A few thoughts on finance, Goldman Sachs, and porn stars.
Now for a few thoughts on finance, ethics, and the economy that have some relevance to what is going on in the nation today.
* Most of the men and women who work in finance and who handle other people’s money are devoted, capable, law abiding persons. This cannot be forgotten in the midst of a general outcry about some persons and some entities that put profit far ahead of pride. A staggering sum of money passes through these peoples’ hands daily without untoward incident. Credit where it’s due.
* However, that being said, there are certain persons and certain entities for whom profit is pride and for whom all the big questions in life are about “how many” and not about “how,” or more properly put, all questions about “how” and “why” are answered by answers about “how many.”
For an instructive example, I often hear questions about how people on Wall Street and in finance could possibly have made bets against their clients and lied to and deceived them. I am not saying that happened in the Goldman Sachs case, although the SEC alleges that it did. But clearly there have been many such cases in the past. The whole story of Drexel Burnham Lambert was about lies to the clients. So was a large part of the story of Enron.
How can men and women behave that way? Well, let me give you an example. I have long wondered how men and women could appear in porn movies. To me, they seem repellent and degrading on a special, humiliating scale. What could make human beings do such things and then have them on the Internet for the world to see in perpetuity?
Was it some childhood scar? Some deep deprivation of love in infancy?
A few days ago, I ran into a beautiful, revealingly dressed woman in the elevator of a building in Los Angeles where I have an office. I asked her where she was from and she mentioned a small city in Texas. I asked her what had brought her to Los Angeles.
“Well,” she said, “I came here to be in the adult film industry.”
“Really?” I asked her. “I have always been curious about what makes people go into that field. Do you have any ideas about what deep motives might have made you go into it?”
“Yes,” she said. “It pays really well.”
“Okay. How much can it possibly pay?” I asked.
“From five hundred to fifteen hundred a scene,” she answered.
“With respect,” I said, “that does not seem like a lot.”
“It is to someone who was earning an hourly wage as a waitress,” she said. “Where else was I going to earn that much money in a day?”
There you have it. For some people, if there is enough money, that answers all questions about morality and ethics and pride.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?