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OPINIONS

In Defense of Michael Bloomberg

When I first heard that Michael Bloomberg would be our graduation speaker this year, I was offended. How dare Stanford disrespect those graduating in 2013 by slumming it with some washed-up old businessman?

This week, though, hearing many of Mayor Bloomberg’s illustrious accomplishments, I began to change my mind. In fact, in the course of my research, I have come to the conclusion that not only is Bloomberg worthy to address us, he also has something to offer for each student in our diverse populace, from Sigma Nu to Kappa Sig. I’d like to explore those admirable attributes below.

First and foremost, Mayor Bloomberg is a man of business. When he was fired from Salomon brothers in 1981, he pulled himself up by his bootstraps and founded Bloomberg L.P. Not only is Miguel B. successful in business, he fits the culture as well. As Michael Wolff stated in this New York Magazine article: “To be a good manager – to run a profitable enterprise – not only forgives but also justifies a wide range of unrestrained, or even unsocialized, behavior.” And I agree. As such, it is only fitting that he indulges in the delightful misogyny and homophobia characteristic of businessmen, because, as many have apologized, “that’s just how men in business talk.”

Allow me to cite from “The Portable Bloomberg: The Wit and Wisdom of Michael Bloomberg,” a quotation booklet circulated to Bloomberg L.P. employees in celebration of his 48th birthday in 1990. The very first: “Make the customer think he’s getting laid when he’s getting fucked.” Another: To Bloomberg, a competitor in business is always a “cokehead, womanizing, fag.”

One can only hope that he imparts such wisdom during his compelling commencement address.

Bloomberg is also a champion of women’s rights. Three high-profile sexual harassment suits against him were all thrown out because of lack of preponderance of the evidence. I mean, you know that old adage about insanity: If something fails once and you keep trying to make it work, it’s clearly the women leveling the strikingly similar allegations against him who are off their rocker and not the respected member of the community who harasses – I mean, employs – them.

Beyond this, Bloomberg has vehemently and candidly supported a woman’s right to choose, as in 1996 when he allegedly (though I have no idea why he’d deny such an impassioned defense of women’s rights) told sales executive Sekiko Garrison, “Kill it!” when she told him that she was pregnant and going on maternity leave. Cubic-zirconia clear about his principles, unlike many politicians, he reiterated, “Kill it!” when Garrison prompted him to repeat himself.

Finally, to Stanford women, another quote from “The Portable Bloomberg”: “If women wanted to be appreciated for their brains, they’d go to the library instead of to Bloomingdale’s.” I have seen women in the Stanford library. Ergo, they want to be appreciated for their brains.

Prefer a more traditional role for women in the workplace? Rest assured that Mayor Bloomberg has made sure that women returning from maternity leave are denied their full former job responsibilities and opportunities for advancement because, as any gynecologist will tell you, bringing the miracle of life into the world through your birth canal significantly impairs a femme’s ability to perform on the job. I’m talking 22-percent dumber, and consequently, paid 78 cents for each dollar earned by male counterparts.

But wait, there’s more: Bloomberg stands for justice. In a 1998 deposition for Mary Ann Olszewski’s sexual harassment case against him, he stated that he wouldn’t believe that a rape allegation was genuine unless there was “an unimpeachable third-party witness.” Because, as Bloomberg went on to sagely note, “There are times when three people are together.”

Speaking of being a defender of the law, Bloomberg is universally lauded for his campaign to end gun violence in the city. During his tenure, violent crime has dropped 29 percent in the city, and I attribute that completely to the fact that 90 percent of those stopped and frisked are minorities.

Criticized for racial profiling, Bloomberg retorted with a devastating axiom: “We look to see where the crime is, and whatever the ethnicity of that neighborhood is, that’s what it is.” It’s not like the police can selectively patrol those neighborhoods or anything. Furthermore, Bloomberg asserts that without the program, “5,600 people who are alive today would be dead… and an overwhelming number of those would have been young black and Hispanic men.”

Dude’s such a hero for taking on the White Man’s Burden. Why are people of color complaining when Bloomberg just wants them safe? If they have nothing to hide, why not bare it all? Bloomberg certainly hasn’t hypocritically hidden the results of a polygraph test that he took to corroborate his innocence in a sexual harassment case.

Mayor Bloomberg, cognizant of his infallible governance, even sacrificed himself like any great Roman emperor for the good of the Republic and changed the NYC term-limit law to allow himself another four years to govern the city.

It is after this glorious campaign that Mayor Bloomberg comes to Stanford to deliver a dry, inoffensive speech, which is exactly what I’d want, considering that most authors asked to speak would affront the wrinkled members of the Board of Trustees in the audience. Bloomberg: crusader for racial equality, apologist for the excesses of neoliberalism and bane of the Big Gulp – I think you stand, 5 feet, 7 inches tall, for exactly what Stanford stands for. I welcome you with open arms.

Want more quotes from “The Portable Bloomberg”? Email Taylor at tabrady@stanford.edu.

  • george

    I am also glad we are honoring and welcoming someone who has a lot money. Not everyone can spend their way into politics!

  • Anonymous

    “I’m talking 22-percent dumber, and consequently, paid 22 cents for each dollar earned by male counterparts”

    I don’t think that’s what you meant.

  • Author

    Editing error. I originally wrote “22 cents less than every dollar earned by male counterparts.”

  • dude

    such an idiotic article.

  • Member of the Jury

    Never become a defense attorney…

  • perfect

    Best article written on our commencement speaker yet!

  • Lol

    Bravo, Sir. Bravo.

  • Miles

    Fixed. His direct editor (me) is to blame for that error, not Taylor.

  • Oh-Twelve

    Taylor goes hard in the paint.

  • Richard from Pen Island

    Good to know NYC might be moving from an absolute dick of a mayor (shown by this article) to a Weiner!

  • An actual affirmative defense

    Hi Taylor,

    I respectfully yet emphatically disagree with your article.

    First, I’ll admit to what I agree with: Michael Bloomberg is not perfect, has several faults, and some of his political and business decisions could have been better made with hindsight.

    Next, I’ll loosely characterize your article: you focus on and lampoon minor faults is what has been a stellar career. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone with such a high profile in business or politics that couldn’t have a similar article written about them. Some parts of your article were amusing, yet I’d place little value in the content behind the jokes.

    Now for the affirmative: Michael Bloomberg is one of the most impactful people alive today. He has created multiple billions of dollars in value and wealth for customers, employees, government revenues, and yes, himself. He is a technologist by training and created hugely useful products and services. He has lead the resurgence of NYC and been a transformational leader/mayor. He has done a lot of good through his work in philanthropy. He has spoken out on issues that others wouldn’t have, such as gun violence. Without going into detail about projects such as the new university in NYC, there are many other areas in which Michael Bloomberg has gone above and beyond in delivering excellence.

    The easy path is to throw pebbles at the imperfections of those who strive to achieve great things. That is what you have done. Most people who share my moderate sentiments are too stifled to speak up on this campus, yet it needs to be said against the wave of anti-neoliberal criticism: Michael Bloomberg is a worthy role model, and we should be proud he is the Stanford graduation speaker.

    Thank you for your time.

  • Amigo

    How much of this decision to invite Bloomberg as our commencement speaker do you think has to do with Stanford’s bid to have a new campus in NY?
    If everything Taylor has quoted is true fact, just goes to show how easily Stanford can turn a blind eye.

  • Taylor B

    I appreciate the criticism. You’re the first who has done so that has made substantive claims, and I also appreciate your civility on a forum where it is so easy to lash out. However, I have to, as you do, respectfully and emphatically disagree with your claims.

    Of course Michael Bloomberg is not perfect. No human is, if we are to construct an arbitrary moral framework upon which we can judge an individual’s character. Yet I am decrying the particular failings endemic to all businessmen and politicians, because those flaws stem from the systems that those people represent…and which I also find distasteful. Of course anybody who has “such a high profile in business or politics” could receive similar criticism. But I think they deserve it. I didn’t like Cory Booker as a speaker, nor Felipe Calderón (do we really need to go into the horrors of cartel-state conflict that his administration catalyzed?) That’s because I do not support the economic/political structures which places such men at the helm of the political economy. This probably represents a fundamental difference between our viewpoints, and to come to any understanding of one another’s views, we’d have to converse in person for many hours. I’ve also probably heard of/read any apology that you will cite for neoliberalism, consumerist economies, and crony capitalist governance (of which Bloomberg is a glowing example) and have found them trite and unconvincing.

    “Impactful” does not equate to laudable. You cite Bloomberg’s wealth creation. Well and good. But judging that action as a normative good presupposes that monetary gains are the primary metric by which we estimate an individual’s contribution to society. That ignores valid caveats such as the Easterlin Paradox to the rule that “the dollar is king.” Further, it is evident that the returns in wealth created by businessmen such as Bloomberg (who now has held legal clout in the nation’s largest city since 2002) are not equitably distributed. Increasingly, workers (i.e. policemen, firefighters, community workers, public attorneys) who were once considered the foundation of the American economy, and were solidly middle class, are pushed to exurbs of the megalopolis where deflating property values evaporate their wealth while the increasingly technologist, increasingly affluent classes yuk it up in Manhattan. That may fit your vision of utopia, but it is exclusionary, and often de facto racist, and I find it appalling. You cite the “resurgence of NYC” but what constitutes resurgence? Is it analogous to what tech workers in San Francisco consider “resurgence”, i.e. gentrification? If so, then I don’t support it. Here’s an eloquent piece on that phenomenon in the Bay (http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/the-bacon-wrapped-economy/Content?oid=3494301). You also cite “good through his work in philanthropy”, but present no specific examples. I have seen some, in particular his work with daycares, so I don’t find the man completely without character, but the means don’t justify the ends. If he had to be ruthlessly homophobic and persistently misogynist to make it in business and then give the money back, that’s his compromise to make, but I have every right to criticize it. The emotional damage that I am sure his “raw” sense of humor has personally caused to countless female employees (let alone the patriarchal structure of his company generally, where employees where raped by coworkers and never prosecuted) has, if you want to continue couching things in these terms, a negative “value” equivalent to, or greater than, in my mind, any capital flow which his business is responsible for. Again, you’re speaking for already empowered groups: the affluent, the white, the cis-gendered, and the heterosexual. I’m not. Bloomberg is a white man’s hero. And his police are out frisking the minorities that his policies have already left behind.

    Speaking out against gun violence? I’d argue that it’s politically expedient for him. Hear me out. Bloomberg’s path in politics is unconventional. He didn’t, and doesn’t, have to pander to an amorphous and heterogeneous national constituency as much as, say, governors, or senators have to do. He lives in a blue city, and has to deal, at least marginally, with issues endemic to it, so of course he’s gonna speak out against gun violence. Otherwise he wouldn’t be reelected. But that doesn’t mean that his policies to mitigate gun violence are any less discriminatory or wrong. 99.9% of those frisked DO NOT have a gun. Over 90% are not charged with anything. And 90% of those frisked are minorities. These are all from the article that I cited in my piece. Read those statistics (including the comment about selective patrolling) and try to tell me that there’s no racial injustice there.

    Don’t characterize the sentiments that you expressed above as moderate. It’s specious and misleading in an attempt to make yourself more credible. In fact, on a capitalist-socialist spectrum, your aforementioned views are pretty polar. Furthermore, cease the dialectic of victimhood; it is easy to express moderate, or even Republican-aligned views on this campus. I hold many myself. You just have to make substantive arguments to support them. Above, you did not. You lauded an individual with superlatives and vague claims, but offered no evidence that he merits such praise.

    To an outsider, writing criticism might seem like the easy path. It’s not. It means standing in the face of empowered groups, and that, as any activist will tell you, is one of the scariest experiences on Earth. Yet I lament the digital forum on which this interaction has been conducted because I would love to stand up and argue my views to you in person. You’ll notice that I tangentially referred to authors in the last paragraph. Perhaps this a personal bias, but I would value the words of an author more than those of a politician. At least through this communicative forum, this is simply another irreconcilable difference in our opinions.

    But then again, this is all opinion,so who’s to argue objective truth anyway?

  • Nope

    My response to each paragraph (not counting the first):

    1: Who do you want for commencement speaker!? Anyone worth their weight in salt will have gotten as powerful/wealthy through our political/economic system. I’m not a fan of Bloomberg, but he is a powerful name, and he has been VERY successful at achieving his goals.

    2: Way to pull out the race card. You people throw around “racist” left and right.

    3: Maybe 90% of those frisked are minorities because minorities are the ones in poor neighborhoods with more crime, more drugs, and more gangs.

    4: His views are in fact pretty moderate. They just seem polar because you are so far on the left.

    5: Oh please. Criticism is easy. Criticism of Bloomberg on Stanford campus is even easier. Those on the center and right don’t give a damn, and even if they did there aren’t enough of them to raise any threatening response. If you wrote a piece defending Bloomberg, expect to be called hate-filled terms on the Diaspora and other activists lists. Expect to be called racist, sexist, and all the other demeaning terms out there.

  • An actual affirmative defense

    pt 1 (Disqus wouldn’t post full comment):

    Hi Taylor,

    Thank you for your detailed and thoughtful response. I have a few thoughts in reply.

    Regarding your point about criticizing Bloomberg due to his representation of broader systemic problems in the U.S. political economy, my basic response is “don’t hate the player, hate the game”. There are aspects of Stanford that I would change; however, now that I am here, I act to maximize my success within the system while using the very limited scope I have to change and influence the system. I assume you do something similar, simply represented by the fact that you are actually attending this elite institution. I could criticize us for doing this. However, we don’t have sufficient influence to change Stanford, and so to some extent we choose to participate within the system. No matter how powerful we think Bloomberg may be, he too has done likelise. Attacking him personifies the problem, and misdirects focus away from the system and constructive thinking around changing it. I agree with some of your sentiments around flaws in business and politics, yet I ‘hate’ and direct constructive thinking towards the game, rather than one of the players.

    Regarding neoliberalism, etc, I will not cite defenses for neoliberalism and consumerist economies (I additionally object to you grouping crony capitalist governance in the list), as they would be unlikely to change your mind. I will simply say that such systems historically appear to lead to high degrees of efficiency and alignment of interests, which result in strong productivity and higher standards of living. People at Stanford love to attack capitalism and ignore that it was free-market capitalism and not democracy (not to diminish the value of democracy; this is purely a causal point) that brought 300 million people out of poverty in China in just a decade.

    Regarding “You cite Bloomberg’s wealth creation. Well and good. But judging that action as a normative good presupposes that monetary gains are the primary metric by which we estimate an individual’s contribution to society.” It does not suppose that it is the primary metric, but instead just one of the metrics to be considered. I would, however, argue that applying an insubstantial weighting to this metric makes sense. Bloomberg was a businessman. His goal was to create profit and high returns. He did this. By the metric for the line of work he was in, he excelled. Excellence, rather than just wealth creation, etc, is, I conjecture, worth valuing.

    Regarding “returns in wealth… are not equitably distributed”. This is basically about incentivization. Many businesses would not have been created if businesspeople had not dreamed of lavish rewards upon success. Some amount of skewed/inequitable distribution creates powerful incentives and most likely economic growth.

  • An actual affirmative defense

    1:

    Hi Taylor,

    Thank you for your detailed and thoughtful response. I have a few thoughts in reply.

    Regarding your point about criticizing Bloomberg due to his representation of broader systemic problems in the U.S. political economy, my basic response is “don’t hate the player, hate the game”. There are aspects of Stanford that I would change; however, now that I am here, I act to maximize my success within the system while using the very limited scope I have to change and influence the system. I assume you do something similar, simply represented by the fact that you are actually attending this elite institution. I could criticize us for doing this. However, we don’t have sufficient influence to change Stanford, and so to some extent we choose to participate within the system. No matter how powerful we think Bloomberg may be, he too has done likelise. Attacking him personifies the problem, and misdirects focus away from the system and constructive thinking around changing it. I agree with some of your sentiments around flaws in business and politics, yet I ‘hate’ and direct constructive thinking towards the game, rather than one of the players.

    Regarding neoliberalism, etc, I will not cite defenses for neoliberalism and consumerist economies (I additionally object to you grouping crony capitalist governance in the list), as they would be unlikely to change your mind. I will simply say that such systems historically appear to lead to high degrees of efficiency and alignment of interests, which result in strong productivity and higher standards of living. People at Stanford love to attack capitalism and ignore that it was free-market capitalism and not democracy (not to diminish the value of democracy; this is purely a causal point) that brought 300 million people out of poverty in China in just a decade.

    Regarding “You cite Bloomberg’s wealth creation. Well and good. But judging that action as a normative good presupposes that monetary gains are the primary metric by which we estimate an individual’s contribution to society.” It does not suppose that it is the primary metric, but instead just one of the metrics to be considered. I would, however, argue that applying an insubstantial weighting to this metric makes sense. Bloomberg was a businessman. His goal was to create profit and high returns. He did this. By the metric for the line of work he was in, he excelled. Excellence, rather than just wealth creation, etc, is, I conjecture, worth valuing.

  • An actual affirmative defense

    3:

    Regarding “Again, you’re speaking for already empowered groups: the affluent, the white, the cis-gendered, and the heterosexual. I’m not. Bloomberg is a white man’s hero. “ Firstly, I’m not speaking for anyone besides myself. I have my own opinions and I express them. When I do try to expression society-oriented opinions, they are in the context of the entire population and do not exclude any group. I find it surprising that you choose to speak for particular subgroups, rather than advocating for improving conditions for everyone. This is your choice though. Secondly, yes, he is a hero – yet, that has nothing to do with his race. Among the accomplishments listed as laudable, not one of them was the color of his skin. I select role models based on attributes not including race.

    Regarding “And his police are out frisking the minorities that his policies have already left behind.”. I agree that this is a poor policy decision, and will not write an apology on this. I will mention that his crime approach has been statistically successful though, despite the questionable methods, and so if you look with a more consequentialist and less deontological frame, you make reach different conclusions.

    Regarding “Speaking out against gun violence? I’d argue that it’s politically expedient for him.”. This might be an astute point. However, most politicians support issues when there is some degree of political alignment involved. Bloomberg spoke out against and pushed legislation in NYC on gun violence, and even if it was in his best interests to do so, that is more than most do. See the gun bill that just failed to pass in the Democratically controlled Senate.

  • An actual affirmative defense

    4:

    Regarding “Don’t characterize the sentiments that you expressed above as moderate. It’s specious and misleading in an attempt to make yourself more credible. In fact, on a capitalist-socialist spectrum, your aforementioned views are pretty polar. Furthermore, cease the dialectic of victimhood; it is easy to express moderate, or even Republican-aligned views on this campus.” Firstly, moderate is a term relative to the constituency you are talking about; I characterize my views as moderate as this is descriptively accurate relative to the U.S, and if it makes me seem more credible, than this is a positive externality that I will happily benefit from. Secondly, I dislike being pigeonholed into the typical frameworks, especially a binary capitalist-socialist spectrum. My views are idiosyncratic and vary along various dimensions because I strive to think for myself. Finally, my dialectic has nothing to do with victimhood. I do not see myself as a victim in any way, and do not think in such terms. Instead, this is a point of practical reality. I deem the costs of openly writing my opinions to be too high on campus, so I refrain from writing opinion pieces like you do. Again, this is nothing to do with being a victim; this is a practical point regarding my estimation of reactions to diverse viewpoints on campus.

    Regarding “You just have to make substantive arguments to support them. Above, you did not. You lauded an individual with superlatives and vague claims, but offered no evidence that he merits such praise.”. The need to make substantive arguments is dependent on the context. I was commenting on your opinion piece with a description of my opinions. I was not writing a thesis. When making a comment on articles, it is typical to use comments or claims as concise heuristics, rather than going through a more costly presentation of thoughts. The standards of evidence and substantive arguments that you claim are necessary appear excessive for an initial comment on an opinion piece. I have laid out some additional informal arguments in this response. I am not obliged to draw on evidence, and do so when I feel it will further explicate my opinions or justifications for them. For some summarizing data points, I point to the billions in Bloomberg’s bank account, the 7.6B annual revenue that Bloomberg LP makes, and while political metrics are harder to abstract into summarizing single figures, Bloomberg has been elected three times (twice re-elected) by his constituency in NYC. I will leave it to you to gather more evidence that you feel meet the burden of proof necessary to comment on your opinion pieces. As you conclude, this is all opinion.

    I agree with your point that criticizing can be hard to do. I respect your efforts to do so. I am merely disagreeing with the focus of your criticism, and a number of your underpinning opinions.

  • An actual affirmative defense

    5:

    I agree with much of the world-view you expressed, including the lacking of an objective truth and how arbitrary moral frameworks underlie this conversation. So, we come to the point where we ask, what kind of moral framework do we want to construct? They might be arbitrary, yet some will be more optimal than others for particular objectives we may wish to achieve. Assuming a subset of those objectives are progressing society, then the construct I’m proposing is to forgive the scars and bruises of those who have fought their way through the brush, and respect that they made it.

    Thank you again for your time.

  • An actual affirmative defense

    2:

    Regarding “returns in wealth… are not equitably distributed”. This is basically about incentivization. Many businesses would not have been created if businesspeople had not dreamed of lavish rewards upon success. Some amount of skewed/inequitable distribution creates powerful incentives and most likely economic growth.

    Regarding your comments about gentrification and the vision being exclusionary. I disagree with the latter: standards of living (mean, top and bottom) have increased over the long-term; if they continue to do so based on the efforts of entities who drive forward progress, the entire society will continue to benefit from this. Regarding the former, criticizing gentrification is attacking a symptom and not underlying causes. A market based housing market is efficient and creates incentivization: you work harder so you can afford the nice house. Gentrification comes about because of historical and systemic reasons relating to wealth distribution among different demographics. Push back on this, rather than gentrification. As long as wealth levels correlate to demographics in a skewed way, and people are free to choose where to purchase property, there will be gentrification. Push for the creation of wealth among different demographics, rather than criticizing gentrification, the underlying context of which is improved prosperity in a given region.

  • Full response – an actual…

    Hi Taylor,

    Thank you for your detailed and thoughtful response. I have a few thoughts in reply.

    Regarding your point about criticizing Bloomberg due to his representation of broader systemic problems in the U.S. political economy, my basic response is “don’t hate the player, hate the game”. There are aspects of Stanford that I would change; however, now that I am here, I act to maximize my success within the system while using the very limited scope I have to change and influence the system. I assume you do something similar, simply represented by the fact that you are actually attending this elite institution. I could criticize us for doing this. However, we don’t have sufficient influence to change Stanford, and so to some extent we choose to participate within the system. No matter how powerful we think Bloomberg may be, he too has done likelise. Attacking him personifies the problem, and misdirects focus away from the system and constructive thinking around changing it. I agree with some of your sentiments around flaws in business and politics, yet I ‘hate’ and direct constructive thinking towards the game, rather than one of the players.

    Regarding neoliberalism, etc, I will not cite defenses for neoliberalism and consumerist economies (I additionally object to you grouping crony capitalist governance in the list), as they would be unlikely to change your mind. I will simply say that such systems historically appear to lead to high degrees of efficiency and alignment of interests, which result in strong productivity and higher standards of living. People at Stanford love to attack capitalism and ignore that it was free-market capitalism and not democracy (not to diminish the value of democracy; this is purely a causal point) that brought 300 million people out of poverty in China in just a decade.

    Regarding “You cite Bloomberg’s wealth creation. Well and good. But judging that action as a normative good presupposes that monetary gains are the primary metric by which we estimate an individual’s contribution to society.” It does not suppose that it is the primary metric, but instead just one of the metrics to be considered. I would, however, argue that applying an insubstantial weighting to this metric makes sense. Bloomberg was a businessman. His goal was to create profit and high returns. He did this. By the metric for the line of work he was in, he excelled. Excellence, rather than just wealth creation, etc, is, I conjecture, worth valuing.

    Regarding “returns in wealth… are not equitably distributed”. This is basically about incentivization. Many businesses would not have been created if businesspeople had not dreamed of lavish rewards upon success. Some amount of skewed/inequitable distribution creates powerful incentives and most likely economic growth.

    Regarding your comments about gentrification and the vision being exclusionary. I disagree with the latter: standards of living (mean, top and bottom) have increased over the long-term; if they continue to do so based on the efforts of entities who drive forward progress, the entire society will continue to benefit from this. Regarding the former, criticizing gentrification is attacking a symptom and not underlying causes. A market based housing market is efficient and creates incentivization: you work harder so you can afford the nice house. Gentrification comes about because of historical and systemic reasons relating to wealth distribution among different demographics. Push back on this, rather than gentrification. As long as wealth levels correlate to demographics in a skewed way, and people are free to choose where to purchase property, there will be gentrification. Push for the creation of wealth among different demographics, rather than criticizing gentrification, the underlying context of which is improved prosperity in a given region.

    I did not present specific examples of philanthropy as I assumed you would be aware of collaborations like this:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324048904578320390272059334.html

    I too dislike, and find distasteful, homophobic and misogynist slurs. You assign to the slurs an almost absolutely negative value, which is, in my admittedly subjective estimation, overly extreme. I personally disagree that the slurs cancel out the accomplishments of one of the most successful businessman alive.

    Regarding “Again, you’re speaking for already empowered groups: the affluent, the white, the cis-gendered, and the heterosexual. I’m not. Bloomberg is a white man’s hero. “ Firstly, I’m not speaking for anyone besides myself. I have my own opinions and I express them. When I do try to expression society-oriented opinions, they are in the context of the entire population and do not exclude any group. I find it surprising that you choose to speak for particular subgroups, rather than advocating for improving conditions for everyone. This is your choice though. Secondly, yes, he is a hero – yet, that has nothing to do with his race. Among the accomplishments listed as laudable, not one of them was the color of his skin. I select role models based on attributes not including race.

    Regarding “And his police are out frisking the minorities that his policies have already left behind.”. I agree that this is a poor policy decision, and will not write an apology on this. I will mention that his crime approach has been statistically successful though, despite the questionable methods, and so if you look with a more consequentialist and less deontological frame, you make reach different conclusions.
    Regarding “Speaking out against gun violence? I’d argue that it’s politically expedient for him.”. This might be an astute point. However, most politicians support issues when there is some degree of political alignment involved. Bloomberg spoke out against and pushed legislation in NYC on gun violence, and even if it was in his best interests to do so, that is more than most do. See the gun bill that just failed to pass in the Democratically controlled Senate.

    Regarding “Don’t characterize the sentiments that you expressed above as moderate. It’s specious and misleading in an attempt to make yourself more credible. In fact, on a capitalist-socialist spectrum, your aforementioned views are pretty polar. Furthermore, cease the dialectic of victimhood; it is easy to express moderate, or even Republican-aligned views on this campus.” Firstly, moderate is a term relative to the constituency you are talking about; I characterize my views as moderate as this is descriptively accurate relative to the U.S, and if it makes me seem more credible, than this is a positive externality that I will happily benefit from. Secondly, I dislike being pigeonholed into the typical frameworks, especially a binary capitalist-socialist spectrum. My views are idiosyncratic and vary along various dimensions because I strive to think for myself. Finally, my dialectic has nothing to do with victimhood. I do not see myself as a victim in any way, and do not think in such terms. Instead, this is a point of practical reality. I deem the costs of openly writing my opinions to be too high on campus, so I refrain from writing opinion pieces like you do. Again, this is nothing to do with being a victim; this is a practical point regarding my estimation of reactions to diverse viewpoints on campus.

    Regarding “You just have to make substantive arguments to support them. Above, you did not. You lauded an individual with superlatives and vague claims, but offered no evidence that he merits such praise.”. The need to make substantive arguments is dependent on the context. I was commenting on your opinion piece with a description of my opinions. I was not writing a thesis. When making a comment on articles, it is typical to use comments or claims as concise heuristics, rather than going through a more costly presentation of thoughts. The standards of evidence and substantive arguments that you claim are necessary appear excessive for an initial comment on an opinion piece. I have laid out some additional informal arguments in this response. I am not obliged to draw on evidence, and do so when I feel it will further explicate my opinions or justifications for them. For some summarizing data points, I point to the billions in Bloomberg’s bank account, the 7.6B annual revenue that Bloomberg LP makes, and while political metrics are harder to abstract into summarizing single figures, Bloomberg has been elected three times (twice re-elected) by his constituency in NYC. I will leave it to you to gather more evidence that you feel meet the burden of proof necessary to comment on your opinion pieces. As you conclude, this is all opinion.

    I agree with your point that criticizing can be hard to do. I respect your efforts to do so. I am merely disagreeing with the focus of your criticism, and a number of your underpinning opinions.

    I agree with much of the world-view you expressed, including the lacking of an objective truth and how arbitrary moral frameworks underlie this conversation. So, we come to the point where we ask, what kind of moral framework do we want to construct? They might be arbitrary, yet some will be more optimal than others for particular objectives we may wish to achieve. Assuming a subset of those objectives are progressing society, then the construct I’m proposing is to forgive the scars and bruises of those who have fought their way through the brush, and respect that they made it.

    Thank you again for your time

  • MMD

    Did you just talk about the wide diversity of our campus by giving a range from one fraternity to another? jeez