Once upon a time the American Establishment enjoyed business paragons such as David Rockefeller, Daniel Ludwig, William S. Paley, Henry Ford II, not to mention Thomas Watson and his son Thomas Watson, Jr. Toward the end of the 20th century, that old power elite had gone with the wind, replaced by people that Hilaire Belloc used to refer to as money-shufflers, hustlers who never created anything but employed a few secretaries while they bet on whether other people’s accomplishments would rise or fall in value. It was and is a hell of a game, mostly done with mirrors, as people who don’t like to be sued call the stock-market manipulations of today.
Ivan Boesky, Michael Milken, and their ilk were among the last to make big bucks by insider trading, but eventually got caught and sent to the big house. The godfather of all crooks is, of course, Uncle Bernie Madoff.
The KO punch that took out the godfather of the crooks was the near-implosion of the financial system and the Great Recession that followed. One “financier” who survived all of the above was one of the most disgusting people I have had the good luck never to have met, George Soros, a man whose vulgarity, venality, and loathsomeness deserves a Gogol or a Dostoyevsky for a biographer. (Having said that, I once had dinner with Soros’s brother and sister-in-law, and found them both polite and congenial, as is his nephew Peter, a good sort I have known for a very long time.) A cocksure self-promoter like no other, Soros has been in the news lately because he was the star of the recent Brussels Economic Forum. Leave it to a Belgian bastard race to invite a man of Soros’s character and past to address them. Soros spent his time on the podium criticizing Hungary’s right-wing government in general, and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in particular.
The great irony was that Soros referred to his native land as a “mafia state,” not unlike John Gotti calling David Rockefeller a gangster. Soros is alluded to as a philanthropist by newspapers like the New York Times because of his financing of extreme left-wing causes, and the shady currency speculator does give lots of money away—to subversive groups and individuals, as far as I’m concerned. Reputedly, he backed Ferguson rioters as well as Trump protesters, although he has denied both charges.
Soros made the big score betting against the British pound back in the early 90’s. He made over one billion pounds in 24 hours. Ever since, his agenda has been one of promoting left-wing causes: antipolice, pro-rioters—you know the type. His latest attack against Hungary’s right-wing government has the stooges of the E.U. in Brussels stamping their feet in unison, applauding the Hungarian-born money-shuffler to the rafters. The fight with Orbán is over a university that is financed and founded by Soros. The Hungarian government is threatening to shut it down on the grounds that the American university does not operate a campus in the United States, where it is registered. Soros calls it a crackdown on free expression.
Free expression is a double-edged sword. As long as it’s left-wing it should be free, at least according to György Porgie. The Hungarian government doesn’t see it that way. It insists that organizations that receive foreign financing should identify themselves as such and disclose their donors. Here, in the good old U.S. of A., foreign organizations need to register. This prevents money laundering and terrorist financing. Soros’s financing in Hungary makes him a foreign agent, but try to tell this to the Times or the crooks in Brussels. In fact, the Hungarian government calls the Soros network a Mafia-style operation. Be that as it may, any organization financed from abroad is a danger to the independence of the country involved.
Soros is too smart to be an insider trader; his weakness is that he’s a megalomaniac. He fled Hungary during the Nazi occupation, which has led to some very ugly rumors about how he escaped—rumors that I do not believe, incidentally. But his wealth, which is in the tens of billions, has fed his megalomania, and he now wants to run the whole show, but unlike a certain wavy-haired real-estate tycoon in D.C., he likes to do it from behind the scenes. Hungary is a sovereign country that has resisted the E.U.’s orders for open borders for Middle East migrants, and admits only Christians from that unhappy place. This apparently has outraged Soros, who is Jewish, and who would be among the first to be blown up if some of the Islamists he favors could get near him.
Such are the joys of liberals with billions made speculating on the markets. Belloc would have had a field day with Soros, especially with his Hungarian background. As a great Rumanian film director once said, “Both Hungarians and Rumanians would sell their mother for a dollar, but at least we’d deliver.”