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The general argument of 'it's okay to take money from bad people as long as that money isn't blood money and you take it anonymously' is hard for me to sympathize with. At the very least it gives that person leverage over you in two ways: firstly by the threat of ceasing donations if you become dependent on them and secondly by the threat of revealing their involvement in your institution.



Agreed, and I would that there's no such thing as "anonymously" except with respect to offical records. All the office staff knew it was Epstein. Donors outside the circle (like Bill Gates) knew Epstein was an agent of the Media Lab collecting donations. There's no meaningful sense of "anonymity", which makes Lessig's description of it as a shield almost comical.


This whole sordid affair and some of the ways people are commenting and writing about it has been one of those situations where I'm taken aback by how differently some people see it to me.

Just... don't deal with bad people if you can avoid it. Maybe your institute's endowment will have to remain at 16 billion dollars instead of increasing to 16.02. If MIT (and the MIT media lab) don't have FU money then who does?


I just don't understand what he would gain from the anonymous donation. Tax deduction? Even for the tax purposes the name of a donor has to be matched with a certain record, right? I probably sounds too naive but I want to know.




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