On its face, an interview of George Soros by the people at Project Syndicate seems a curious set of affairs.
Project Syndicate, which describes itself as “The World’s Opinion Page,” occasionally has some good material even though you’re never going to see, say, Ben Shapiro or Douglas Murray contributing a piece.
That’s not quite the reason the interview was so curious, however.
Instead, there was the fact that Soros’ Open Society Institute played a critical role in establishing Project Syndicate in the immediate post-Soviet era in Europe.
It’s a bit like Oprah Magazine publishing an interview with its eponymous founder, only if that Oprah Winfrey was known as one of the most identifiable supporters and bankrollers of globalist progressivism and open borders immigration policies.
The occasion had to do with the novel coronavirus and how it’s reshaped the world.
As you can imagine, it was a wildly uncritical interview — which I didn’t mind. I know, you’d prefer Soros to be held to account, too, but sometimes people are more likely to say ugly things when they assume they’re among friends as opposed to being in an adversarial conversation.
On this count, at least, the May 11 interview delivered, particularly with tone-deaf answers like this:
“This is the crisis of my lifetime,” Soros said. “Even before the pandemic hit, I realized that we were in a revolutionary moment where what would be impossible or even inconceivable in normal times had become not only possible, but probably absolutely necessary.
“And then came COVID-19, which has totally disrupted people’s lives and required very different behavior. It is an unprecedented event that probably has never occurred in this combination. And it really endangers the survival of our civilization.”
I don’t want to make too much of the order there, but there’s a whiff of a Freudian slip there. Notice the order there. Crisis of his lifetime, revolutionary moment, inconceivable before, required different behavior, unprecedented — oh and yeah, it could potentially endanger the survival of civilization as we know it. We’ll get back to this in a second, but let’s just be clear what the rest of the interview involved.
There’s a lot of boilerplate stuff here from Soros. Take this bit, which could have come from any random glazed-eyed person watching CNN’s COVID-19 coverage 11 hours a day: “We are learning very fast, and we now know a lot more about the virus than we did when it emerged, but we are shooting at a moving target because the virus itself changes rapidly.”
There’s actually some good stuff, too. Even though he favors working with China on beating the virus, he doesn’t particularly feel it’s something we should be doing in the long run: “That makes everything much harder. There are a lot of people who say that we should be working very closely with China, but I am not in favor of doing that. We must protect our democratic open society.”
He also said, “I sympathize with the Chinese people, because they are under the domination of a dictator, President Xi Jinping. I think a lot of educated Chinese are very resentful of that, and the general public is still very angry with him for keeping COVID-19 a secret until after the Chinese New Year.”
And then there’s the expected Trump-bashing: “Donald Trump would like to be a dictator. But he cannot be one because there is a constitution in the United States that people still respect. And it will prevent him from doing certain things. That does not mean that he will not try, because he is literally fighting for his life. I will also say that I have put my faith in Trump to destroy himself, and he has exceeded my wildest expectations.”
I’d advise you to look at the politicians that Soros has backed and then call for summary judgment.
It’s that first quote that’s likely to draw the most attention, however.
Apparently, we’re in a revolutionary moment. This is curious, given Soros’ definition of “revolution,” because far-left movements throughout the globe haven’t been doing swimmingly as of late. While New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of “the squad” gets a whole lot of oxygen in the media’s current landscape, let’s be clear about what they are: four women from bright-blue districts who managed to win with bright-blue rhetoric. There’s a news flash for you.
But now comes the pandemic, and things can take a turn. There’s very different behavior, after all, and many of the causes Soros has been bankrolling for decades now — open borders, globalization, increased scope of government on an exponential scale — can become a reality.
By the way, this “don’t let a good crisis go to waste” rhetoric might have been the most disturbing thing in the interview, but surprisingly not by much.
About half of the interview had to deal with the European Union — the eternal bee in Mr. Soros’ bonnet — and, among other things, how it should finance the massive debt it’s incurring because of coronavirus. Soros’ suggestion was perpetual bonds, a financial instrument many won’t be familiar with. Here’s a quick explainer: It’s a bond that cannot be redeemed but pays interest in perpetuity.
“The kind of bonds that I have proposed … would be issued by the EU as a whole, would automatically be proportional, and would remain so eternally,” Soros said. “The member states would have to pay only the annual interest, which is so minimal — at, say, 0.5% — that the bonds could be easily subscribed by the member states, either unanimously or by a coalition of the willing.”
I bring this up not just because these financial instruments are antediluvian in the modern era but because of what they’d be paying for — namely, Soros’ “revolutionary moment where what would be impossible or even inconceivable in normal times had become not only possible, but probably absolutely necessary.”
This is a purposely vague comment, but we can guess at some of the things this would involve, and most of it wouldn’t just be triage from the economic carnage caused by the coronavirus. Is this what countries should be paying interest in perpetuity for?
Soros is a man who’s always been on the lookout for the instrument with which he could reshape not just our political systems but the very nature of capitalism and freedom itself.
One wished the interviewer here had asked some probing follow-ups, but this is what you get when the interviewer has been, in part, bankrolled by the interviewed.
As it stands, we have enough here to make us all very worried.
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