Two Antithetical Billionaires

Victor Davis Hanson
American Greatness

Before the midterm November elections, Sam Bankman-Fried was a left-wing billionaire heartthrob.

He properly grew up on the Stanford campus, where his parents were well-known left-wing activist law professors. He went to a tony prep school and on to MIT.

Bankman-Fried mocked society’s bourgeois capitalist conventions by dressing and looking like a slob in cut-offs and T-shirts.

Indeed, he bested the nose-ring, Charles Manson-esque appearance of former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. He outdid the all-black, Steve Jobs copy-cat get-up of another fallen leftist icon, the now-convicted felon Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos infamy.

The Left canonized Bankman-Fried for the hundreds of millions of dollars he created out of thin air and channeled to left-wing congressional and state candidates, Joe Biden, and a host of “progressive” causes under the cool slogan “effective altruism.”

For decades hence—or so Bankman-Fried promised—his cryptocurrency company FTX would churn out billions. Its politically correct gifting won exemptions from the Federal Trade Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Democratic-controlled congressional oversight committees.

The loud-talking, left-wing slob promised billions of dollars more in gifts to come. He was knighted as the successor to the kindred financial market manipulator and progressive “philanthropist” George Soros.

SBF may have been a sloppy, immature fool, but he was no dummy.

He had learned early on that loud leftist talk, big promises of philanthropy, and huge cash infusions to the media and leftist candidates—all under the veneer of “effective altruism”— ensured de facto immunity for his Ponzi schemes from both bad press and government investigation.

Then, suddenly, the midterms were over. Powerful financial interests were screaming their millions had vanished at the hands of SBF.

The Republicans took the House. They promised embarrassing hearings, with Bankman-Fried the loose-talking star villain. And so—presto!—he was finally indicted by the Biden Department of Justice.

Bankman-Fried, in desperation one last time, had turned to his old props of raggedy dress, nerd talk, and contrived naivete.

His schtick no longer worked. Too many leftists were embarrassed that they got too much money from him. Too many exposed “regulators” had known what this wannabe Madoff character was up to before the midterms.

The now albatross Bankman-Fried was loud and everywhere, then suddenly not—and won’t be again.

In contrast, consider how the Left now despises Elon Musk as much as it once worshiped Sam Bankman-Fried.

Musk once mixed vaguely liberal politics with a David-versus-Goliath self-confidence, as he took on Big Auto and Big Space—and won.

But then he turned to Twitter and Big Tech. Or, rather, Musk realized Silicon Valley was no longer the irreverent embryo of boy geniuses he remembers from his youth, which outsmarted and preempted the global technology establishment.

Instead, it had become a dreary, constipated place of hard-core, uncompromising leftists in need of a shake-up.

Tech moguls used their billions, their monopolies, and their exemptions from oversight to warp the way Americans searched the Internet, communicated with each other, voted, and accessed the news—all in service to left-wing causes.

Musk’s mortal sin was not just buying the money-losing Twitter and reinventing it as a free-speech platform.

It was not even exposing the company’s rot of a lazy, overstaffed, woke, and pampered workforce and its giddiness in censoring free expression and wounding the public careers of any who challenged the status quo.

Musk’s crime was far worse.

First, was the sin of betrayal. A month ago, all those Teslas on the streets of Palo Alto, Austin, and Cambridge were virtue-signaling proof of green moral superiority. Then suddenly, these still wonderful cars are seen as fuel for the prince of darkness.

Musk, of all people, now the progressive apostate, would dare to end Twitter as a left-wing bulwark. And he promised to flip this time-tried Pravda to host anyone to say what he pleased.

Second, Musk doesn’t much care that the Left hates him. No doubt he regrets the billions he paid for the overpriced, money-losing company.

No doubt he frets that Tesla may lose sales once yuppies and greens trade in their Tesla amulets as if they were now some godforsaken gas-guzzling SUVs.

But otherwise, Musk has the resources, the youth, genius, and the energy to do to social media what he did to the space and automobile industries: revolutionize it, open it up to keener competition, and to reject stifling orthodoxy.

How sad that the Left despises a man who built real things against the odds and took risks to champion free speech. And how predictable it worshiped a leftist fraud who bilked a million investors and ruined the lives of thousands.

The hatred of the accomplished Musk and the worship of the hollow man Bankman-Fried are sad commentaries on how liberalism has descended into progressivism and ultimately into Stalinism.


Share This

19 thoughts on “Two Antithetical Billionaires”

  1. I still don’t quite comprehend Silicon Valley’s stunning turn to the hard left while simultaneously coupling with big Gov’t. It was built on the foundation of WWII and post-WWII Defense R&D, then business computing, the transistor, and silicon wafer production. The first and second generations of the electronics experts, revolutionized by the transistor, followed by the techies of the the Santa Clara Hippie geek/nerd crowd beginning in the 70s it just seem implausible that this loosely defined cabal of industry would fall into collaboration with big government in any sense. That said, government and high tech do have a history of collaboration that goes back over a 100 years (e.g. The Puzzle Palace) so maybe through some twists of logic, pun intended, it does all make sense.

    1. Having lived in Silicon Valley during it’s birth and on, creatures who made millions from their garages, sometime without any well rounded higher education, just plain got full of themselves. They quickly became the owners of huge estates, separated by fences and gates, escorted to and from work, kids in private schools, vacations out of country, ad infinitum to the point that they have no connection to regular Americans. “Let them eat cake”

  2. A couple of quibbles. For one, SBF is not accused of running a Ponzi scheme but of old fashioned stealing his clients’ assets and using them for his own purposes, aka embezzlement, much like Madoff, whose prison bunk is available. The Babylon Bee satirically says that the politicians want him prosecuted for running out of bribery money. It’ll be interesting to see if the bankruptcy trustees try to claw back some of those political donations, in which case expect to see the clients and creditors be vilified as being unworthy of having any funds returned or bills paid.

    Has Musk revolutionized the car industry and opened it up to keener competition? Tesla is unique in being a startup car company with legs, though it was built on subsidies and tax credits that other car companies were compelled to purchase. But yes, it is now a competitor and some of the cars are pretty nifty. However, the US manufacturers faced far keener competitive stress as the Japanese and Korean manufacturers made inroads into the US car market during the 1970s-80s and beyond. It’s true that pretty much everyone is now making an electric vehicle to great fanfare, but they’re still not selling very many of them and plenty of public charging stations are unreliable, though for many people they could be a suitable vehicle if you don’t take road trips.

    1. Agree or sometimes I wonder if the media is so corrupt they want you to believe Trump and Musk is hated and unpopular? Everywhere I go Trump is loved and I live on LI and have a home in SC …

  3. I love your use 9f the word “constipated “. It reminded me of Jack Nicholson’s Joker declaring in the 1989 Batman: “This town needs an enima!” Oddly prescient film, that one.

  4. Dear Dr. Hanson:
    I think the key word here is “accomplished!” The left ultimately hates accomplishment and ultimately will eat its own. The accomplished will be the appetizer if the left ever gains total power (at least enough to keep the survivors in line). I think that explains their hatred for the middle class as well. The MC has accomplished enough to not be dependent on the left and be forced to worship at whatever altar they create.

  5. Since SBF can be discarded in a heartbeat by the “progressive” Stalinists, how much more vulnerable are the countless ( but self-absorbed) useful pedestrian idiots of their revered “progressive” party? There cannot be 8 billion elites.

  6. The left’s love affair with Sam Bankman-Fried reminds me of their love affair with another sleazeball fraud: former Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti. Remember that clown on CNN every night as he dished out lies about Trump? Many on the left were hoping he’d run for President in 2020. LOL He’s now serving 14 years for fraud. Maybe he’ll be cell-mate with SBF.

    1. Oh, that makes me laugh. Living in blue California I’ve got lefties and Trumpsters among my friends and family (we choose to avoid politics at Thanksgiving), but I can remember being told that Trump was toast because no one could stand up to Avenatti. If Trump is through it wasn’t the sleazy and criminal Avenatti that did it. But you are correct – the Dems did see him as their white knight.

      I’m in a pox on both their parties mood. As an independent I vote Republican because I think they do less harm, but jeez I wish they were smarter.

  7. “The hatred of the accomplished Musk and the worship of the hollow man Bankman-Fried are sad commentaries on how liberalism has descended into progressivism and ultimately into Stalinism.”

    Why American commentators never use the obvious word that everyone understand? Why educated folks never use the word, COMMUNISM??

  8. My 15 year old child said, Stalinism, Marxism, Maoism are ideology, while Communism is a form of government, and currently in used by a number of countries, hence, the author may not want to use the word, Communism, as it can offend these countries.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *