Wednesday, September 21, 2016

George Soros Notes

George Soros is in the news.
The name George Soros triggers a visceral hate and suspicion response in conservatives, but those of us who have paid attention to this guy over the years have a different opinion. I never heard of him til sometime in the late Eighties when he wrote something in a popular periodical -- Atlantic or something -- and I was very impressed. So for the last twenty-five years I have been paying attention. I know he is reviled by both traditional and neo conservatives, but to those of us on the left he is Mister Moneybags, one of the few pieces of heavy artillery we have fighting the Koch brothers.

Now approaching ninety, Soros is making news again for pledging funds to help ameliorate a tragedy -- the biggest human migration since WWII. As a backup to my old blog I'm reworking something I put together ten years ago when Rocket Boom's Amanda Congdon scored an interview with him. That video (along with most of Rocketboom, sadly) has since been deleted, but here are notes made at the time.


Really interesting. Rocketboom's Amanda Congdon scored big this time. And Soros comes across as the gentleman that he is. His view of global markets and how they fail to address global problems is very threatening to many people. He is one of the world's richest individuals, and when he puts his money where his mouth is he aims to get results. When a mouth like that is talking, only the most foolish among us would fail to pay attention.

I have great respect for Soros. His intellect seems to match his financial achievements and he has used his considerable financial power responsibly. As far as I know he hasn't had people killed, which is more than can be said for many powerful people.
When Amanda asked him about his "online habits" he responded by calling himself a dinosaur. He said "I have people helping me" take care of that. I bet. Asking Soros about online habits is like asking what brand of laundry detergent he prefers. Amanda is a sweetheart for that question. But as they say, a cat can look at a king.

When he speaks of world markets he says quite simply that there is an idea that "when markets 'do their thing' they will take care of all our problems...This is a misconception." When he says that he has my undivided attention. I am sick to death of the marketplace displacing -- among other values and institutions -- the church. The only thing that makes me sicker, is when I see churches going along with the notion.

The video time is not listed, but it's about five minutes or so. [As I said, it's now gone...]
There was a time that I believed in accidents, that many events were simply 'random" or "coincidental." Bierce's definition of accident as an inevitable event due to the interaction of immutable natural laws always amused me, but only because for a long time I didn't take into account what seem to be natural spiritual laws. In recent years I have noticed what some people call prophetic voices, words that bring forth understandings unexpected but edifying.

This morning's post by Dr. Bob [another vanished link] fits comfortably into the prophetic mold regarding the Soros interview just cited and my reaction to it. Remember, now, that Soros does not speak in religious terms. From a Christian viewpoint he may be pagan. But his message is not contrary to that of the church. Like Ghandi he might be able to say "give me your Christ, but keep your Christianity." I don't know. But reflect on what Soros says in light of these prophetic words from Dr. Bob.

Western culture has bankrupted the very treasure from which its greatness arose, leaving an increasingly fragile shell of process without principles, institutions without inspiration, governance without grace. Steeped in knowledge yet long in shortcomings, our culture increasingly dismisses the spiritual and transcendent as but mere ignorance or malign superstition, and thus strangles its own lifeblood in its frantic rush to solve problems of the soul with the prescriptions of science and sociology. Our sickness is deep, and pervasive, and ultimately deadly–and made even more dangerous by our peculiar denial that there exists any sickness at all. Such malady takes many forms: from evangelistic secularism, seeking to purge all thought or mention of religion from our collective consciousness; to the intellectual miasma of postmodernism, where the only absolute truth is the denial of absolute truth; to the grand charade, where lust for power or corrupt materialism masquerade in the mantle of religious devotion or a gospel of social justice–which is neither just nor good for society; to the spirituality of the self, which seeks to find God within having denied Him without, and ends up worshiping only ego, in all its hideous manifestations.

There are, it is said, many roads to God–a cozy notion for the intellectually lazy and spiritually slothful, a passing nod to a past glory still spoken of but no longer believed. It is a bromide fast dissolving in a world where religious zealots praise Allah while slaughtering women and children; where men sing of Jesus while drinking poison Koolaid; where televised con-men fleece the faithful while preaching love and generosity; where men of the cloth speak of killing the elderly and suctioning the young with soothing words of “mercy” and “freedom” and “choice.” We are tossed like ships in a storm because we have lost both rudder and mast: the principles which have steered us, and the power which gives us purpose and direction, have been swept away in the rolling swells of material prosperity and the saturating rains of empty information and worthless knowledge.

I claim no inside knowledge. All I know is what I read in the, what I come across on the blogs. Something here strikes me as prophetic.
Dr. Bob's excellent blog has since vanished. Last I looked he had joined the growing ranks of Christian political types now facing another dilemma about which devil with which to strike a deal. That's why I have become in recent years what Baptists once called a "backslider."