Sunday, September 05, 2010


When George Soros was a 14 year old boy he was hiding from the Nazis. Some Jewish children in Eastern Europe were hiding under floors or sleeping rough in the woods. George Soros, via his father got a physically more comfortable hiding place as the supposed Christian godson of a Hungarian government official. As part of the impersonation he joined the official in his rounds confiscating the possessions of Jews.

A lot of figures on the political right, most recently the always delightful Ezra Levant, have chosen to make political hay about these facts and a 60 Minutes interview with Soros, where he stumbles when asked about the era. This would be because the idea of a billionaire spending money to support a liberal left agenda rather than the far more traditional hard right one makes them want to throw up their souls.

To me the interview reveals someone who had created a distance in childhood from the guilt of what he saw while surviving:
KROFT: My understanding is that you went out with this protector of yours who swore that you were his adopted godson.

Mr. SOROS: Yes. Yes.

KROFT: Went out, in fact, and helped in the confiscation of property from the Jews.

Mr. SOROS: Yes. That's right. Yes.

KROFT: I mean, that's -- that sounds like an experience that would send lots of people to the psychiatric couch for many, many years. Was it difficult?

Mr. SOROS: Not -- not at all. Not at all. Maybe as a child you don't -- you don't see the connection. But it was -- it created no -- no problem at all.

KROFT: No feeling of guilt?

Mr. SOROS: No.

KROFT: For example that, 'I'm Jewish and here I am, watching these people go. I could just as easily be there. I should be there.' None of that?

Mr. SOROS: Well, of course I c -- I could be on the other side or I could be the one from whom the thing is being taken away. But there was no sense that I shouldn't be there, because that was -- well, actually, in a funny way, it's just like in markets -- that if I weren't there -- of course, I wasn't doing it, but somebody else would -- would -- would be taking it away anyhow. And it was the -- whether I was there or not, I was only a spectator, the property was being taken away. So the -- I had no role in taking away that property. So I had no sense of guilt.
Making something a scared 14 year old was forced to see over 70 years ago in order to survive while his people were being exterminated all around him some kind of litmus test against anyone who declines to condemn him seems the height of moralistic hubris.

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