Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of colossally-failed cryptocurrency platform FTX, is just the latest swindler to parlay grandiose aspirations into a scam that goes down in flames and takes other people's money with it. Bankman-Fried (who goes by "SBF") set records in that department; he is said to have lost up to $51 billion.
SBF claimed to be a devotee of "effective altruism," a philosophy that argues in favor of becoming "filthy rich" so that one can then "give it all away."
He was filthy rich, all right --- at least on paper.
At one point, FTX had a valuation of more than $30 billion, and SBF himself was supposedly worth half that. And if he was not "giving it all away" to Democrats, he was certainly generous with them.
SBF donated more than $5 million to Joe Biden's presidential campaign in 2020, and gave nearly $40 million to various Democrats' campaigns in the 2022 midterms; he had pledged to spend $1 billion or more in the 2024 presidential election.
Bankman-Fried was yet another poster boy for left-wing corporate "do-gooderism."
But behind the self-effacing charade, the magazine covers and fawning media coverage was a cynical little spoiled brat who treated the company like his own "personal fiefdom," according to James Bromley, a restructuring attorney who has been hired to represent the company, now in bankruptcy.
For example, SBF spent more than $300 million on vacation homes and other real estate in the Bahamas for himself and other FTX employees.
He loaned billions of dollars of client funds "off the books" to the trading firm run by his girlfriend, which promptly lost them in poor "investments." In a filing with the bankruptcy court, Bromley described the internal operations of FTX as having "a lack of corporate controls at a level that none of us in the profession that have looked at it so far have ever seen."
In a text interview with Vox reporter Kelsey Piper, SBF was hardly contrite. "F*** regulators," he wrote, admitting that statements he had made to the contrary in hearings dealing with crypto consumer protection in Washington, D.C., earlier this year were complete bunk.
Piper countered, "you were really good at talking about ethics, for someone who kind of saw it all as a game with winners and losers."
Bankman-Fried responded, "ya. hehe. I had to be. it's what reputations are made of to some extent. I feel bad for those who get f***ed by it. by this dumb game we woke westerners play where we say all the right shiboleths (sic) and so everyone likes us."
There it is, in a nutshell.
What's astonishing is not that people fell for Scam Bankman-Fried's hustle; it's that people keep falling for it over and over again.
Disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes was just sentenced last month to 11 years in federal prison for defrauding investors out of more than $700 million.
She, too, was a much-lauded wunderkind who had graced magazine covers with her promises to "change the world" — in her case, with a blood testing technology that never existed.
Another self-appointed savior out to "change the world" was Adam Neumann, co-founder of WeWork. Neumann was ousted from that company after his outrageous lifestyle and wretched excess collapsed the company's plans to go public and took it from a $47 billion valuation to the brink of bankruptcy.
Neumann's latest adventure, FlowCarbon, is in the crypto and enviro spaces, with plans to offer a cryptocurrency backed by carbon credits — to save the planet, of course.
The collapse of crypto values (even pre-FTX) has put those plans on hiatus. But Neumann's cataclysmic failures have not prevented him from amassing $1 billion in real estate — including coastal properties.
So much for those rising sea levels.
Although all politicians' and activists' shtick include at least some baseless promises to make everyone's lives better, no one beats leftists, who have been working this con for more than 200 years.
In the 18th century, the Jacobins' bloody Reign of Terror following the French Revolution was excused as "rectifying glaring injustice." In the 20th century, somewhere between 75 and 100 million people died in the enthusiastic implementation of communism and socialism.
To paraphrase professional liar and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Walter Duranty, if you want to make a save-the-world omelet, you've got to break a few eggs, right?
Collectivism is now cloaked by environmentalism.
Sam Bankman-Fried's fraud is dwarfed by "climate change," a financial scam and global power-grab of such monumental proportions that even collectivist megalomaniacs like Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong wouldn't have dreamt of achieving it.
Using dubious "science" and massive propaganda campaigns, governments are imposing draconian policies that will never affect the planet's climate but will make proponents unimaginably wealthy, while stripping most of the world's population of their property and their freedoms, leaving them destitute and starving.
The methodologies of the save-the-world con artists vary, but the underlying beliefs and practices are always the same:
"Our goals are so lofty that the rules don't apply to us."
And when the soi-disant saviors are exposed as incompetents, hypocrites, frauds, thieves, or even murderous autocrats, their defense is always the same:
But we meant well.
It's time for good-hearted, well-intentioned people to wake up and recognize that "save the world" is just drivel-grifters slather on their lust for power like frosting on a poop sandwich.
It's nothing more than a racket. Stop falling for it.
Laura Hollis is a professor of teaching at the Mendoza College of Business, as well as a professor of business law and entrepreneurship at Notre Dame. Her career as an attorney has spanned 35 plus years. Her legal publications have appeared in the Temple Law Review, Cardozo Law Review, and the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy. Dr. Hollis has written for The Detroit News, HOUR Detroit magazine, Townhall.com, and the Christian Post. Read Reports by Prof. Hollis — More Here.