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… is a little tricky. Sure, you’re promoting yourself, making yourself look interesting, etc. But you don’t want to go too far. You don’t want to look like a braggart.

Of the many home pages UD has read, none has come anywhere near that of Jonathan Sacks for throwing humility – even faux humility – to the winds and beyond. Sacks, a rabbi, has in the past lamented that

Humility is the orphaned virtue of our age… Humility — true humility — is one of the most expansive and life-enhancing of all virtues … True virtue never needs to advertise itself. That is why I find the aggressive packaging of personality so sad. It speaks of loneliness, the profound, endemic loneliness of a world without relationships of fidelity and trust. It testifies ultimately to a loss of faith…

So let’s see… On his home page, Sacks introduces himself as a “moral voice for our time.” He quotes “H.R.H. The Prince of Wales” calling him “a light unto this nation.” He quotes Tony Blair calling him “an intellectual giant.”


As a moral voice for our time, Sacks has a whole lot to say about, well, morality. Pages and pages and pages on how we should live, what’s good, what’s bad. He obviously takes his moral voice for our time gig very seriously.

And yet beyond the perhaps small matter of his hypocrisy in regard to humility, there’s the more pressing matter of where he gets his money.

His academic position is funded by Ira Rennert. Sacks is the Ira Rennert Professor of whatever. And Ira Rennert has just been for the second time found guilty of looting one of his businesses to pay for a personal residence so psychotically ostentatious (it’s the largest and most expensive private house in America – kind of the concrete embodiment of the Sacks home page) that during his first trial his lawyer “demanded that photos of it not be shown, arguing that doing so would inflame the jury.” He bought a business, forced it into bankruptcy, took all of its money, and built a house for himself with it. Two judges have told him he has to give the looted money back. Rennert will, of course, keep appealing.


Oh, and he gave some of the looted funds to Sacks.

Also to another man of heavy virtue, Joseph Lieberman, Rennert Professor of something else.

There’s a lot of other stuff about their benefactor – involving payment of taxes, industrial pollution, and eh you don’t wanna know.

And Sacks and Lieberman certainly don’t want to know. That’s their prerogative. But they should stop posing as moralists.

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