The Piety of Plutocrats

Steve Sailer has lately been plucking hilarious examples of self-beclownment from the NYTimes and arguing it is deliberate. I’m not sure if he is right, but it would be nice if it is deliberate. Stories like this suggest otherwise.

John D. Rockefeller built a vast fortune on oil. Now his heirs are abandoning fossil fuels.

The family whose legendary wealth flowed from Standard Oil is planning to announce on Monday that its $860 million philanthropic organization, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, is joining the divestment movement that began a couple years ago on college campuses.

The announcement, timed to precede Tuesday’s opening of the United Nations climate change summit meeting in New York City, is part of a broader and accelerating initiative.

The picture above the text is dripping with sanctimonious self-regard. These people arranged for the profile on a left-wing platform so they could advertise their virtue before a major left-wing gathering. The breathless prose in the saccharine you get a cavity reading it. The key bits are right there in the beginning. It is a “movement” and that means it has religious overtones. Religions are just a type of mass movement. The fact that it started on college campuses is a big deal to the Cult. That means it is innocent and pure, according to the mythology of their faith.

In recent years, 180 institutions — including philanthropies, religious organizations, pension funds and local governments — as well as hundreds of wealthy individual investors have pledged to sell assets tied to fossil fuel companies from their portfolios and to invest in cleaner alternatives. In all, the groups have pledged to divest assets worth more than $50 billion from portfolios, and the individuals more than $1 billion, according to Arabella Advisors, a firm that consults with philanthropists and investors to use their resources to achieve social goals.

The people who are selling shares of energy stocks are well aware that their actions are unlikely to have an immediate impact on the companies, given their enormous market capitalizations and cash flow.

The money involved here is not even a rounding error. That’s not the point. They really don’t want to have any impact on these firms. The whole point of this is to bask in the warm glow of the self-satisfaction that comes from a public act of piety. In another age, these idiots would have donated a bull to the festival to be slaughtered at the temple.

3 thoughts on “The Piety of Plutocrats

  1. I guess it didn’t occur to them that they’re using dirty money to project power and impose their values on people? If they really thought fossil fuels were evil, surely they’d just shoot the money into the sun.

  2. They probably have an investment manager who told them it would not hurt them any to dump those stocks and move the money into something else. My guess is the sellers took their profit, a publicity photo, and never give it another thought.

  3. When people and businesses sell these ‘toxic’ assets, I presume someone buys them. Someone perhaps with far less interest in the welfare of the world and who may want their newly-acquired income stream to make life hard for others?

    Or do the people who sell these assets imagine they are only bought by people with nice thoughts, or perhaps the assets will disappear from the market thanks to the intervention of a kind fairy?

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