In wake of John Arnold op-ed, Benjamin Soskis notes interaction-- even antagonistic-- "between public and their benefactors" is sign of healthy civic debate.
"Last month, readers of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the trade journal of the nonprofit world, were treated to a memorable op-ed. It was written by John Arnold, a 40-year-old former Enron natural-gas trader and hedge-fund founder who, with his wife, ranked third on the 2013 list of the nation’s most generous benefactors. [The piece] went on to document the 'intensely personal public attacks' Arnold had endured in retaliation for his contributions to the causes of education, criminal justice, and pension reform.... It’s always a bit uncomfortable to see a private citizen taking his knocks in the public square. We probably shouldn’t take much pleasure in the spectacle. Yet in the midst of this latest Gilded Age, as the prerogatives of concentrated wealth march onwards with little resistance, an aggressive—even at times an antagonistic—engagement between the public and their benefactors shouldn’t be considered a mark of incivility. It should be considered a democratic imperative." --Benjamin Soskis, the Atlantic