes is justified. (probably, and hopefully, he thinks that anti-Semitism and all racism is always wrong) He just said that the actions of the Sharon regime fostred it.

  12. Jason Holliston:
    “I wonder if, in Soro’s attacks upon Sharon, he remembers the deal that Arafat walked away from at Camp David three and a half years ago.”

    Actually, from a Palestinian perspective that wasn’t such a good deal:
    Anyway, Sharon is assailable on many accounts.

    Kevin Carson @ 10:01PM thank you for your citations and GIL @ 11:41PM thank you for your link as well.

  13. Matt notes the apparently contradiction of a man who is extremely critical of himself but also hugely egotistical. I think it’s resolvable; it takes a big ego to believe that one can root out one’s own poor thinking with more thinking.

    Regarding “self-hating Jew”, I think Rick is right – it’s an ugly term that has long since had its day. If someone called me that, to my face, I’d beat the shit out of them.

  14. I had a Hungarian expatriate friend a few years ago who thought that Soros did more harm than good with his buttinski way of trying to influence events (in eastern Europe). I don’t know if he was correct about that, but my basic impression of Soros is that he’s an extremely astute gambler with a lot of grandiose ideas about politics & his place in it. Personally, I’d just as soon have Amarillo Slim trying to reshape the neo-democratic world as I would Soros.

    I suspect that after George Bush hands the Democrats their heads next year, we won’t be hearing too much out of Mr. Soros. Just by his age I doubt he’ll have as much energy for this in 2008 as he does now.

  15. Having read the extract of his book I have to say it’s 100% spot on in every respect. Of course this is obvious if you don’t live in the US.

    As for referring to him as a self-hating Jew, the reference was to:

    “I’m also very concerned about my own role because the new anti-Semitism holds that the Jews rule the world… As an unintended consequence of my actions…I also contribute to that image.”

    Which is simply pointing out that he’s aware of the consequences of his actions when considering the perceptions of bigots. He doesn’t hate himself in the slightest.


  16. I’m not saying the Russian privatization went particularly well. Only that Soros shouldn’t blame the oligarchs for it. Many of the oligarchs (i.e. the ones pursued by the Kremlin) want a Russia where the government is accountable and anyone can become rich. If Soros wants the same thing, then he shouldn’t bad-mouth them.

    Here is the original article that I had in mind:

  17. EMAIL: pamela_woodlake@yahoo.com
    URL: http://linux-shell-account.1st-host.org
    DATE: 01/20/2004 04:52:40
    Both dreams and people crash down.

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