A few years after the fall of the Marxist utopias, I found myself sitting on a sofa in Beverly Hills next to a man who was worth half a billion dollars. His name was Stanley Gold and he was chairman of a holding company that was the largest shareholder in Disney, the largest media corporation in the world. Since I was currently engaged in a conservative project in the entertainment community and the occasion was a cocktail reception for a Republican Senator, I turned the conversation towards a pitch for support. But I was only able to run through a few bars of my routine before Gold put a fatherly hand on my arm and said, “Save your breath, David. I’m a socialist.”
I am reminded of this story every time a leftist critic pulls out the Marxist canard that I have “sold out” my ideals, or suggests that an opinion I’ve expressed can be explained by the “fact” that somewhere a wealthy puppet-master is pulling my strings. I am not alone, of course, in being the target of such attacks, which are familiar to every conservative who has ever engaged in political debate.
Of course, those who traffic in socially conscious abuse have a ready answer for anecdotes like this one, namely, that it is an isolated and aberrant case. Even if it’s true, in other words, it’s false. There is a larger Marxist “truth” that trumps little facts like this, which is that conservative views express the views of corporate America, serve the status quo, defend the rich and powerful, and legitimize the oppression of the poor. The same trump presumes that leftist views, however well paid for by the wealthy, are inherently noble because they oppose those injustices.
In the fantasy world of the left, Stanley Gold can only be understood as a human oxymoron: a uniquely good-hearted capitalist who is a friend to humanity and a traitor to his class. But, then, so are such famous leftwing billionaire (and centimillionaire) moguls as Ted Turner, David Geffen, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Michael Eisner, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Ron Burkle and a hundred others less famous (but equally wealthy).
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