‘I’m blamed for everything, including being the anti-Christ. I wish I didn’t have so many enemies, but I take it as an indication that I must be doing something right.’
That’s George Soros, a man “under siege from all sides” for his activism and liberal views, talking to the Financial Times, which just named the 88-year-old founder of the Open Society Foundation its “Person of the Year.”
The editorial board of the London-based publication explained that its annual pick “is usually a reflection of their achievements. In the case of Mr. Soros this year, his selection is also about the values he represents.”
Those liberal values, which fly in the face of the forces of nationalism and populism spreading around the world, have made Soros a target in Vladimir Putin’s Russia and Donald Trump’s America, the Financial Times wrote.
Soros, perceived as some “master manipulator of global politics” is a favorite of conspiracy theorists, including Trump supporters and even the president himself, who’s peddled allegations Soros funded the caravan of central American migrants.
Trump also tweeted out this allegation regarding the protesters at Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing:
The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad. Don’t fall for it! Also, look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others. These are not signs made in the basement from love! #Troublemakers
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 5, 2018
“I’ve been painted as the devil,” says Soros, who was targeted with an explosive device sent to his home in October. “The fact that extremists are motivated by false conspiracy theories about me to kill hurts me tremendously.”
One Georgetown professor praised the selection:
The sheer volume of negative (largely false) criticism of Soros dulls us into a reflexive defense of his rights rather than his achievements.
But he deserves immense praise for consistently investing in freedom and against authoritarianism. Kudos @FT https://t.co/oP1BKYUsvf
— Don Moynihan (@donmoyn) December 19, 2018
Before Soros emerged as a philanthropic force, he made a killing as an arbitrage trader who’d become one of the world’s most successful speculators. He’ll forever be known as the man who bet against the British pound GBPUSD, +0.0077% in 1992, a position that netted him a profit of more than $1 billion.
“The way I came out ahead on the moneymaking is that I was as critical of my own decisions as I was of the system,” he told the FT. “I abandoned positions that didn’t work; I cleaned up on my wins and I was generally first in, first out.”
He’s doesn’t always get it right, of course. As one of the largest donors to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, he wrongly bet that the stock market would take a hit in the immediate wake of a Trump victory. Two years later, and Soros is still not a fan.
“[Trump] is his own worst enemy, a narcissist who wants the world to revolve around him and has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams,” he said.