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But in these cases, how do you know?



In this case you know because Epstein already had a criminal conviction and MIT had already blacklisted him as a donor.


Here is one thing. If you want to get technical, without knowing everything we now know about Epstein, I am not sure a conviction is enough. MIT is not the criminal justice system. We now know that Epstein got a light sentence and the guy responsible had to quit his job in disgrace. But maybe not everybody knew this. Maybe he says, "yeah I did this thing, but I served my time blah blah, by the way please take this million dollars". And in the abstract, do you want to stigmatize every single convict or do you believe that some of them are reformed?

Obviously Epstein was not, and MIT didn't want to take the risk, correctly.


I mean before that. Obviously you cannot accept money from someone we discover is a criminal


In this case, I do know. It the stories were similar, then it was not not knowing.

In others, if you don't know, why does one assumes it was innocent situation that highlight how unclear everything is and required hindsight? It is real question btw, not rhetorical one. The older I am, the more I see how many of much lesser ethical conflict situations have not just red flags all over them, but clear breaches going on long before something blows. And how people like to not act on it all, because it benefits them.

It is possible that innocent people are being framed in that or this situation. But the issues with rich psychopaths building impenetrable circles of enablers around them are not that situation. People willing to go there are given advantages and build further circles of people willing to support them around them too.


> if you don't know, why does one assumes it was innocent

This is the same standard the US legal system uses, for one. "Innocent until proven guilty."

In the case of my comment I thought that it is easy to point out misdeeds but we cannot be overconfident in our own ability to prevent them under exceptional circumstances. If you were given money by a Weinstein or an Epstein, we all hope we could have the good sense to do the right thing. But how much is that actually the case? None of us are actually in that situation; few of us have been tested in this way. We could also be conned by these types. It is instructive to take a step back and understand that part. Perhaps this would help us be more vigilant should the situation actually arise.

The final point I would make. It breaks down a bit for supervillains like an Epstein. But for lesser transgressions, such as those I have seen in my own life, I can say that I used to spend a lot more time questioning people's motives, and indeed labelling people as psychopaths, sociopaths, and narcissists at a distance. Eventually I came to a realization that mentally maintaining these labels and reacting to them was a big stress on me and source of anxiety. It may sound radical, I would argue that thinking better of people by default will lead you to better mental health. But I have not figured out how this policy may apply to an Epstein, Ito, Weinstein, Hitler, etc. Thankfully I think such supervillains are a minority.




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