The ESG of SBF
On Monday, Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested on eight separate counts of defrauding his investors out of $1.8 billion through his failed cryptocurrency/Ponzi scheme, FTX. Coincidentally, he was apprehended the day before he was going to testify in front of Congress where he might have incriminated himself, but also possibly incriminated some Democrat lawmakers in the process who he had donated millions of dollars to. So, he had to be put behind bars to shut him up.
The interesting part about this whole episode is the complete lack of outrage that is coming from the left. In the past, when there was a major financial fraud, whether it was Enron or Bernie Madoff or Mike Milken, the left was loudly outspoken, using these financial crimes to attack capitalism and the free market, and to push for more government control of our financial institutions. But Sam Bankman-Fried is different from those other people and other companies because Sam Bankman-Fried was seen as better than everybody else. He was more moral and more virtuous, and because of that, he believed that he could do whatever he wanted with impunity.
For most of his life, Sam Bankman-Fried has been told by most of America’s institutions that Republicans are the devil, and Conservatives are the devil’s minions. He believed that if he held the proper political positions, pushed the right social causes, and donated to the right political campaigns, then he attained a level of infallible virtue. He claimed to live by the “effective-altruism” and “earning to give”movements. In a pledge in which Bankman-Fried promised to give away most of his fortune, he wrote, “A while ago I became convinced that our duty was to do the most we could for the long run aggregate utility of the world… In the end, it’s the work my friends and colleagues at foundations do that matters the most.” He promised to give away $500 million per year to causes such as reducing climate change and Covid-19 preparedness.
Why would he believe he was not virtuous and special? All he had to do was spout out a lot of the woke talking points, and was rewarded handsomely – rich and famous people started investing in his company at a rate where he became an overnight billionaire. Major news agencies gushed all over him, running glorified profiles on him, calling him the next JP Morgan. This is what has been indoctrinated into his brain from the time he was a little kid. Republicans and Conservatives are the devil; Democrats and Liberals are the saviors. So, if you are on the left side, then you are moral and virtuous and special. Why would he think otherwise?
Because he was so virtuous, Bankman-Fried believed he was allowed to do whatever he wanted even if it meant defrauding thousands of investors out of billions of dollars. That did not matter because of all the good that he was doing with their money. As the second leading donor to the Democrat party in 2022, he was primarily responsible for helping the Democrats hold onto the Senate, and preventing the Republicans from having a true red wave. In short, he helped prevent the devil from taking power in America. So, that act of heroism, in and of itself, should cause people to turn a blind eye to all of his illegal activity.
Joe Biden stated that American democracy was at stake in the 2022 election, because Republicans were poised to take over the House and Senate. So, the millions of dollars that Sam Bankman-Fried donated to Democrats, regardless of whether the money was procured legally or not, saved American democracy, so it should not matter that he defrauded thousands of people out of billions of dollars. Imagine how much worse all of those peoples’ lives would be if American democracy had been lost – if they were forced to live under the semi-fascist rule of Republicans. Sam Bankman-Fried was a hero. He was on the same level as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King jr., and all those soldiers who stormed the beaches of Normandy.
Sam Bankman-Fried saved America. It does not matter that he hurt thousands of his investors in the process. And now, think about what Blackrock is doing with their ESG movement. Blackrock has a fiduciary obligation to their investors to put their interest first as the primary motivation for the decisions they make. If they do anything contrary to that, they are violating their fiduciary obligation to their investors. But Blackrock has been investing in companies not to grow their investors accounts as much as possible so they can retire comfortably – in alignment with their fiduciary responsibilities – but to grow their ESG score as high as possible even if that means their investors do not make as much money as they could have. ESG investing puts promoting liberal and left-wing causes first and the interest of the investors last. How is that any different than what Sam Bankman-Fried was doing? He used his company to put his left-wing politics first and his investors last. How is that any different than what Twitter has been doing up until Elon Musk took over? The executives at Twitter used their company to push left-wing politics first, and the interest and needs of the individual user last. The same can be said for Facebook and Instagram and Google, and all of the big tech companies. Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX were simply ESG allowed to run to its natural and full fruition. And thousands of people have been irreparably harmed.
If you want to destroy an economy, if you want to destroy a country allow politics to infect every major institution of that country. And over the last 40 years, the United States of America has allowed politics to infiltrate and take over our education system, our entertainment industry, professional sports, the media, social media, law enforcement, our intelligence agency, our military, and now it is infecting our financial institutions. But the interesting observation about the politicization of all of our main institutions is that when we live our normal lives, and interact with most people, there is very little politics spoken. It is not as if people are clamoring to have politics in all of these institutions throughout their lives; it is that these institutions are so infected with politics from the outside that people by nature end up engaging in politics to a much greater extent than they would have if these institutions had remained politics-free.
Did anybody in the media ask Sam Bankman-Fried one hard question? Did anybody even wonder about his meteoric rise at such a young age? Or were they just so enamored with his virtue that there was no way that he could ever be doing anything to harm anyone? Isn’t this a little bit like the way we are handling our current President? How many journalists in the mainstream media ask Joe Biden a hard question? How many journalists in the mainstream media challenge his policy positions from the open border, to inflation, to our supply chain crisis, to gas prices, to crime, to fentanyl? How many journalists in the mainstream media have asked Joe Biden about his illegal business dealings in Ukraine and China using his son Hunter as a proxy to sell his influence? No one in the mainstream media is asking any of those questions because they believe they don’t have to because by being a Democrat and a liberal, Joe Biden is virtuous and incorruptible.
The mainstream media is so thrilled that Donald Trump is no longer the President that not only will they accept anybody who is not Donald Trump, they will turn a blind eye to everything that person is doing. There’s no way, in their mind, that somebody with a “D” next to their name could do anything that was dishonest or corrupt or unethical. That’s not the way it works in their minds where they think that every Republican is evil, and every Democrat is virtuous. So, you get a completely non-curious media when a Democrat wins the Presidency, and a completely out of control attacking media to the point of inventing scandals when a Republican is President. In the end, we get a completely warped country because our media, and every other main institution has been completely infected by left-wing politics. And no country can stand when it becomes this lopsided.
Judd Garrett is a graduate from Princeton University, and a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He has been a contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.