Under capitalism, the worst thing you can do to someone is destroy their money

Imagine a million dollars dropping into your lap, all yours free and clear. It’s a nice fantasy. It would soothe a lot of my anxieties for the future, although honestly I don’t see it happening very often. It’s the kind of delusion that drives lottery ticket sales, though.

Now imagine the reverse: suddenly, you’re handed a million dollar debt. That’s a real nightmare, but it’s also a much more common occurrence. One serious health scare, for instance, and your savings are wiped out and you’ve got hospitals dunning you for huge amounts of cash for the rest of your life.

Sorry for the too-real horror moment, everyone, but now imagine a different scenario: the worst people in the world get hit with massive debt — not you, you’re safe, just a few people who deserve the most awful misery. That’s different, there’s a bit of schadenfreude mixed in with a little sympathy for the rat, and a general satisfaction that justice came through for once…but also a weird feeling that they’re going to find a way to worm out of it.

Behold, Alex Jones.

Courts in Connecticut and Texas have already ruled that Jones intentionally defamed relatives of school children killed in the mass shooting, and they have ordered Jones to pay $1.5 billion in damages.

Lopez ruled that more than $1.1 billion of those verdicts, awarded for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress, cannot be wiped away in bankruptcy. But he ruled that other parts of the verdicts, including $324 million in attorneys’ fees that were awarded as punitive damages in the Connecticut case, could possibly be discharged.

Negative $1.1 billion. That’s a sum that might weigh on one’s mind. Alex Jones deserves it.

Also, Kim Davis. Remember her?

A former Kentucky official facing a $100,000 judgment for refusing to issue a marriage license to a gay couple could have to pay an additional $260,000 to attorneys who represented the men.

Attorneys who represented a couple in successfully suing Davis for damages have requested a total of $260,084 to cover their fees and expenses.

If a judge approves the request, Davis would owe more than $360,000 as a result of the court case.

It’s only a third of a million dollars, so it’s a bit less extreme than Jones’ case, but it’s still got to burn that her sanctimony has probably erased any savings she might have.

Keep ’em coming. I like to see conspiracy theorists and judgmental Christian bigots getting their comeuppance.


  1. says

    In the Davis case, I’m sure that will hurt much more than the amount Jones has to pay. As a public service employee, I doubt Davis has that kind of money lying around. No sympathy here though. She shit in the bed and should be made to lie in it.

  2. karellen says

    a general satisfaction that justice came through for once…but also a weird feeling that they’re going to find a way to worm out of it.

    On the other hand, if (for example) Jones doesn’t worm his way out of it… how is he going to earn a billion dollars to pay the fines? Who is he going to have to scam, or rip off, or abuse for the ad revenue, to get the money to pay those non-dischargeable fines?

    Sure, if he’s already made a bunch of money via nefarious methods, confiscate it and give it to his victims. But after that… aren’t you just giving him a reason to be even more unscrupulous in order to climb out of such a deep hole?

  3. says

    As to Davis…

    (1) It’s quite rare for a civil-rights-case attorney to get their full fees-and-expenses request. It’s even more rare to collect it when the opponent is anything except The Government. (When it’s individual officials, it gets… convoluted.)

    (2) That said, it’s hard not to assume that Davis will have the equivalent of a GoFundMe page for evangelicals to provide tithes voluntary contributions for her courage in standing up for the Word of God† against the ungodly heathens. Or even just a single benefactor; it’s not hard to imagine a nefarious, shadowy fund contributed to by a cabal of televangelists making a business decision that its members will garner far more in donations from wiping out Davis’s debt to heathens (not to mention their spawn-of-Satan attorneys) than its costs them to pay off the debt.

    Sometimes quantity has a quality all its own. Add an order of magnitude and the GoFundMe approach becomes a little less plausible, while the single-benefactor possibility becomes more so. Add another, and another, and one gets to the contemptible — no, beneath contempt — Alex Jones.

    † King James “translation” only, of course. But then, veryveryvery few of these people (including the “theologians”) know much about the production of that text; I know enough to know that it’s fundamentally a fairly narrow political document at least as much as a translation.

  4. raven says

    15/09/2023 – 08:50 CDT

    Alex Jones, the controversial far-right political extremist and conspiracy theorist, has been making headlines lately for his legal troubles and massive defamation damages. According to court filings, Jones’ primary company Infowars averaged $53.2 million in annual gross revenue between 2015 and 2022.

    However, his net worth has been a subject of debate, with Jones claiming it to be no more than $5 million at his August 2022 defamation trial, while a financial forensic expert estimated that Jones and his companies were worth $135 – $270 million.

    Jones can probably pay off that $1.1 billion in non-dischargable debt…eventually.

    His net worth isn’t well known because he has been shifting assets around and hiding them any way he can. It might be as high as $270 million.

    There is a limit to how much the courts and the IRS will tolerate of blatantly illegal acts though. If Jones goes too far he could end up in prison or all of his assets could be seized to repay his victims.

    That is what Hovind did.
    He put himself in prison for income tax evasion by not dealing with the IRS.
    Normally, they just want their money and don’t want to send people to prison. Prison is a revenue loss, not a revenue gain.

  5. Akira MacKenzie says

    Imagine a million dollars dropping into your lap, all yours free and clear…It would soothe a lot of my anxieties for the future…

    Whoever said that “Money can’t buy happiness” must have been very wealthy and/or fucking clueless. All the problems in my life, namely my need to live with my father, would disappear immediately if I had just had enough to support myself.

    But no, most of the money that my labor produces is going to go to the upper class sociopath who think three martini “business lunches” served off the naked bodies of high-price call girls is somehow “work.”

  6. nomdeplume says

    “conspiracy theorists and judgmental Christian bigots” – “I’ve got them on a list and they’ll none of them be missed….”

  7. chrislawson says

    @11– Given the number of wealthy people who are miserable, soul-shrivelled growlers whose every relationship is transactional, I think it’s true that money can’t buy happiness. But it can definitely buy a way out of many causes of unhappiness.

    As Art Alexakis put it in ‘I Will Buy You a New Life’, people who think money is the root of all evil ‘never had the joy of a welfare Christmas.’

  8. lochaber says

    Wasn’t there a study done, 10-20 years back or so, that found that “happiness” did in fact correlate highly with income, up until about (I want to say at the time I read it, it was around ~$70K, but I suspect it’s north of ~$100 now…), because that was about the point where basic survival and material needs stopped being a stress on individuals. Beyond that, it’s your own individual problems that are dragging you down. But you don’t really have to worry about making rent next month, whether you can put off your vehicle’s maintenance another month or two without it breaking down, etc. You know, all that Sam Vimes economic stuff.

    Personally, I always read the “money is the root of all evil” more as a demonization of capitalism/greed/comodificationofeverything, than simply having money is “evil”, and that a lot of the evils in the world are due to people hoarding ridiculously large, unusable sums of money, and perpetrating harms on other people to further accumulate that money. Like, say people working for Amazon needing to piss in water bottles to avoid being fired, while Bezos takes recreational space flights…

  9. Kagehi says

    Yeah, but its so much better for the scammers to “allow” people to think its the money that is the problem, and not the love of it. It allows them to corrupt themselves with love of it endlessly, while convincing their victims that said money is in much safer hands if they give it all to the scammer. That even this is a contradiction never seems to compute with the victims.

    Also, like the few scattered ideas that might be useful among the rest of the BS, it is something any sensible person can derive via observation, and never did require a priest, or word from God, to figure out. Though.. again, its really convenient for some people when they can convince other people that said “wisdom” can only come from the “correct reading of this magic book only I am properly trained to understand!”