Trappings of Integrity
If you've ever seen one of these documentaries about
investment magicians who guarantee high returns, they always
ensconce themselves in the accoutrements of trust. They have
impressive offices, powerful friends, perhaps connections with a
wealthy religious organization. In other words, they could never
have achieved their station of respect if they were dishonest.
On the other end of the equation you have the victims, who did their
homework and found that the powerful connections are legitimate. The
investment opportunity sounds awfully good, and even the papers and
the local news reporters stand in awe of the obvious abilities of
investment guru to follow through on his iron clad promises.
Of course it is legitimate! The promises of high returns are
generous, but not beyond the realm of believability. Besides, there
are plenty of savvy, sophisticated bankers, lawyers and even members
of the clergy who are enthusiastic about the program and the
brilliant wizard who makes it all happen. Why, this guy and his
company have big investment firms for clients, not to mention a host
of A-list celebrities who have invested heavily.
The trappings of respect, power and wealth are just beyond
disrepute. No one suspects anything could be wrong, until the checks
start to bounce. That's when chaos begins to ensue. Everybody wants
their money back, which of course isn't going to happen, and they
want the wizard guru who deceived everybody to pay dearly! They want
him punished commensurate with his crime. They call the authorities,
government law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute the
perpetrator of the fraud that's upended their lives.
This whole scenario has played out dozens and dozens of times,
sometimes it has played out on a scale that has rocked the financial
system as happened in the mortgage derivative scam. Sometimes tens
of thousands lose everything, their credit, their homes, their
savings and security as happened in the
Bernie Maddoff case. Perpetrators of these massive scams will
sometimes flee and try to live out their lives in comfortable
obscurity, but rarely succeed. Their fraud is prosecuted by the
legal authorities, sometimes with a plea deal for cooperation if the
victims' losses can be recovered to some extent. If not, prosecutors
throw the book at him.
The point is that there are several
legal agencies that are expert at investigating and prosecuting
crimes of fraud. Was it a legitimate deal that hit a snag and
went wrong through no fault of the principals? Or was the whole
thing a blatant deception from the beginning, where the operators
intentionally deceived their victims into parting company with their
nest-egg and their security?
Are there any assets by which the victims could be made whole? What
if there are, but the defendant in the scam refuses to cooperate,
even though he's been caught in a web of premeditated lies and brash
deception? Surely that would result in the most aggressive
prosecution, and a quest for the most severe punishment the legal
system could mete out.
Absolutely none of the conventional wisdom we're familiar with
regarding financial fraud and deception applies in the case of the
enormous scandal breaking across the nation with regard to the
utopian, government run
universal health-care system. As
Andrew Napolitano recently said on national TV,
it is a crime if a citizen lies to the government, but there is no
legal recourse whatever to citizens who've been lied to by officials
of the government. As to the
Chief Executive of the
United States, who went on record dozens of times with a very
explicit and unequivocal promise, known by his own advisers to be
categorically false the Judge said, “He knows that not a hair of his
head can be harmed.”
As with all successful scams and
a falsehood of this magnitude would never have been believed or
accepted in the first place were it not for the overwhelmingly
impressive trappings of honesty and integrity. In this case the man
who gave the assurances occupies the most powerful and traditionally
trustworthy office on planet earth! If anybody has the juice to make
good on his word, he does. Surely he can acknowledge that millions
are being financially harmed due to the fact that they trusted his
assurances, and something can be done to rectify the situation? No
Isn't he concerned that trust will be lost? How will he govern if a
great majority, suffering economic adversity on the basis of his
false statements no longer trust him, no longer believe a word that
comes out of his mouth?
Governance by persuasion is clearly out the window as of now. From
now on there will be only one way to herd the masses.
The damage, as in so many situations where people have completely
lost control of their financial lives, may be irretrievably done.
And there is apparently “no controlling legal authority.”
But there is this little-known principal that our nation's founders
understood and respected. They called it
the natural law and
Providence. They knew that any violation would come with
natural, immutable consequences beyond man's ability to circumvent.
Man's best attempts at securing justice sometimes fail. God's do