Friday, December 10, 2010

Film Friday: Wall Street (1987)

Wall Street is a great film. It’s well-paced, well-shot, well-acted and quite dramatic. But it has a rather ironic history. It’s ironic because Oliver Stone wanted the film to stand as an attack on Wall Street and the Reagan philosophy, but it seriously backfired and he ended up sending an entire generation of kids to finance school specifically to become the very villain the film rails against.

** spoiler alert **

At one point, Oliver Stone was a talented director/storyteller. Wall Street was made at the height of his abilities and is perhaps his finest film. But it was this ability to craft a highly compelling and engrossing film that tripped Stone up. Stone, no friend of capitalism or Ronald Reagan, intended Wall Street to be an anti-Reagan, anti-Wall Street, anti-capitalism screed. He hoped to discredit everything Reagan had achieved and get people leaving the theaters believing that the Reagan recovery (then underway for several years) was smoke and mirrors, with the rich getting richer by illegal means and the poor being tossed into the streets. But people didn’t see the film that way. To the contrary, they were inspired to become the very thing he hated: Gordon Gekko.

If we take the story as Stone intended, we get the following. Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) is an eager young man who wants to do better than his father (Martin Sheen), a beloved union man. Fox joins the white collar corporate grind, doing cold calling for a brokerage firm. But greed entices Fox into the world of corporate raider Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), an evil man who symbolizes the Reagan years. Gekko wrecks companies so he can squeeze out their savings for himself. Under Gekko’s spell, Bud changes. He becomes cynical. He goes from a normal American to buying modern art he once despised, to taking drugs, to falling for a woman who is, in essence, a high class prostitute or gold digger. Most importantly though, Bud becomes a slave to Gekko, doing his bidding, emulating him, and being used and abused by him. Ultimately, Bud becomes a criminal. Gee, capitalism sucks.

But Stone made a huge mistake by glorifying the experience. He gave it cool settings, beautiful people, access to a secret world, and even a great soundtrack. Consequently, what most people got out of the film was this: Gordon Gekko owns expensive cars, private planes and homes on private beaches. He has the coolest office in the world. He belongs to private clubs, where he gets to push around rich people who thought they were better than him. He makes his own schedule, orders off the menu in restaurants, gets the best tables, meets the coolest people, has sex with the most attractive women, and gets to play monopoly with real companies. And his life can be yours, if you're just willing to break a few harmless rules.

What’s more, Stone compounds his error by adding the character of Sir Lawrence Wildman (Terence Stamp), the white knight corporate raider. Wildman is the good capitalist, a man who genuinely wants to turn companies around and save jobs rather than wrecking them. BUT, we are also told that Wildman was Gekko before Gekko, and that his good guy status is only of recent vintage. Bud Fox reinforces this when he talks repeatedly about making a fortune so he can then do good with it. Thus, through Wildman’s actions and Fox’s words, we are told that it’s ok to be Gekko to get rich so long as we eventually do something noble with the money. . . at some point.

Thus, rather than the anti-capitalist “finance makes you evil” message Stone intended, the message that comes across in Wall Street is that it’s ok to do bad things to become ultra rich, because (1) it’s a great way to live and (2) you can redeem yourself later by doing good things once you can afford it. This was the message picked up by millions of college kids who suddenly wanted to become Gordon Gekko. They dressed like him, quoted him, and talked about becoming him. Indeed, just like LA Law sent kids to law school and ER sent kids to medical school, Wall Street sent them to business school to learn corporate finance. Screenwriter Stanley Weiser has confirmed this, stating that he has been approached many times by people who told him, “This movie changed my life. Once I saw it, I knew that I wanted to get into such and such business. I wanted to be like Gordon Gekko.” Charlie Sheen and Michael Douglas also report that people tell them they became stockbrokers because of Fox and/or Gekko.

How’s that for irony?

But there are more ironies to consider. For example, this was a criticism of Reaganism, but corporate raiding exploded under Clinton. Stone complains that Gekko wrecks companies for no reason except his own profit, but it was the corporate raiders of the 1980s/1990s who are now credited with making American industry profitable again by breaking up large conglomerates that were run by inefficient management -- indeed, the failure to do this in Japan is one of the causes blamed for their decades long economic nightmare. Stone also complains that the economy is a “zero sum game,” a fancy economic term meaning that every winner has an equal loser and that no new wealth is ever created. But the economy grew from four trillion dollars at the time of the film to thirteen trillion today, even though Stone’s criticism would have predicted little to no growth. Similarly, Stone’s predicted pension fund collapse never happened.

Finally, it should be pointed out that much of what Stone sees as criminal in the conduct of Bud Fox and Gordon Gekko is not actually criminal. It is definitely criminal for Fox to break into offices using the cleaning service, and it is probably criminal for him to trade on what his father knows, depending on how his father learned this information. But Fox following Wildman around to figure out what company Wildman wants to buy is not illegal, despite Stone’s obsession with that point. Indeed, this is not insider information, this is nothing more than seeing Warren Buffett checking out the local grocery store and buying their stock because you think he wants to buy the company. Nor is it illegal to call the newspaper and tell them you plan to buy a particular stock, assuming you are truthful. Stone makes this sound criminal as well, but this happens every day when people go on CNBC to announce what they are interested in.

Thus, while Wall Street is a great film and it’s quite fun to watch, it fails pretty miserably at delivering its intended message. . . unless that message was “greed is good.”

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Game Master Rob Adams said...

Good review. I never really thought about the film from that particular angle. Wall Street is one of my favorite Conservative films. Others include The Devil's Advocate, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Rock, Airforce One, (anything with John Wayne) and Independence Day.

AndrewPrice said...

ACG, I think Oliver Stone would be turning over in his pre-grave if he heard you say that! LOL! Out of curiosity, what makes you see this as a conservative film?

BevfromNYC said...

ACG - The Devil's Advocate is one of my favorite films! No offense to Andrew or LawHawk, but this is my favorite piece of dialogue in a movie (a universal truth!)not GWTW related:

Kevin Lomax: Why the law? Cut the shit, Dad! Why the lawyers? Why the law?

John Milton: Because the law, my boy, puts us into E-VER-Y-TH-ING. It's the ultimate backstage pass. It's the new priesthood, baby. Did you know there are more students in law school than lawyers walking the Earth??

BevfromNYC said...

Interesting Andrew - What I got out of Wall Street was that crime ultimately doesn't pay and "greed" isn't good, but earning lots of money ain't bad! I liked that Bud still had to go to prison, even though he did his best to redeem himself by helping the feds bring Gecko down.

Has anyone seen Wall Street 2?

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I enjoy The Devil's Advocate, though I think Pacino plays it a little over the top toward the end. And I agree with you that is a good line, especially because it's so true. Lawyers are everywhere and get involved in everything. If you wanted to control an entire nation, control the lawyers because they have a hand in everything.... and from both sides!

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I think you draw the exact message that Stone wasn't expecting. I think he was expecting that people would come away thinking, "wow those finance guys are worthless vultures, picking over corporations like they were dead, just to satisfy their own greed.... they need to be stopped!"

But the message viewers apparently actually come away with is similar to what you've said: "wow, that would be a great way to live. . . it's too bad Gekko went 'too far' but as long as you didn't go that far, that would be a great way to live. . . where do I sign up?"

And this movie did spawn (or strangely coincide) with a mass surge in the number of people going into finance, something the left whines about now -- that our best and brightest go into finance rather than engineering. I like to think that this is the greatest irony of Stone's efforts. :-)

(I have not seen Wall Street II, largely because I can't stand Shia Labeouf, but also because Stone just doesn't seem to be able to make good movies anymore, so I usually wait to see them on HBO.)

Ed said...

Interesting article! I like your reviews because you always find angles I didn't consider. I never thought about the effect of Wildman's character on the message, but it really does give you an easy out between being Gekko or not being involved at all. Well done!

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Ed, I'm glad you enjoy them. I like writing these too.

I think Wildman is almost critical to causing the "misinterpretation" that Stone runs into, because he does give the audience a third choice -- be Gekko, only redeem yourself at some point. That's like the point Bev makes about "get rich, but don't be greedy."

It also makes the world of finance more exciting, because it turns what would normally be a rather boring process of bidding and negotiation into a sort of game, which actually makes finance sound kind of fun.... if that's possible.

Anonymous said...

Good film. I saw it for the first time only a few years ago - entertaining but nothing I need to watch again anytime soon. One thought: would Gordon Gekko be as popular if Stone had cast a different actor?

This film also plays a part in one of the most hilarious movie inside jokes. In the second Hot Shots! film (which they would never make today for other reasons), Charlie Sheen and Co. are on a boat heading down a river. You hear his thoughts as he writes in his journal, which parodies Platoon. Then you cut to Martin Sheen on another boat and you hear his thoughts (Apocalypse Now). The two boats pass each other and both Sheens stand up and shout, "I loved you in Wall Street!" :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I thought about that scene from Hot Shots when I wrote this article. That was hilarious! :-)

I'm wondering if your reaction to the movie as not something you need to see again is perhaps because Wall Street was a creature of its time? When I watched it in the 1980s, it was truly dazzling. The awesome views of NYC, the cool privileged things he had and did, the cool "high tech" gadgets like the computers, the mini-television, and the cell phone.... all stuff that only a few people had, and few had seen. Today, those things look quaint as everyone has computers and cell phones, and everyone has seen things like private jets, exclusive clubs and photogenic NYC views on television. So maybe, today you just don't get how cool the images in the film really were at the time?

Also, I do think the nation was in a very different mood in 1987 than it has been the past few years, and this film really captured the sense of high-flying that was taking place in the 1980s. So maybe that element is missing for later viewers as well?

(As an aside, I often wonder about your generation and Star Wars, if you can really comprehend how totally that film grabbed the nation. It was literally all that anyone talked about for a few months.)

In terms of swapping out Michael Douglas, I think there is something to that. Douglas has the perfect combination of extreme-likability and total as~hole to play the part. If they had stuck in someone who was either more sinister or more likable, I'm not sure it would have worked.

Take Hal Holbrook for example, give him the character of Gekko instead of Lou Mannheim and I don't think people would have liked him as much. Or even a more popular actor like Harrison Ford would have been a real change in the film. Douglas truly was perfect.

Game Master Rob Adams said...

"Out of curiosity, what makes you see this as a conservative film?"

I think because it does exactly the opposite as what it intended. It makes people WANT to be corporate business types.

Game Master Rob Adams said...

Bev, I like this line. I think that this line is the one that really annoys the elite.

Lomax: "Free will... ain't it a b***"

Joel Farnham said...

Interesting review, I didn't get that out of the movie. I felt it was a sucker punch for me.

One thing stands out. The characters made fettuccine from scratch with a noodle machine. A yuppie/New York thing to do.

Another movie which I feel is closer to what happened during the 90's was "Other People's Money". Danny Devito played a Wall Street tycoon which preyed upon older, weaker companies. Danny's speech says it all. During this film, they consciously designed Danny as the devil, when in fact he was the redeemer and Gregory Peck was the villan. It actually ends up putting a good face on corporate raiders.

AndrewPrice said...

ACG, Good point! LOL! It really must kill Stone that people see this movie as an advertisement for going into finance! I hear he's running around claiming his point of view in the film was proven correct by Enron. Even putting aside the fact that Enron was accounting fraud and had nothing to do with Wall Street, and that Enron was a big Democratic donor, that fact that he's still trying to "prove" his film strikes me as just plain sad.

As for "free will," you bet that angers the left. They want happy conformity. . . . never gonna happen!

Unknown said...

Andrew: I was counsel for a small investment banking firm in Encino in the year Wall Street came out. The partners were trained at Drexel, Burnham Lambert under the tutelage of the man that the character Gordon Gekko was partially modeled after. Ivan Boesky gave a speech at my alma mater (UC Berkeley) the year before that gave the producers the Gekko line "greed is good." I gotta tell ya, much of the evil portrayed by Douglas wasn't pure fiction. But successful capitalism is not really based on greed. It's based on enlightened self-interest. The profit-motive is not evil so long as its purpose is not intentionally to harm someone else. A successful capitalist who plays by the rules benefits everyone.

So when I saw the movie, I was busy trying not to yell at the screen about the phony portrayal of the poor hardworking, innocent union members and the beneficent leadership. You wanna see greed? Join a union. Part of the reason Stone's message got out, the wrong way, is many of the viewers have been stuck in unions that rewarded sloth and punished success.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, What kind of sucker punch? You mean that it was a set up to make Gekko and his type bad guys?

In terms of the pasta, yeah, Wall Street was very yuppie. I think the idea was that good old blue collar Bud Fox had entered a corrupt world of yuppies and rich people and it corrupted him. Unfortunately for Stone, too many people kind of liked the world Fox moved into. . . and soon we were flooded with yuppies (though I don't credit this film with causing that plague).

Other People's Money was a good film too, though it didn't have the impact Wall Street did. I have spent many hours in economic/law classes learning about corporate raiders and I can tell you that the view given in Wall Street is 100% wrong. The real bad guys in the corporate raiding scenarios are typically the bloated management teams who do nothing but build fiefs, absorb salary and protect themselves with golden parachutes and poison pills.

Another film that I really liked that touched upon this was Barbarians At the Gate. It was leftward biased, but it was a fun film and a good deal more accurate about how the corporate culture compares to the raiders.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I couldn't agree more. It bothered me for years that so many on the right embraced the "greedy is good" line because that's not accurate. Greedy implies an irrational desire to get more than you truly want or need -- kind of like a sickness that implies a willingness to do wrong to satisfy some craving to hoard.

Capitalism works on enlightened self-interest, not greed. Greed does not account for working with others, self-interest does. Greed does not account for making rational decisions about costs v. benefits, self-interest does. Greed implies a sort of mania, self-interest does not. I wish that more people on the right had drawn that distinction rather than taking he short hand approach and saying, "yeah, if you see greed as self-interest, then greed is good."

I also agree about the unions. In my dealings with unions, their leadership has almost always been corrupt, misguided and highly self-interested. It's rare that they were more interested in their membership. But Stone wasn't going to slander the unions, especially as unions were dying in 1987 (and still are today).

Game Master Rob Adams said...

Andrew, then the unions have the longest death scene in all of Hollywood.

Tennessee Jed said...

My youngest son graduated from the Hill School in Pottstown, Pa. One of their most notorious (and controversial) graduates was Oliver Stone. Of all his films, I liked (in no particular order) On Any Given Sunday, Platoon, JFK, and Wall Street.

I think Stone may have started out as more of a standard issue anti-Vietnam war Democrat. I believe as he has gotten older and richer, he has not only become more immune to criticism, but by being part of Hollywood, he has drifted much further left as well as coming largely unhinged.

While not truly doubting your assessment of his motives in making Wall Street, I might tend to be ever slightly more charitable to the younger Stone. Wall Street is pure capitalism. In no other way can an economy raise so much venture capital so quickly. That said, like Bush, I am pro-business but not always pro Wall Street. So much pressure is placed on C.E.O.'s and boards to manage to the short term stock price rather than thwe long term good of the company. That is the trade-off. Wall Street is all the best and worst tendedncies of capitalism writ large.

One could argue the film was not a wholesale condemnation of Wall Street per se, but rather a cautionary tale. Money brings power which can corrupt if your head is not scewed on straight. As I continue to write this quasi-impassioned defense of "Ollie," I am starting to laugh out loud at myself. Sorry, he is essentially just another asshole. I'll stop writing now.

AndrewPrice said...

ACG, They do. Year after year, they get fewer and fewer -- only 12.3% of US employees belong to a union now, and half of those are government employees. And that's despite laws that encourage unionization, like the Davis Bacon Act.

If the trend keeps going the way it's going in the US, unions will be all but extinct outside of the government within the next 50 years. (Europe is different.)

Game Master Rob Adams said...

I used to work for Food Lion, a grocery store here in the South as a stock boy. They were actually fairly decent to work for and their one rule was NEVER talk about unions. I had worked there for about a year and we had a distributon center in Greencove. Greencove is a small town about an hour and a half from where I worked in the rural community of Keystone Heights, Fl. One day they just closed it and moved all the distribution to the stores from Jacksonville. Later I found out that some manager of the warehouse had started a petition at the distribution center to unionize. I though it was a very smart move on the part of the Food Lion owners.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, LOL! That was funny!

In terms of capitalism v. Wall Street, I agree with you that the two are not synonymous. I think Wall Street's interests are not aligned with actual stockholders -- but then neither are most management teams' interests either. I would honestly like to see a re-write of the rules to (1) make it harder to stop takeovers or dump management, but (2) make it less profitable for investment firms to play these games, and (3) eliminate the special insider advantages that the large players on Wall Street get. I am particularly troubled by microtrades, which are nothing more than gaming the system and serve no purpose other than enriching investment banks, and by the blatant dishonesty and conflicts of interest in the Wall Street community that give them a huge advantage over average investors.

So don't think that I'm giving Wall Street a clean bill of health, I am definitely not. I just reject Stone's criticism, which is completely ignorant of economics and is based on politics rather than reality.

You may be right that Stone's problem is that he's gotten corrupted by becoming rich and powerful. There is no doubt that his earlier films were better than his later films, and I don't know if he just lost his touch or if he started playing by different rules? Ironically, I actually get the feeling that his films are becoming less political -- or at least less sharp. Consider, for example his 9/11 movie World Trade Center or his Bush film W -- both were just dull. It's like he either had no point or was afraid to make it. He was much better at spinning conspiracies as he did earlier in his career.

In calling this possibly his finest film, I was debating about Platoon, which may be better. Hard to tell.

Joel Farnham said...


Greed is good. It is enlightened self-interest. Milton Friedman said it best on Donohue. This was back when Donohue had people on his show who disagreed.

Capitalism takes the greed factor and turns it into a productive force. Socialism utilizes the greed factor of the non-productive to suck out the marrow of the productive. Also Socialism has the temerity to call the productive greedy when they protest the theft of the fruits of their labor. Stone ripped this apart. I felt sucker-punched.

AndrewPrice said...

ACG, Walmart has done the same thing, closing stores rather than allowing unions to take hold. I'm honestly not opposed to unions in principle, but in practice they are almost always bad for customers and bad for the business.

When I worked for the government, I saw the problem the unions created. And it had to do with the fact that you just couldn't fire anyone and they had all these rights. We actually had specific rights about how much floor space our offices had to be, and it depended on your GS rating. Ridiculous! And since they couldn't fire people, that meant that the lazy simply settled in and never did anything, which meant that cases would sit around for years waiting to be resolved and that everyone else in the office would need to pick up the slack. That creates a poisonous environment both within the agency and between the customers and the agency. And I've seen similar things every time I've run into unions.

I'm not saying that all management is good -- far from it. But once you make it impossible to get rid of the bad apples, everything rots.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, Uncle Milty was my favorite!

My issue is with the word "greed" itself, not the concept. The word greed is a loaded word with a lot of negative connotations. When people use it, they imply much more than enlightened self-interest, they imply an irrational desire to hoard and to take from others.

It's the same thing with a word like "extremist." Extremism may be a good thing, when the extreme is a principled stand. But the word is loaded to imply violent and crazy.

Capitalism is good at using greed by rewarding those who will strive to fulfill their desires, but it does a lot more than that -- by getting people to make the decisions that best achieve their wants and needs (be they greedy or altruistic or something in between), it establishes a fairly smooth market of consumers and producers, who can work together to make each other happy.

Socialism, on the other hand, use the idea of greed as a way to label and punish those who would try to achieve more than some sort of "agreed upon" average by taking everything they make above that average and giving it to those who don't work. You could call the below average group greedy (i.e. greedy for leisure time and covetous of other's possessions), but I prefer just plain lazy and envious.

Anonymous said...

Andrew -

I don't think the time period had anything to do with my reaction to the film. Remember, I might be 27 but I love tons and tons of classic movies that take place in all kinds of time periods. And personally, I enjoy certain vintage styles and elements in older films (men who wear hats, WPA-style posters, and that sort of thing - though those are even older than the 80s).

At the end of the day, I simply don't feel the need to watch many films more than once. But this is counterbalanced by films that I own on DVD or Blu-Ray and watch all the time (I think it's that time of the month to watch Airplane! again). :-)

Re: Star Wars, someone in LA asked me this and I told him that my generation might be the last generation to appreciate that sort of thing. Of course, young children love Star Wars but it's not the same for them and I think that's due to a few factors, including the crowded marketplace where new blockbusters are being released every week, technology which allows people to read spoilers and view trailers and other materials (as opposed to waiting for next month's Starlog with baited breath), etc.

Let's face it... today's marketplace is saturated with this kind of thing and society moves so fast that a movie comes out and in one week, we've moved on to the next one. And it doesn't help that most movies aren't as good as Star Wars (or similar films of that vintage).

In my lifetime, the closest I've seen to Star Wars mania would be Titanic, (maybe) the Lord of the Rings films, and Avatar, though the only reason Avatar was hyped up was because of the technology used to make it. (I'd love to see you review it one day!)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I would venture to say that the last three films that really had the same kind of impact Star Wars did were Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Nothing after that really struck me as having the same impact with the public, and I think you're right about the reasons.

In this day and age, there are too many choices for everyone to become so focused on one film or one television show. When I saw Raiders we waited in line for 3 hours as the line wrapped halfway around the mall. I haven't seen lines like that since, nor have I heard people talking about the new film in grocery store lines, or fighting each other for toys, etc. etc.

Also, with the amount of information, it's almost impossible to go into a movie "blind" these days, which is too bad. Even when you try not to hear anything, you still get pieces on the news, in ads, on the radio, etc.

I often watch movies multiple times, but I tend to use them as white noise as I do something with my computer unless they were particularly good.

Avatar. Hmm. Avatar is going to be a problem. I've tried to watch it twice now and I got so bored both times that I gave up on it. It felt a lot like 2012 to me.... long, dull, pointless, vehicle for effects. If I ever make it through it, I'll review it.

Tennessee Jed said...

I would go with platoon. As much as he did to marginalize or demonize the career gung ho guys, I know from long talks with a buddy of mine that the events and attitudes depicted were hardly unrealistic as to what went down over there.

If Wall Street had left out the Marty union good guy role, I might have not gone that way, though.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Platoon is on my list of films to review. It's another one of those that backfired. I truly believe that Stone's intent was to demonize the military -- it's got all kinds of comments about officers, career soldiers, racism, the nobility of the Vietcong, etc. But it turned into such a good movie and it came out at the right time that it truly proved cathartic for the nation and it was so embraced by Veterans that it really got us over our "Vietnam Syndrome."

And combined with a renewed faith in our military, it helped dig us out of the world in which Nixon/Carter left us, where we had all but given up on being able to use our military.

Plus, it is an excellent films, with great acting, and it upped the game and became the template for modern war films. Gone were the days of 5 guys holding rifles and nothing more as then ran zig zags around the field as fake explosions followed them, and in their place came a much more realistic war film.

Individualist said...

"it’s ok to be Gekko to get rich so long as we eventually do something noble with the money. . . at some point."

Andrew... why say this? Are you trying to justify George Soros life story.. oh wait you are saying this is a bad thing ... Sorry!

Wall Street was OK but it was never one of my favorotes because it had no real message for me.

For me the best Conservative busines film was Other People's Money and the speech Devito made was classic. He takes all the phony accusations that are made against the Wall Street financier and shows that he is the One that is really on the side of the Angels. Also the message is positive. Because of him the company quits making wires that will e3ventually be replaced by Fiber Optics and turns around and makes air bags.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Wall Street has a conservative message, not at all -- it's crawling with liberal messages. What I'm saying is that this was a movie that wanted to be the ultimate attack on Wall Street, Reagan and Capitalism. But it failed miserably because it made the lifestyle too enticing.

Other People's Money had a much more pro-capitalist message and was much more honest about financiers and corporate raiders and what they do. But it didn't have nearly as much influence in the culture as Wall Street and it not nearly as well known.

Individualist said...

No I get your point Andrew ....

and I agree, it's jsut that OPM seemed so much more real to me than Wall Street. Wall Street felt surreal and I could not really envision it. OPM fet real to me ansd it is the movie that "should" have had the influence.

I do think that your description of the "good" capitalist really points out that Stone was trying to put Soro into his movies. Soros being a guy convicted in France for illegal trading in absentsia who is now a "good" guy because he funds media matters and all things socialist. I think you have mailed was Stone was trying to do.

Probably had a lot of rich liberal friends he wanted to give a pass. Funny how the right ideology can justify prior acts of greed huh!

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