I have a simple rule -- beware of anyone who calls himself a "radical centrist."
Are you still wondering who's destroying America? I'd like you to meet Peter D. Kiernan, formerly a master of the universe. In 2001, he got out of the Wall Street racketeering business just as the first of their recent bubbles bursting, his billions intact. He decided his wealth entitled him to tell the rest of America how to solve its problems (which were largely created by folks like Goldman Sachs, but let's not digress..)
His book, about America’s relationship with China, is subtitled “And Nine More Catastrophes We Must Avoid Right Now.” It was released this week, representing the first step in a new life as a self-fashioned political pundit. In it, Mr. Kiernan lays out his views on gay marriage (pro), three-strikes drug policies (anti), Occupy Wall Street (“a peregrine circling overhead”), military intervention (he favors the so-called Powell Doctrine, which means considering noncombat options before the use of force) and a cornucopia of other issues.
Ultimately, Mr. Kiernan, 58, says he believes we need to put aside political differences to solve our national problems and avoid losing our place in the global pecking order, a doctrine he calls “radical centrism.”
Here's what really gets me:
In the book, a dense 400-page treatise, Mr. Kiernan lays out his vision for American progress, and his ideas about how it all went wrong. He blames the “the media-talk complex” for the partisan divide and laments the existence of a “selectorate,” a governing elite whom he says are chosen by lobbyists and donors instead of being elected by average Americans.
When you peel away all the baloney, here's what's really at the core of Kiernan's ideology: I'm really, really rich, and I'm going tell you what to do, starting with the 400-page stream of consciousness riff (which is entitled "Becoming China's Bitch," something that New York Times did not consider fit to print). The reason that Peter Kiernan knows so much about "the selectorate" is, to paraphrase Pogo, he are one. Especially when he put on one of other post-Goldman hats, trustee of the University of Virginia business school.
Earlier this month, billionare Kiernan apparently selectorated the very popular president of the University of Virginia. Teresa Sullivan, right out of her job:
On Thursday night, a hedge fund billionaire, self-styled intellectual, “radical moderate,” philanthropist, former Goldman Sachs partner, and general bon vivant named Peter Kiernan resigned abruptly from the foundation board of the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. He had embarrassed himself by writing an email claiming to have engineered the dismissal of the university president, Teresa Sullivan, ousted by a surprise vote a few days earlier.
The events at UVA raise important questions about the future of higher education, the soul of the academic project, and the way we fund important public services.
The University board forced Sullivan to resign without a meeting or a vote, let alone any discussion, debate or meaningful warning. The campus has been rocked by large protests from stunned student and faculty. Apparently, all this inspired by the whim of some hedge-fund (bleep)-hole and some other totally unaccountable elite allies.
This incident in Virginia could be shrugged off it were an isolated incident, but of course it's not. Hedge-fund know-it-alls are attempting to have their way all over America. Here in Pennsylvania, three hedge-fund guys have sunk literally millions of dollars into buying off politiciansbecause of their libertarian belief in funding vouchers to send kids to schools where they teach them that the Loch Ness Monster is a living dinosaur. In Washington, hedge fund guys have the private ear of Rep. Paul Ryan and his plans to destroy Medicare and the rest of the safety net.
There's one thing that's especially galling about Kiernan's ham-handed power-wielding, though - that it took place in Charlottesville, in the cradle of Jeffersonian democracy. Our third president must be rolling over in his grave right now.