Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Who Is...Howard Roark?"

This news story reminded me a bit of the penultimate courtroom scene in Ayn Rand's The Foutainhead, when a defiant Howard Roark explains to the jury the true meaning of intellectual property, and a sure conviction becomes an instant aquittal.

Yesterday, U.S. prosecutors failed in their first high-profile attempt to convict Wall Street characters of purported crimes related to the financial meltdown.

The feds' case against two former Bear Stearns hedge funds ended in acquittal, because the jury saw the obvious. The two defendants, Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin, didn't commit willful crimes in maintaining an optimistic public face as they struggled with huge and sudden losses. Instead, they, like many others, were powerless and panicked in the face of a historic financial meltdown...

Although the cases themselves are dissimilar, Rand's fictional verdict and yesterday's are both related in that in two "politically motivated" prosecutions, a clear-headed jury saw through what smarter folks assumed they would fall for: rhetoric and sob stories as a substitute for moral authority.

What do we learn from this? That the people aren't as dumb as the media and the government try to play them for. And that, my friends, is a very good sign for the immediate future of our nation...

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