Scruton and Soros 1161


One principle of this blog is that I give my views whether they will be welcome or not, either to the general public or to the portion of the public who regularly read this blog. Since we started accepting subscriptions to keep it going, almost every article causes somebody to write to me saying they are canceling their subscription because they did not agree with me. I would much prefer anybody who is kindly giving money in the expectation of agreeing with everything I write, to cancel now. The purpose of this blog is to be intellectually challenging and provide food for thought, with facts and viewpoints not readily available in the mainstream media. It is about intellectual inquiry, not followership.

This is one of those occasions when I know that a significant number of people here will not agree with me. I like George Soros and consider him to be a good man. I should declare an interest; he once bought me a pizza, over 20 years ago. But I considered then, and I consider now, that Soros is a man who has devoted huge amounts of his personal resources, in terms of time and in terms of money, to attempting to make the world a better place, from motives of altruism.

Furthermore I believe that a lot of the work of the Open Society Institute, which I witnessed first hand, in Poland and Uzbekistan and elsewhere, is good work, particularly in the field of human rights and media freedom.

I believe that Roger Scruton’s attack on Soros, particularly in a venue in Hungary where the far right Prime Minister has conducted a truly hateful, state orchestrated, anti-semitic and anti-immigrant campaign against Soros, puts Scruton totally beyond the pale.

Soros frequently is cited in comments below the line on this blog as the personification of evil capitalism. Let me address the obvious elephants in the room. The first is how he made his money. This I make no attempt to defend. He has simply managed assets and traded derivative products, particularly in foreign exchange markets, and either by brilliance or sustained good luck, become extremely wealthy from an activity that provides no societal good. Indeed derivatives trading is a cancerous growth on modern economies, where the financial flows vastly exceed the value of trade in actual goods or genuine first party services.

However, people live and work in the economic situation that exists; to condemn people for not dropping out and going off-grid is to adopt a purist and ineffective position. I do not know how Soros got into the business line he adopted, but I am not condemning every individual working in trading. It is also worth stating that Soros’ ethnicity is utterly irrelevant to his career, and those who hint otherwise are offensive.

The second elephant in the room is that Soros appears aligned to the global spread of neo-liberalism, and to the Clinton camp with its warmongering foreign policy. Leaving aside for two paragraphs the question of whether or not that is true, the most important answer to that is that the man is entitled to his beliefs. To condemn him because his beliefs are not all my beliefs would be wrong. That Soros uses so much of his personal wealth to try to make the world a better place, according to his view of how society might best be structured, makes him a good man and not a bad man. That I may have a different view of how society should be structured is not the test; it is whether somebody is genuinely trying to do good by others.

Soros’ view of how society might best be structured is coloured by his past experience of the Eastern bloc. It is natural that anybody from what was occupied Hungary looks at Russia with a wary and distrustful eye. It is natural that those who understand the real failings of Soviet style central planning are dubious of schemes of socialism. But Soros is in fact fairly mainstream European social democrat with very liberal societal views. I genuinely do not understand his demonisation by large sections of the left. Soros is anathema to the right wing nationalist parties of Eastern Europe.

It is also worth pointing out that Soros’ view of his own profession is by no means straightforward. He argued extremely strongly for greater financial regulation, publishing highly informative and reasoned books on the subject, at the height of the craze for deregulation. He was not a supporter of the Big Bang or of Gordon Brown’s market worship. His 1998 opus, The Crisis of Global Capitalism, argues that financial markets are inherently unstable and swing like a wrecking ball not like a pendulum, and that globalisation is in fact an extension of Imperialism. That someone made so much money, from rules he believed should have been altered to stop him doing it, is a conundrum; but he is altogether a complicated character.

Finally, that Soros is a warmonger and supporter of US military attacks on the Middle East is not true. He opposed the Iraq war, and is generally against military intervention. His funding reaches so many NGO’s, of diverse views, it is always possible to find a tweet by Avaaz, or a report on Syrian human rights violations by Amnesty International, and make the claim “that is Soros shilling for war”. But in fact his influence on the vast array of civil society institutions he funds is extremely light touch, and they encompass widely differing viewpoints. Soros’ strong support for the warmonger Clinton is something I do not attempt to justify, other than to note that many people of liberal views are taken in by the old “liberal” establishment. It is quite a psychological step to accept it has gone full neo-con.

I most certainly do not agree with all of Soros’ views, or actions. But I agree with more of them than you may suppose. That all of his actions are motivated by a desire to make more money for himself or to benefit the ruling class, I am quite sure is not true. That he is a hawk and a warmonger I do not believe. That his efforts do a lot of real good I have witnessed first hand. The demonisation of Soros is lazy, inaccurate and unfair.


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1,161 thoughts on “Scruton and Soros

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  • Dave

    One million pounds and one penny is more than one million pounds!

    If I said they’re the same, Clark would say you’re wrong, you’re wrong, they’re not the same, you’re trying to mislead people with false information and would then hype the importance of the one penny. So to forestall that, lets agree they’re different, but one penny is irrelevant in the scheme of things.

    The same applies to his point about the expansion of water as an explanation for rising sea levels. Clark called it the thermal expansion of oceans. I did say water doesn’t expand as water to dispute this and he said I’m wrong because water does expand and then hyped the importance of this expansion.

    So lets be clear, water can expand as water, but its irrelevant to rising sea levels, but very important in controlled situations such as boilers and steam engines.

    Its irrelevant to sea levels because whilst water can expand as water when heated, it almost entirely expands by turning to ice or steam. This means the oceans don’t thermally expand, because only the surface area would warm up on a sunny day, but if temperatures rose or fell the water would freeze or evaporate. You can test this by warming some water on the stove. When heated it hardly expands, but turns to steam.

    So go back to basics. Where does all the sea water come from and if sea levels are, allegedly, rising, it means there must be more water, so what’s creating this new water? I don’t know, but I’m doubtful that man made emissions of carbon dioxide is causing an increase in the amount of water on planet earth. Elementary!

    • Blunderbuss

      @Dave 08:16

      Coefficient of expansion of water is 0.000214. This means that if you take 1,000,000 gallons of water and increase its temperature from (say) 15 C to 16 C it will become 1,000,214 gallons. However, I think the main cause of rising sea level is alleged to be melting of polar ice.

      You might find this film interesting:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYhCQv5tNsQ

      • Dave

        Good link. But I just web searched how much of earth is covered by water and I find its 71%. The seas contain 97% of earth’s water and 2-3% as glaciers and ice caps. So even if all the ice melted, not expected to happen soon, it would make little difference, as it shrinks as it melts. And heated water may expand a bit as water, but has to remain heated, which wont apply to most of the oceans which are vast and very deep.

        • Dave

          Correction, if all the ice melted, it would make a difference, but not expected to happen any time soon. Most of Antarctica doesn’t rise above freezing and the Artic ice is floating in the sea, so wouldn’t make much difference if it melted as ice shrinks as it melts.

          • Blunderbuss

            My view is that, if the sea level is going to rise, then it’s going to rise so the sensible way to tackle it is to build up sea defences as the Dutch have been doing for many years.

  • Tony M

    Imputing motives? Clark, has been and it seems will always remain a nuclear-power shill. He’s made claims here that radiation is good for people, a little mutation would be positive and such stuff, no surprise he’s pushing the global warming scare, he’s still trying to undo consequences of bad career choices he’d made in the past and whitewash that deadly industry’s grim consequences for the survival of human, if not all, life on this planet. In normal operation and in the many plants unfortunate ‘excursions’ it kills many, will kill all; its net negative EROEI (Energy return on energy input), its hidden carbon footprint, from carbon-intensive mining, refinining, enriching, to the temporary storage and transportation of its very high and lesser radioactive waste products, the insolubility of the long-term waste-storage issue, other than kicking it onto future generations and for them to do the same in turn until the end of our time, all mean it is infinitely worse than burning stuff directly, its claims to be clean carbon-free or low-carbon do not stand even the least scutiny. Not to mention the very many, and those some of the largest nuclear devices ever tested, test explosions in the upper atmosphere, events such as the late-50’s fire at Windscale in Cumbria where 11-tons of Plutonium were vaporised, aerosolised into the atmosphere and dispersed all over the UK and beyond -what effect have those had on the global climate, the ozone layer, the stability and equilibrium of the biosphere?

    Catastrophic events at Chernobyl where much of Belarus, Ukraine are rendered uninhabitable, much of north-west Europe, including large parts of the UK, such as North Wales, Dumfries & Galloway and Moray-shire, still suffer the radiological, the human and economic burdens. Other parts of the USSR are contaminated from testing above and below ground, where in many places a form of nuclear bomb fracking for gas release and gas-storage all led to surface contamination. Caithness too, where at Dounreay waste materials were simply thrown down a hole in the ground which connected with the sea and the reactor itself and billions spent were simply written off, when the reactor core melted almost immediately it was first run. There is too Fukushima in Japan, where a tidal wave (attributed unconvincingly to an insignificant earthquake) disastrously destroyed four nuclear power plants simultaneously, contaminating (still) much of Japan and significant portions of the Pacific Ocean.

    This industry has and always has been the great threat to humankind, not some theoretical threat based on pseudo-science, creative (misuse) use of statistics and bolstered by media-hyped misplaced ‘climate-change’ alarmism. Human life has survived all manner of extreme climatic events, always regenerates, but nuclear weapons and nuclear power emissions contaminating the seas, the land and the very air we breathe, are the terminator technologies; alone or in combination with even modest normal long-term fluctuation in climate, otherwise easily adapted to as before many times, this nuclear dice with death will assure the end life as we knew it.

    Renewables, solar, wind and hydro-power, storage are the answer, not Clark’s beloved bomb factories for the Pentagon, cancer factories for the slow agonising destruction of all things, all, beauty, all life.

  • Paul Barbara

    ‘AN INSIDE LOOK AT HOW US-FUNDED FASCISTS IN UKRAINE MENTOR US WHITE SUPREMACISTS’:
    https://southfront.org/an-inside-look-at-how-us-funded-fascists-in-ukraine-mentor-us-white-supremacists/
    ‘..Meanwhile, groups like the Anti-Defamation League — which supposedly exist to battle anti-Semitism — refused to support a congressional effort to ban arms to groups affiliated with Right Sector, because “the focus should be on Russia.”…’

    ‘…Behind the scenes, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt were carefully stage managing the opposition, positioning the pliable Arseniy Yatsenyuk as the future leader of a U.S. client-state. Meanwhile, billionaire-backed U.S. soft-power entities like the Omidyar Network and Open Society Foundation plowed money into the opposition, providing it with high-tech organizing capacity and establishing new media outlet Hromadske overnight….’

    The ‘Open Society Foundations’ are Soros Foundations – he is up to his neck in promoting the Fascist revival, as well as the US’s ‘Regime Change’ agenda.
    That the US promoted the Fascist takeover in Ukraine shouldn’t be a surprise; they integrated Nazis into the ‘Stay Behind Armies’ (Gladio) shortly after the war, protecting them from prosecution in various European countries.
    And Soros, of course, had no qualms working for the Nazis during the war.
    Israel also remains remarkably mute re the Ukraine Fascists (ex-IDF groups were involved in the Maidan alongside the Fascists).
    And as I quoted above, ‘..the Anti-Defamation League — which supposedly exist to battle anti-Semitism — refused to support a congressional effort to ban arms to groups affiliated with Right Sector, because “the focus should be on Russia.”

    But heck, deep down he’s such a decent fellow, that Soros…

  • Sharp Ears

    ‘\I know nothing’….

    Zuckerberg keeps hands clean as Facebook policy chief takes fall for hiring firm to probe Soros
    22 Nov, 2018 13:48
    https://www.rt.com/usa/444643-facebook-admits-definers-soros/

    ‘Facebook’s head of communications has apologized for the company’s business dealings with a firm hired to investigate billionaire financier George Soros. CEO Mark Zuckerberg claims he was unaware of the shady campaign.

    The tech giant has been on the defensive since it was reported that it had enlisted the services of Definers, a consulting firm, in hopes of painting anti-Facebook campaigns as activism funded by billionaire financier George Soros.

    [Read more Soros sold off Facebook stocks before they tanked, documents show]

    Falling on his sword, Head of Communications and Policy Elliot Schrage apologized in a saccharine press release for “let[ting] you all down” – even while avoiding explicitly admitting green-lighting the anti-Soros campaign.

    For that, he blames the “management system” he built without releasing names, or necessitating further firings. Faithful to the last, Schrage dutifully conveyed that “Mark” – referring to the company’s CEO – “wants to hold us to a higher standard.”

    “I regret my own failure here,” the self-flagellating communications head added.

    Zuckerberg has denied any knowledge of Definers’ existence, let alone its mission. “I have tremendous respect for George Soros,” Zuckerberg said last week in a conference call with reporters. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg also played dumb, though she did admit to having “received a small number of emails where Definers was referenced.”
    !!

  • ModReb

    This blog post misses the mark. I’m not able to comment usefully concerning Scruton’s intervention in Hungary on Soros, but any productive discussion concerning the demonisation of Soros and what position to adopt about it must start by correctly identifying the forces driving the demonisation. There is an agenda behind it and you either oppose that agenda or you serve it, whether or not wittingly.

    The issue isn’t whether Soros is a good guy or a bad guy, or whether criticism of him is lazy and unfair. The issue is that the demonisation is being promoted by far-right conspiracy theorists who see ‘globalists’ as striving to control the world against the interests of the common people. They are said to be an ‘elite’ (Bannon’s term) who oppress us and who are secretly striving for one-world government. This right-wing populism dovetails with old antisemitic tropes (Soros being a Jew) and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, in which many of these fascist nutters believe. The fact that the left also has a critique of neo-liberal ‘globalism’ merely serves to build the populist base for the fascist right as they borrow certain of its ideas to serve their purpose. Hitler’s movement wasn’t called national ‘socialist’ for nothing.

    You can see this agenda playing out on social media every day as every anti-Trump and or anti-Islamophobia initiative is said to be ‘funded by Soros’. The intention in Europe is to whip up anti-Muslim, anti-migrant hysteria into an attack on ‘globalism’ (open borders etc) and build the New Right. It’s unfolding now. If you are discussing Soros you need to start by calling this out!! There are worse things than socially liberal globalists – fascists, i.e. They are getting you to defend Soros instead of attacking them

  • Aleksandar Sarovic

    Dear Craig, If you want to understand the world you need to accept that conspiracies exist. Soros did donate billions of dollars to East European countries through “Open society.” By using this money he got connected with the governments of these countries and was able to influence them. Some may call it corruption but not necessarily. I believe he was a frontman for a group of rich people who cheaply bought everything valuable in this countries and profited from the initial investment well.

  • Cass Dean

    You are unmasked, and lazy, inaccurate and unfair sums it up.

    The problem with George Soros is not how he made his money, but that he is using it for exceedingly evil ends. There is no excuse for anyone feeling himself entitled to choose the government of a small town by clandestine patronage, let alone the governments of countries.

    We do not actually know, I suppose, if he is using his own money. What has he ever funded that is inconsistent with the CIA using him as a laundry for funding their own projects?

    It’s not my read on how your mind works that you just didn’t think of it this way. The alternate is that you have overlooked it in order to obfuscate.

    How disappointing.

  • Radar O’Reilly

    Scott Adams (former US engineer, later artist , humorist, now political analyst) has summed up Soros thus:

    George Soros conclusion:
    He donates a great deal of money to political activists

    His intentions and their impact on our politics are opaque

    Without transparency, his actions warrant concern

    More at dilbert.com

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