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[flagged] The Epstein scandal at MIT shows the moral bankruptcy of techno elites (theguardian.com)
113 points by danielmorozoff 39 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 109 comments

This is, in my opinion, a stunningly poor reaction to the Epstein/Media Lab trash fire. You can believe, as I do, that Epstein was a monster and Joi fucked up in the worst possible way and also retain enough independent thought to see this article for what it is: an opportunistic rant by an angry person who imagines themselves the lone voice of reason against a vast conspiracy that includes everyone from wealthy Greek aristocrats (lol) to Bill Gates to Timothy Leary.


There's a lot to be frustrated by in the culture and cult of tech, but the irony of Morozov posting this op-ed on a site that is usually proudly powered by a mountain of open source created by the sorts of smart kids that spend time researching at the MIT Media Lab is galling.

"This single event shows how corrupt this class of people I already disliked is!" is the definition of how prejudice works.

For me, this event was insightful about the secret world of intellectual elites. We often think of these elites like Steven Pinker and Marvin Minsky working away in their damp offices in university campus and live sort of understated idealistic lifestyles. Instead, it appears there is this billionaire circuit which is equivalent of kings in modern days. They have their courts for intellectual kicks and show offs. They shuttle around these elites in private jets, have them vacation on private islands, put them on boards of companies, fund their ventures and so on. These intellectual elites are by no measure idealistic folks with idealistic middle class academic lifestyles but rather they are very rich and powerful with strong connection to billionaire circuit. It also appears that these folks have no qualms against their relationship with a person with severe ethical or moral issues as long as that person is billionaire. Probably all this is not very surprising and still just a sample size of one but it seems to be an interesting window on that world.

"This single event is additional information that I'm pointing out because it reinforces points I've made frequently in the past, while pointing out different events."

That's the definition of empirical argumentation.

It's still missing a crucial ingredient: you have to demonstrate that your list of events is an unbiased sampling of all relevant events, as opposed to a cherry-picked list of useful events. For example, it would not be an "empirical argument" to convince everybody that a coin was unfair by publishing an article whenever it came up heads. An example isn't evidence, and a list of examples aren't evidence. Evidence is when you have a list of examples along with the other necessary information (which can take many forms, for example I wouldn't mind seeing a list of examples from a known-non-morally-bankrupt control group).

>It's still missing a crucial ingredient: you have to demonstrate that your list of events is an unbiased sampling of all relevant events, as opposed to a cherry-picked list of useful events.

That's if you're writing a paper.

If you're making an empirical observation in the real world, the demands are much less rigorous, and if one can't tell what's going on without first demonstrating "that your list of events is an unbiased sampling of all relevant events" one is pretty much screwed...

> If you're making an empirical observation in the real world, the demands are much less rigorous

The demands are only less rigorous when you agree with the conclusion. Link an article from a racist website dedicated to black-on-white crime (that ignores other crime), and watch as the demands suddenly become much more rigorous.

Now try applying it to other groups of people.

That is a misrepresentation of the article's argument.

It's clear at this point that traditional journalists are opposed to tech because of what it's done to their profession. I don't blame them for being upset, but the way it's manifesting here is not good for anyone.

It's not clear at all. In fact it's not just not clear, it's not even remotely true.

morozov is more like an academic than a journalist

Just seems to be using this event to rant about stuff they were already upset about. The first name mentioned is Marc Zuckerburg, who has nothing to do with the actual scandal.

This is hardly the first charity scandal related to accepting donations from questionable donors. The issue predates electricity, let alone modern tech companies.

I am still genuinely trying to understand what happened.

In your interpretation:

1) What is the motivation of the donor (Epstein)?

2) What is the motivation of the acceptor (Ito)?

If your answer is

1) Prestige

2) Money

Then that does not work: they can not reach a mutual understanding about whether Epstein is allowed tell the world he donates to the Media Lab, which can be seen by splitting up in cases:

1) if the mutual understanding is that Epstein is allowed to tell the world he donates to Media Lab : in this case Ito's motive evaporates, because he was fully aware and scared shitless of Epstein's name getting associated with the Media Lab.

2) if the mutual understanding is that Epstein can not tell the world he donates to Media Lab : in this case Epstein's motive evaporates, since it doesn't raise his prestige.

So all the authors of these articles are systematically individually either unintentionally overseeing the inconsistency, or intentionally obscuring a deeper fact.

Let's hypothesize it's for the tax deductions for the root donors (like Bill Gates etc.) instead: this too doesn't make sense, if you find a scheme for tax deductions etc by donating, why not donate directly? if for some reason the tax scheme can only work with an intermediary... why on earth select a radioactive person like Epstein?

So the tax evasion angle is misdirecting chaff too...

Consider that many of the unrecognized victim(s) of Epstein (and the buyers of his underage prostitution ring) are now adult. Consider the typical promises that were made to these girls (money, and future prospects). Many of these girls are adult women today, possibly studying, PhD studying or working. If some of the girls insist on studying some place, Epstein needs to pipe hush money, scholarship, salaries into the faculties and departments.

My interpretation is that it is hush money.

Bill Gates is not shy, he openly donates to many causes. He wrote books etc...

Before this scandal there was nothing controversial about the Media Lab, so why would he donate anonymously?

Even if he insisted to donate anonymously, why donate through Epstein? Bill Gates should be smarter than that, why are we holding Ito to a higher standard than Gates? If Ito & Co were handling the connection with Epstein with radioactive precaution, why didn't Bill Gates geiger counter crackle beyond repair?

And why on earth would Gates pay off someone else's hush money?

Suppose Gates paid hush money (or was blackmailed by) Epstein for services rendered (say in a somewhat distant past) to forward the hush money to the victim(s) at Media Lab.

That could also explain why Gates would go through Epstein: if he paid the Media Lab directly, the shorter connection towards the victim(s) might be construed as a financial acknowledgement of his involvement with the victim.

It also explains why he would go through Epstein as opposed to involving a clean person: the clean new intermediary between the Media Lab and Gates would be an extra point of failure who could leak the secret.

While it might be relatively easy for the "already-did-his-time" Epstein to find a lab or department head, and convince him with his crocodile tears to cooperate in a cloak of charity to pipe the "compensations" ( hush money, work position salary for the victim ) through the department head.

Instead we have Big Media suddenly (and suspicously) spinning stories and redirecting attention to either academic vaporware like growboxes from the Media Lab, or "billionaire circuits" naturally attracting male and female "deplorables". (which is just slutshaming all over again!)

I assume you responded to the wrong thread?

no, it was in response to your comment: you write "charity scandal", but according to me it's something deeper which is being portrayed as a mere "charity scandal".

I really don't follow. What does Epsteins background have to do with the funding he was bringing to MIT? People aren't one dimensional. What Epstein did was disgusting, it has nothing to do with him funding some MIT research. MIT taking that funding is not in any way supporting what Epstein did.

Think about what both sides get in this transaction. Wealthy elites are using universities for prestige and to wash their reputations of past transgressions. Universities, in turn, get easy money from the rich.

You think Epstein funding some research washes him of his past transgressions? I have never heard anyone say that. Nor do I think we should stop people that have done wrong from doing right afterwards because it could "wash their reputations from past transgressions". We have something called the law that should bring justice to people.

I think you are more naive than you think. Think for a second.

The most egregious example of this is the Sackler family's ( Purdue Pharma/Opioids) massive donations to the arts/museums. They should not receive the glory and praise for their generosity to the arts for triggering the deaths of so many Americans in the pursuit of drug profits.

I think the naive approach is to think that things are black and white, absolutely good or absolutely bad, and so on by mere association. Scientifically useful results from scientists that are awful humans are still useful results on their own. A donation to a University (assuming no strings attached) doesn't make the University wrong by association, despite a donator who's an awful entity. Governments collect taxes from good and bad people and no one blinks an eye thinking the governments should lift their nose and walk away from money coming from criminals.

It does when you know the donor is awful and you conceal the origin of the donation.

How so? I think concealing the origin is the right thing especially if you know the person is awful and you don't want to reward them with reputation points.

Bottom line, I think a donation, an idea, a contribution is useful even if it comes from an awful source, but the problem lies in whether you reward/enable the source's awfulness. I think that's the argument to make, as opposed to just focusing on whether the source of funds was a morally acceptable person.

The right thing to do is not taking the money. There are plenty of other places you can get money from. The recipient may not get formal 'reputation points' but you are overlooking informal social networks in which such things are widely known but not talked about. If you have a bad reputation, financial inducements to silence people can be just as valuable if not more so as positive public remarks are to a person of ordinarily decent reputation.

As I said on another thread, if you really want to donate anonymously to a good cause, you just call a lawyer and pay a small fee to have them to submit it on your behalf.

Of course rich people donate to charities to prop up their own reputation. That is how charitable causes get money.

If we said this must be prevented because the donor is not a truly ethical selfless person, there would be much less money going to good causes. And who would be the judge of which of us is good enough to be allowed to donate to charities?

Hiding the origin of money in case like Epstein is clearly wrong. It prevents the bright people to make informed choices - based on their moral standards, not yours - where to work at. There are plenty of scientists who don’t want their work to be funded by that kind of money.

Why not? They did both. We should recognize them for both. Why do you feel the need to portray them in such a one dimensional way?

You'd like to recognize a rapist for their charitable givings?

edit: This was a poor comment. I shouldn't have phrased my point in such a crass way when I do not actually believe rowanG077 thinks what I wrote above. Sorry for my tone, rowanG077. It wasn't helpful to the conversation.

Where is the line? If you stole something at 16 does that mean you're to be shunned from society forever? Is the line rape? Is it murder? Sexual assault? Being a nazi? Being a conservative? Being a liberal? Associating with someone in the shunned group?

And what aren't we allowed to do with these people? Accept their money? Talk to them? Have dinner with them? Be in the same room as them? Same building? Be friends with friends of theirs?

You can begin to talk about rehabilitating abhorrent people only after they've demonstrated some contrition for their actions and growth towards being better. By all accounts, Epstein showed none of that.

How am I equipped to know if someone has been rehabilitated? Do you also want evildoers to be contrite and fund a PR campaign so you are aware of and approve their acts of contrition?

I struggle with this because I think I want someone I can never have. I require an omniscient AGI just to figure out if people are sorry or not.

I’m not sure how many museums you have to found to make up for opioid deaths or child sex trafficking. Fortunately, I don’t think I’ll ever be qualified or required to make these kinds of decisions.

The comment I responded to did not mention Epstein in any way or form.

This is an article about Epstein, in a thread about Epstein, with a side-diversion to the Sackler family. In that context, bradly's question:

> You'd like to recognize a rapist for their charitable givings?

Is clearly referencing Epstein and returning the thread to discussion of Epstein instead of the Sackler family.

Depends on what you mean by recognize. I certainly don't think we should hide it. I also don't think we should "forget" the person is a rapist.

But the main point I am making is that we shouldn't stop the rapist from making charitable givings. Nor should we punish institutions for taking that money.

Many people believe the charitable givings were what gave Epstein his credibility, allowing him to continue what he was doing. Accepting the donations was enabling Epstein.

Is there actual proof of the government knowing about Epsteins actions and looking the other way because of his donations? I find that really hard to believe...

I do not know about the U.S. government, but at M.I.T. he had been already been banned from charitable giving, so Joichi was having to lie about the source of the money.

Yes and that is indeed a problem. Joichi was willfully going behind M.I.T.s back to get those donations. And that should be a reason to fire Joichi.

However that is completely separate from believing that blacklist to be valid. I don't think such a blacklist should exist at all. But it's not the call of the researcher itself to bypass it.

That has nothing to do with your original point which said that his donations allowed him to work as a sex trafficker.

You are neglecting base rates, IMO. The base rate of wealthy people contributing to charitable causes is very high. There is no reason to think that their charitable donations had anything to do with their opioid manufacturing or any sort of guilt about that. I'm sure they internalized all that stuff in a way that made them blameless anyway.

How did Epstein benefit from making anonymous donations? It seems like there's something about this that we still don't understand.

> You think Epstein funding some research washes him of his past transgressions?

No, but it helps him maintain his social standing, which was a key factor in the lenient sentence he got for his conviction. Connections were a form of insurance for Epstein.

Is there any proof to your claim?

The Washington Post did a piece on the unusual handling of Epstein's case, e.g. having his case reviewed at the highest level of the Justice Department in an attempt to overrule the Miami prosecutors:


I can't view this for some reason. Is there an alternative where I can read this article?

Isn't that the way the world works? Someone does something bad, gets caught, and all of a sudden gives an endowment to some university or pediatric research agency? I mean, isn't that the way billionaire's revamp their image?

Does that actually launder anyone's reputation? Epstein was doing this sort of stuff before he was ever arrested. He seems to have been legitimately interested in funding science research. Unfortunately the world is actually complicated and people aren't simply one-dimensional villains. The guy did some genuinely good things, in a seemingly honest way. That doesn't in any way absolve him of the horrible things he did. But it's not at all clear that the purpose of his donations was some sort of reputation laundering.

Yes. It does. Money changes minds. And if you believe it does not, I have $100,000 that says it will.

Him donating to MIT doesn't change my mind about him. I'm not sure what your $100,000 point is about, he wasn't offering to pay everyone on earth to like him.

Where can I cash in on this $100,000?

See how easy it works? :) I haven't even given you the strings that are attached with the money.

You haven't given me the money either.

But yet, why are you so eager to get the money?

Because it advances my goal of saving enough money to retire and you still haven't actually specified any strings.

What’s your point? If elite child prostitution rings are “the way the world works” why should we continuing normalizing that as a society?

Oh no, not at all. GP said he'd never heard of that in society before. Just trying to point out his ignorance.

Not really. Someone doing something really bad will always have their image tainted. That doesn't mean we should stop them from doing good.

Look at Bill Gates for instance. People still give him a lot of shit for what he did 20 to 30 years back even though he objectively has done a lot more good now then bad. Bill Gates did both of those things. We shouldn't forget either.

Here is what Epstein's background had to do with it: there's good reason to think that much of his wealth came from blackmailing other people that he encountered or lured into the circles of organized sexual abuse, and that this fact was widely known. That's why Ito at the MIT media lab wrote to his colleagues that epstein's donations should be listed as 'anonymous' to minimize the scrutiny thereof.

If you are having difficulty understanding this issue then you are either immature or socially illiterate. You might as well ask what harm a cancer on one of your organs is since it hasn't metastasized yet.

The problem was Ito accepting donations from a black listed person. Nothing more nothing less. Ito wasn't in the position to make that call.

Yes he was. If he felt conflicted about it he should have resigned then, rather than doing so just now after his involvement was publicly exposed. I wish you would half as hard at trying to understand this as you do at refuting it; I can't bear to continue this conversation further.

What's ironic, is that's the same mentality that Joichi Ito had to resign for.

Money that comes from illegal or immoral activity colors it. You may think it's the same money, but the source of the money is important for institutions that have moral and ethical standards.

No quite. He also hid the donation from MIT, as Epstein was blacklisted. That part alone should get him fired.

What? How does that prove my point wrong? If anything, it amplifies my point.

In the sense that it's not quite clear if he would have had to resign if Epstein were not blacklisted.

Well that is probably naive view of the matter. People with money cultivate such relationships to influence the discourse ever so slightly in their favor. Please look up Anand Giridharadas who had written quite extensively on this.

That is more of a problem of individuals with large amounts of money having too much power then anything else.

Why techno elites?

All elites (political, financial, tech, medicine, etc) are morally bankrupt.

They're like regular people, but with power and money, both known corruptors, reduced empathy [1], and all the motivations to increase their reach. And they were probably quite psycho which helped them get at the elite level to begin with [2]...

[1] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-wealth-reduce...

[2] https://www.amazon.com/Wealth-Secrets-How-Rich-Got/dp/031637...

Maybe the contradiction is thus:

1. We expect people higher up the status ladder to behave better than most people.

2. Getting higher up the status ladder probably means you are statistically likely to be "worse" than most people by virtue of the traits it requires to get there.

(Please excuse the "better/worse" shorthand but you all know what I mean)

Techno elites often project an air of moral superiority where others are mostly silent would be my guess.

I thought the article, and especially the headline, were overgeneralizing and weak. I looked up the author, and he has such a strong anti-tech bias. His last 4 posts (from https://www.theguardian.com/profile/evgeny-morozov):

- The Epstein scandal at MIT shows the moral bankruptcy of techno elites

- Facebook's plan to break the global financial system

- It's not enough to break up Big Tech. We need to imagine a better alternative

- The left needs to get radical on big tech – moderate solutions won't cut it

Donating money to charitable causes is just a way to do good.

When somebody does something good we shouldn't say "That must not be allowed because he is only trying to make himself look good".

Rather than try to prevent bad people from doing good things, we should try to do good things ourselves.

Condemning somebody else is a way to make yourself look good. How? When you say that someone else is bad you are implicitly claiming that YOU are not (that) bad. And you are just spending energy (if not money) to prop up your reputation. That is in fact kinda unethical because you are in fact doing nothing good to anybody else than yourself, just polishing your halo, by pointing out how bad some other people are.

Folks should remember that Rafael Reif was the provost under Susan Hockfield who orchestrated the whitewashing of research misconduct allegations that MIT Professor Ted Postol launched against MIT Lincoln Laboratory for using fabricated data to report results of a critical ballistic missile defense test to the Pentagon. MIT was found "guiltless" by Provost Reif after an "internal investigation" was conducted over the course of almost a decade. Steve Weiner (a highly respected former director of ballistic defense research at Lincoln for almost 20 years) has since accused MIT of engaging in a "kickback scheme" whereby Lincoln would tell the MDA whatever it needed to hear about the viability of a Starwars-inspired missile defense shield in order for executives at Raytheon to receive multi-billion dollar contracts to build it. The phony missile defense tests that Postol challenged intensely for almost a decade were one small but critical piece of the massive fraud that MIT has perpetrated against the United States taxpayer here. President Reif needs to be incarcerated, not just fired!

In such a fucked up world, how do people even manage to focus on the silliest, most irrelevant issues?

Seems absurd to ban bad people from giving their money to good causes. Bad people with money will still have money, whether you shun them or not.

If you take this to it's logical extreme, you only allow bad people to give money to bad causes; especially so because the folks making these determinations allow no room for neutral causes.

New charity donation questionnaire for prospective donors...

Have you:

* Engaged in any activities the general public would find reprehensible?

* Plan on doing so in the future?

Are you:

* Generally disliked by the general public?

* Possibly going to be targeted by public outrage at some point?


If you answered yes to any of the above, we regret to inform you that your charitable donation cannot be accepted.

I think the first set of criteria are entirely valid. The second half of your post might require more background information.

This is an angry piece.

The Epstein case doesn't surprise me. Most people with money are morally reprehensible or have dealt with morally reprehensible people.

What I can't understand is where TED talks play into this? Are they evil by proxy?

Money is the root of all evil.

Kind of weird how they discuss a single case and then literally write that one should "refuse the money of tech billionaires".

Sounds like an absurd overreaction. Worth checking out https://slatestarcodex.com/2019/07/29/against-against-billio...

The important thing is that the guardian/nytimes figured out how to connect this back to tech=bad, which is an ongoing interest of theirs.

From what I've read the first criminal case against him was in 2005 and the dinner with the MIT scientists was in 1999. The donations to Harvard were in 2003. I don't see the value in pointing the finger here.

If you have a problem with MIT taking Epstein's money, then you have a problem with money in general. We all take money in some fashion from disgusting, psychotic, and evil people on a regular basis. Particularly so when we're on social security, medicare, or another social program.

It's like the people who are against hunting, but who are happy to eat store bought meat.

So taxes are mandatory. They don't change the reputation of a person.

Charitable contributions can make a sleazeball look like a boy scout, when in fact deep down he's profiting on human misery.

I agree, but these contributions were anonymous. So the reach of the sleazeball to boy scout effect was limited to the people Epstein talked to anyway, and could see the sleazeballness first hand.

They were anonymous because the recipients hid the fact of their origin. There are receipts of their conversations about this.

Your comment is problematic for Ito, but non-responsive to the parent comment's argument.

The thread is: bb88 proposes that Epstein's charitable giving to MIT was a way to reputation launder ("turn a sleazeball into a boyscout").

davrosthedalek disputed that claim, as the donations were anonymous.

The reason for anonymity doesn't matter; the net effect is there is no plausible reputation laundering effect from anonymous donations.

Is it actually known who requested the anonymization? It's clear that it was required to hide it, but was it something Epstein wanted or only accepted? I didn't see it in any of the articles, but I might have missed it.

How do they make a sleazeball look like a boy scout?

The Jeffrey Epstein Modern Art Wing

The Jeffrey Epstein Pediatric Fund for Incurable Childhood Illnesses

The Jeffrey Epstein Research Lab at MIT

The Jeffrey Epstein Fund for Worldwide Peace

(Note: some of these I'm sure I made up...)

This doesn't answer the question. You really think a person that knows Epstein has done the things he has done and knows about the "The Jeffrey Epstein Research Lab at MIT" is going to think that Epstein is some A OK dude?

How do you think he got away with what he did for so long? People would hear 'that Epstein fellow is said to be pedophile' and think 'Jeffrey Epstein, respectable philanthropist? Surely not.'

Why are you caping so hard for this guy?

What do you mean getting away with what he did for so long? He was sentenced more then 10 years ago for having sex with underage girls.

Donating money doesn't make you a philanthropist. I'm not caping(? not sure what this means) at all for Epstein. I simply think it beyond ridiculous to fault an institution for taking donations from any individual as if that act implies the institution agrees with all actions that individual has taken.

Most likely, you didn't know about the evils of Jeffrey Epstein until a Miami Herald reporter started to dig into the story, and then got picked up by national papers.

Had that not have happened, most people to this day would still think he's probably an "A OK dude."

I didn't hear about the evils of Jeffrey Epstein. In fact I didn't know the guy at all.

But to disprove your point. If I go back one year with the wayback machine and look at his wikipedia the first sentence on his page mentions he is a registered sex offender[1].

[1] https://web.archive.org/web/20180807122025/https://en.wikipe...

Back in 2008, Epstein was convicted of a single prostitution charge [1]. The word "trafficking" doesn't even appear in that story. It makes it sound like Epstein had a weak moment frankly.

It was only after the Miami Herald story came out did we learn about the child trafficking that took place -- and then this year it became a huge national story.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/01/business/01epstein.html

Convicted, sure.

Upthread you said:

> Most likely, you didn't know about the evils of Jeffrey Epstein until a Miami Herald reporter started to dig into the story, and then got picked up by national papers. Had that not have happened, most people to this day would still think he's probably an "A OK dude."

But I would heartily disagree with that.

Allegations of sexual assault of minors had been public from 2008 on, and Epstein settled literally dozens of civil suits from victims prior to the 2018 Herald piece. Allegations of trafficking were made in 2015 by Virginia Roberts.

(Also, honestly, isn't a single instance of knowing solicitation of a minor enough? Dude was known to be a creep since at least the 2008 conviction, despite the extremely favorable plea deal.)

> (Also, honestly, isn't a single instance of knowing solicitation of a minor enough?)

Technically, it puts some of the blame on the underage girl, because she then becomes a "prostitute". Hence, she was at least half to blame. Hell, he could even have said: "I didn't know she was underage..." And a lot of guys would believe him.

The fact that she was trafficked instead completely changes the issue. She was never a "prostitute", and he was a bigger sleazeball than we realized.

I vehemently disagree with your stated opinion that a 14-year old girl who is statutorily raped by a man in his 50s is "at least half to blame" about anything.

It wasn't my opinion. It's what the charges mean.

If it was child abuse, they would have charged him with abuse. They basically called her a "prostitute" from the charges suggesting that she was at least partly to blame.

I'm not sure the trafficking was even on the radar at that point. The legal proceedings didn't even start yet. It's no wonder it's not on Wikipedia then.

There were rumors, and lawsuits. However as I mentioned elsewhere in this thread, he was charged with soliciting an underage prostitute -- not child sexual abuse, or child trafficking.

But it's still unclear why the US attorney's office refused to investigate the other cases and offered him a sweetheart deal. In any case, the 2008 charges made it sound like he was just looking for sex, not running a child trafficking ring.

> Charitable contributions can make a sleazeball look like a boy scout

Well, that's not the sleazeball's or the charity's problem. If you and other people don't think he's a "boy scout" then he won't be seen as one. If you do, he will.

So MIT should be able to accept money profited from Child Traffickers and Drug Cartels?

Reframed: No, MIT shouldn't knowingly give money to child traffickers and drug cartels.

I don't understood the argument for non-politician organizations returning donations from problematic people. By keeping the money, you're enriching your organization, at expense to the bad person. Win-win for society.

For politicians and political organizations, there is an implicit association with bribery, so in that case I can understand demands to refusing contributions from bad donors. (But even there, better to redirect it to a good charity than to return it to the "bad donor.")

> Reframed: No, MIT shouldn't knowingly give money to child traffickers and drug cartels.

I think that just confuses the issue.

> For politicians and political organizations, there is an implicit association with bribery.

1. Alice accepts money from Bob

2. Alice discovers Bob is running a underage sex trafficking ring on the side.

3. Alice continues to accept money from Bob.

So let's ask the following questions:

1. Is Alice implicitly condoning underage sex trafficking by taking Bob's money?

2. Does Alice look like she's implicitly condoning underage sex trafficking by taking Bob's money?

3. How does the public know what the true motives of Alice are? Does she support underage sex trafficking or not?

4. How do we know if Alice is telling the truth as long as she accepts money from Bob?

5. How does this affect Alice's reputation? Would you go to Alice to seek help with trying to stop underage sex trafficking? Or has Alice been "tainted" with Bob's money?

Yes, though that's probably illegal on the donor's side, but I see no problem with MIT receiving it.


Unsubstantiated imperative sentences with no further context are not especially compelling arguments and do not meet the usual merit bar for comments on this site.


I'm not a perfect writer and sometimes write unclearly; I made a good-faith attempt to express my thought. I am certainly open to learning better ways to phrase my ideas, if you have suggestions.

I have to agree. This is getting ridiculous. Taking money from an individual does not mean you have administered absolution.

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