(image: buelahman.files.wordpress.com)

In response to Perry’s comment:

“Anyone who finds it necessary to self-proclaim their religious virtue should be treated with great caution”

Yes Perry, I agree – your litmus test is useful. But context is everything.

A “mask” of self proclaimed virtue in business (or, more accurately, SALES, like the spruikers we discuss here occasionally) can conceal skulduggery … in spite of the “trust me, god talks to me“.

For instance, a few years back it was novel to have someone overtly claiming in their marketing that ‘serving God and helping the poor in Fiji’ was the goal of his money-making ventures. In a charitable work context, sure, tell me all about your religion and how you’re operating to fulfil the call you feel god has placed on your life, how you are racing to shift your family to Fiji so you can help directly etc etc.

But as the raison d’etre for running property “trading workshops”, hawking your mate’s rural subdivision, or profiting from property sales to people asking for advice? Er, that sounds dodgy to me. (And not just me, apparently, judging by some recent comments.)

And when I feel cynical, or have reason to be suspicious of your loudly, repeatedly claimed, supposedly god-inspired, I’ve-turned-over-a-new-leaf “integrity” … and watch how you operate and who you partner up with … well, it sounds like a confidence-trick. It reminds me of an illusionist’s misdirection so the punters don’t notice sleight of hand.

But also of interest to me in the Lewis article is the dichotomy between the ethics of “the market” and the generally-accepted morality of (sorry to put it this way Perry) Judeo-Christian society in which many of us try to operate. You know: honesty, fair-dealing, avoiding usury.

• Where does one go in one’s head for predatory, crooked, dishonest behaviour and LIES such as Lewis points out in his Goldman Sachs article to be “OK”?
• Where does one go in one’s head to routinely publish promotional exaggeration and LIES of the sort that so-called truth-loving christians have peddled to part the naive and gullible from their cash?
• As highlighted in the discussion about Dean Letfus, Steve Goodey, Shaun Stenning and US tax liens, how does one mentally/morally shift from: ‘US tax liens are snake oil, stay away!’ to ‘Let me help you get really rich, really fast using … US Tax liens’?

The risk in making any public call or appeal for a higher standard (as Lewis does, as I do) is that it can open one to “Who the hell do you think you are to say such things?” responses and trigger a frantic search for “dirt” — real or imagined — with which to attempt to discredit the ‘critic’… which regularly happens to Aussie real estate advocate Neil Jenman. (Or attract barely-coherent, hassling threats of ‘legal action’, as David Whitburn recently experienced.)