September 10, 2014

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Levenson’s 2011 sale fell through, but perhaps the mogul figures 2014 would be the perfect time to unload the Hawks on, say, the newly flush Dr. Dre, who just sold his Beats headphone company to Apple. Perhaps a sale to the former NWA gangsta rapper would normally raise eyebrows (although the NBA let Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov buy the Brooklyn Nets, so it’s not clear if the league has any ethical standards other than to not be caught noticing anything about blacks), but now it would have to be permitted as a triumph of the black knight rescuing the Hawks from the white bigot (who would laugh all the way to the bank.)

So Levenson is likely to come out of this incident financially more than whole. In general, as the modern world’s psychoses become ever more absurd, you have to bet on the clever, such as Levenson, doing better relatively than the rest of us.

But eventually one of these rich guys is going to get caught at the bottom of a down cycle in the economy and pay a sizable price.

The truly important lesson from the Levenson affair, however, is that you can”€™t put anything honest in writing anymore. At some point in the future it may come back to ruin your career.

(If you are Sterling, and California’s anti-recording laws don”€™t seem to apply to you, you”€™d better not say anything out loud. And if the folks working on Implicit Association Tests continue to perfect their technologies, you”€™d better not even notice anything in the privacy of your own head.)

This can”€™t be good. Writing is better for clear thought than speaking, which is better than nods and nudges.

The mortgage meltdown of the last decade demonstrates what can go very wrong when the truth can”€™t be put down in black and white for fear of discovery in discrimination lawsuits.

From 1992 onward, the federal government waged a jihad against any mortgage lender who worried that blacks and Hispanics were less likely to pay back their debts. Over time, the more skeptical lenders exited the industry, leaving a culture dominated by true believers in the profit potential of the war on racist redlining, like Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide and Kerry Killinger of Washington Mutual.

Inevitably, it turned out that when everything fell apart in 2008, blacks and Hispanics defaulted at strikingly high rates. Yet the reality of how the cult of diversity helped tank the economy just six years ago remains, at best, murky in public and pundit mind alike.

What goes unsaid eventually goes unthought.


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