In the wake of the Occupy Wall Street protests, former Jimmy Carter National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski said Monday that lists of citizens "who make largely through speculation enormous amounts of money" should be created and made public in order to "pressure some of those people to give some of it back, back to society."
"I think public disclosure by the mass media could go a long way towards a social awakening that's responsible and constructive in its effects," Brzezinski told the crew at MSNBC's "Morning Joe" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: You know, I've been looking at this worldwide riots that are developing. They're all a reflection of deep passion, deep resentment, and fear. Now the question’s where will this go? How can this be sort of concretized? And one thought that has occurred to me, and let me sort of mention it here casually without having really thought it through systemically. I think it will be increasingly helpful if there was a movement to publish worldwide lists of people who make largely through speculation enormous amounts of money almost instantly and basically hide the fact from their social contexts. You know, how many Americans are really fully aware of how many other good people – that’s like Warren Buffett and others - who really donate a lot of their earnings to charities, to philanthropy? But how many more are there in the hedge funds, in the banks, in a variety of other places who on the basis of speculation literally make millions of dollars that it would take a century or two for the average person ever to make. I would like to see those lists. And they shouldn't be that difficult to produce. And I think public pressure might have also some effect, not only in terms of moving towards more systematic international coordination and regulation, but also to pressure some of those people to give some of it back, back to society.
Toward the end of the segment, he continued:
BRZEZINSKI: But unfortunately, there is an even larger number of people who massively enrich themselves over the last decade, incredibly so, to the degree that we now have this highly disproportionate social divisions between the rich and the poor. And I think they should be made known publicly. Public pressure, public condemnation, public shame can be very effective…I think public disclosure by the mass media could go a long way towards a social awakening that's responsible and constructive in its effects and doesn't produce stupid counterproductive witch hunt.
We just had riots in Rome with destruction of private property as a result of this movement. Last week, protesters in New York City went to the houses of some of the wealthiest people in the country to demonstrate.
Now, a former National Security Advisor - note the hypocrisy there! - is advocating "public disclosure by the mass media" of lists of rich people so the protesters can put more pressure on such people to give some of their money "back to society."
In essence, a former National Security Advisor is calling on the Internal Revenue Service and the media to assist in taking people's money away from them.
If we're going to do this, why should we stop at Wall Street speculators? How about members of our government that have made fortunes of money relative to the common man and don't give much to charity?
If we're going to start pressuring people to give more money back to society, it certainly shouldn't just be folks on Wall Street.
Let's include everyone, especially those working in government who really are supposed to be representing the people and not themselves.
Sadly, as Brzezinski was making his absurd suggestion, nobody on the set thought of this.
I wonder why.