Man Without Qualities

Monday, May 06, 2002

Warren Buffet's Profession

At Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s annual meeting, Warren Buffet professed that he is convinced that an atomic bomb is going to be set off in the United States soon.

If Mr. Buffet is as convinced as he says he is, then he should be thinking in terms other than the possible amount his various insurance companies would have to pay out if, say, Manhattan and the million plus souls who call it home, are rendered into ash within the next few years. Mr. Buffet should try to actually do something to effectively and substantially reduce the chances that this horror will become a reality.

Mr. Buffet is a very practical person. The things that can be done practically generally fall into the categories of national INTELLIGENCE and DEFENSE. Mr. Buffet points out that the likelihood of atomic attack is tied to "envy and dislike" of the United States worldwide. A third category in which things might practically be done to address that problem – a category related closely to the second category and perhaps forming a part of it – is national OFFENSIVE MILITARY PREPAREDNESS, which might be used to deactivate governments cultivating such sentiments. It is hard to imagine a man as intelligent as Mr. Buffet thinking that any form of appeasement could achieve such a result. His profession should also make it obvious to him that people who culivate the "envy and dislike" of those who do well create mischief both at home and abroad, often unleashing forces they cannot contain.

Mr. Buffet should not be a member of the Democratic Party if he believes what he says he believes. For there is little doubt that the people in charge of the Democratic Party are at heart hostile to increasing the United States’ capabilities in even one of these areas in a meaningful way. Under the harsh glare of a Republican President attempting to build up these capabilities, Democrat leader can be expected to acquiesce grudgingly and to mount rear guard actions against such expenditures under the guise of “reform” such as this New York Times editorial, which contains not even an admission that expenditures and efforts substantially greater than those requested and obtained by the Clinton administration are - and were then - necessary.

Until recently Mr. Buffet was registered as a Republican. If he believes what he says and cares about the United States, he should again be one, and act like it. Otherwise, his statements to shareholders seem just intended to produce a flashy effect while trifling with a most serious topic and the fate of the United States. It is hard to see why someone of Mr. Buffet's substance would have any interest in such petty hypocrisy.

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