Friday, April 23, 2010

Not much of a moral dilemma

Ed O'Keefe, who writes the Federal Eye blog for the Washington Post revealed today in a post, SEC porn investigation nets dozens, that Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa leaked to the press a Securities and Exchange Commission inspector general report that detailed several disturbing instances of SEC employees and senior staff using their government-provided computers to view and store internet pornography. Of course, there is nothing classified about this, but the timing of the leak, along with the failure to leak other like reports from other agencies, seems to be aimed at casting doubt on the integrity of the SEC, which filed a lawsuit against Goldman Sachs last week. I honestly don’t know which is more obscene, being obsessed with porn to the point you ogle it at work or with protecting a company that seeks to operate outside or on the fringes of the law to great detriment of the common good. Of course, neither one is morally acceptable, but I’d say the latter is at least as immoral as former, probably more so.

Shame on the SEC porn dogs and shame on Sen. Grassley for leaking this to the press in a ham-fisted attempt to protect a company that adds little or no value, but reaps huge profits anyway. The latter is more disturbing to me because the SEC inspector general was doing its job, the investigation was successful and no doubt consequences would have happened without Grassley's leak. Rep. Darrell Issa who, like Grassley, is a Republican, albeit one from California, is complicit, seemingly using this as an opportunity to bash the SEC not only in an effort to help Goldman Sachs, but to forestall much needed reform of the financial industry.

In School of Community, having finished the third volume of Giussani’s Is It Possible to Live This Way: An Unusual Approach to Christian Existence, which is on the theological virtue of charity, we are now reading Pope Benedict XVI’s Caritas in veritate, in which we find in the Introduction this: "Besides the good of the individual, there is a good that is linked to living in society: the common good. It is the good of ‘all of us’, made up of individuals, families and intermediate groups who together constitute society. It is a good that is sought not for its own sake, but for the people who belong to the social community and who can only really and effectively pursue their good within it. To desire the common good and strive towards it is a requirement of justice and charity… In an increasingly globalized society, the common good and the effort to obtain it cannot fail to assume the dimensions of the whole human family, that is to say, the community of peoples and nations, in such a way as to shape the earthly city in unity and peace, rendering it to some degree an anticipation and a prefiguration of the undivided city of God" (par. 7).

Further on the Holy Father addresses precisely what is at stake in the on-going saga of Goldman Sachs: "Once profit becomes the exclusive goal, if it is produced by improper means and without the common good as its ultimate end, it risks destroying wealth and creating poverty. The economic development that Paul VI hoped to see was meant to produce real growth, of benefit to everyone and genuinely sustainable. It is true that growth has taken place, and it continues to be a positive factor that has lifted billions of people out of misery — recently it has given many countries the possibility of becoming effective players in international politics. Yet it must be acknowledged that this same economic growth has been and continues to be weighed down by malfunctions and dramatic problems, highlighted even further by the current crisis" (par. 21).

God's work, indeed, Mr. Blankfein, but only if you serve mammon.

Christos Anesti

1 comment:

  1. Bravo Deacon Scott, bravo.

    Brilliant post. I must show this to someone I know who likes to employ the old "but it was legal" philosophy.

    Just because it is legal - questionable at best - never makes it moral, or ethical.


A political non-rant

In the wake of yesterday's Helsinki press conference, which, like a lot of my fellow U.S. citizens, as well as many people abroad, left ...