Investments and Principles

The attempts of the media to find flaws in the candidates sometimes goes a little bit too far, prompting me to say a word in defense of Mitt Romney and Sam Brownback. There are plenty of reasons to oppose these two, but the arguments made in this ABC News report are not very meaningful.

Mitt Romney owns stock in Norvo Nordisk and owns a mutual fund which has shares in Millipore through a blind trust. Both companies are involved in stem cell research. Sam Brownback owns a mutual fund which invests in Norvo Nordisk.

Even beyond the fact that the investments are in a blind trust, it is unrealistic to expect someone with a large investment portfolio to have their portfolio and political philosophy match completely, especially when investing in major corporations and mutual funds. Novo Nordisk is a major pharmaceutical company which primarily manufactures insulin and most investors would not even think in terms of stem cell research when purchasing it. Mutual funds own stock in many companies, with the composition sometimes changing after initial purchase, making it difficult for investors to know everything about every company in a fund. Investment portfolios frequently include a wide variety of stocks and mutual funds, leaving most investors with some shares in a wide variety of companies.

Owning stock in companies where someone might disapprove of some of its actions is not uncommon. My bet is that few wealthy politicians or either party would pass this test if we accept ABC’s criticism as valid.¬† If Romney or Brownback ever happened to criticize¬† an opponent for some peripheral connection to a company which is involved in stem cell research we might have an argument for hypocrisy, but otherwise this criticism is pretty meaningless.

Enemies of Reason Part 1: The Full Documentary

Recently I posted a clip on astrology from Richard Dawkins’ BBC documentary, Enemies of Reason. The full episode is below:

[google 2417786864902756106&q]