What is it that people are intentionally attacking with that statement? It seems to be used as a way of saying that Envy is all that people are capable of in regards to money... as if they implicitly, and arrogantly, believe that money is something that can only be taken from others or that you must keep others from taking from you.
What does this say about people, their beliefs about Value, and ultimately Truth and Spirituality? People often say that what you value, affects your heart and soul. Fine and true enough, but how often do you hear that what you don’t value, can also have a significant affect on you heart and soul?
The normally thoughtful Deep Thought is promoting "Distributionism", apparently the Catholic Church’s approved economic plan - other than his posts on it I admittedly know nothing of Distributionism, but it seems that his posts reveal much. He lists a number of well meaning points that it promotes, “You should seek to avoid middlemen, credit unions are to be preferred over banks, Avoid Usury" and sums up the error of Capitalism as “…thinking that the goal is to maximize profits with the goal of accumulating the greatest possible capital”, but in my opinion all of these points sum up to "This is what we have determined to be the best way for you to behave", rather than "Refrain from committing crime, and live your life as you see fit, knowing that you are responsible for your actions." . As far as accumulating ‘too much’ capital being a mistaken goal – the purpose of Individual Rights (the cornerstone requirement for laissez-faire Capitalism) is not to achieve Happiness, but to ensure that people are free to do so if they are capable. It is the goal of Philosophy, not economics or politics, to achieve Happiness. As advice, some may see some value in this, but as Economic Policy? However holy the intent, I can’t see any ultimate destination for these good intentions, other than a new Utopian hell on earth.
And at root here, the viewpoint that Money is the root of all evil reveals to us much about those who hold it. It is this viewpoint that valuables’ (and Values!), wealth and luxuries are just things already “out there" which are pursued only by Brutes, whose lives are focused on all that glitters, and to seek or deal in Money, is to covet that which another has. This is not just a leftist viewpoint; most conservatives hold it as well. While conservatives are wary of Governmental regulation of the economy, they too think that there is little good in either money or the economy, but are instead necessary evils, made still worse by governmental interference and power.
Money is nothing but a tool to help make your time, effort and possessions conveniently portable, and preservable. It does it by measuring out something that nearly everyone agrees is of value to them, or because it is to most others feel certain that it can be traded for what is valuable to them, something that won’t rot on the shelf but will be valuable today, tomorrow 50 years from now, and which you can be fairly certain will be as valuable today and 50 years from now, come what may. Gold, Silver, Diamonds are the most common materials that fit these parameters. The dollar that the Founding Fathers fixed as our measure of currency was 100th of an ounce of Gold.
When you, say, agree to build a table for $50, you agreed that the time, effort and materials you’d put into building that table, were pretty much equivalent to the time, effort and materials that you’d trade for ½ an ounce of gold. That common understanding simplified the lives and calculations of everyone in the civilized world. With that common agreement, you were now able to set a few dollars aside each week until you had enough to support yourself for a week, and then with just those dollars in your pocket, you could travel to another city, exchange those dollars for food and shelter instead of trying to cart perishable food and clumsy materials with you, or hoping you would be able to find someone who would want your services when you got there, before you or your family got hungry. That’s it. Yes, government’s try to muddy the waters with some smoke ‘n mirrors such as paper money, but it still doesn’t change the fact that that is all there is to it. All of finance, stocks, bonds, money lending, are nothing but more and more sophisticated ways of enabling people to trade or store their skills using a common yardstick of measurement.
So what is it about this marvelous tool which enables these abilities and freedoms, that people (you?) like to posture so righteously about condemning?
And don’t give me any BS about some people having too much of it, there is nothing in its nature that is degraded by quantity – the principle and reality of it is unchanged by quantity. Also, please don’t bother with any BS about Actors and Athletes’ being paid more than ‘valuable’ people like school teachers, etc. If my Son goes to college next year, I’ll be paying $15,000 to $40,000 for him to sit with 5 or 6 teachers, and some support staff, for 9 months.
There are NO Actors or Athlete’s who we pay nearly as much money to, as we do to a school teacher or college professor. NONE! You want to argue about that? Been to a movie lately? How much did you pay to see it? $8? $12? Of that ticket cost, how many Actors were involved in the movie? How about crew? Related services & special effects people, etc? Over what period of time did it take to make that movie? 3 months? 12 months? If you could slice a pie into that many pieces, what portion would go to the “Star’ of the movie? A Penny? Oh, they’re a superstar? Well, well then, maybe $1? Lets get extravagant and say they get $4 of that ticket price – so you’re saying that you were willing to pay mister or miz bigshot glamour person $4 for 3 to 12 months of work, so you’d be entertained for 90 minutes – my oh my, aren’t you the big spender.
Do the math for the Athlete, it’s the same deal. The only way they collect such large amounts of money a year, is because hundreds of thousands of people are willing to pay them a fraction of a penny for an hours worth of amusement. They make FAR LESS than any school teacher or college professor. And you can bet, that once someone figures out how to make a decent school teacher or college professor able to provide their services over the internet for millions of people to see – they won’t say another word about earning obscene profits.
The view that wealth is Bad and a guilty pleasure to have (and to hold), is astounding and I contend that it is entirely unsupportable. The idea that through the redistributionist (thieving) policies of 'those who know better', that they feel that they are redeemed in their own eyes, and in the eyes of their fellow citizens, and even deserve thanks from both those who 'benefit' from their criminal efforts, and even from those whom they redistribute (steal) from, is incomprehensible. In these actions there occurs no creation, no development of self responsibility for anyone’s actions, no engagement of inner and outer worlds in the creation of wealth (the only way for wealth to be created or to do any good), for anyone they ‘help’, or even within themselves.
And don’t say that it’s not the people who actually earn a living that you condemn, only those who take profits for pushing papers around that you condemn. More ignorant BS. Lets take a look at the ultimate archetype of this idea, the moneylender. A money lender doesn’t make money for pushing paper, he risks ALL the money he lends (ever hear of a bank or savings & Loan collapse? The risk is real, and it takes real skill and judgment to avoid disaster and turn the risk into profit for all) He doesn’t lend suck money out of a transaction, he makes it possible for you to live in your house years before you’ve earned enough to build it. For the loan of using his money NOW he charges… what, $0.05 cents on the dollar? 6? Maybe 7? He makes your world possible and in return he receives your spin. Fortunately he doesn’t need the little sense you may have, only your cents. As soon as you hear someone deride moneylenders (middlemen too) you can assume 2 things:
- Either they know nothing about money, and spend little time among abstract thoughts, or
- They assume you don’t know nothing about money and hope to swindle money, authority and/or power from your ignorance.
To have the opposite of Private Property, property that is claimed by all of the public, then it will be seen as something that is just there and its use will be claimed by all, but the responsibility for care and maintenance of it felt by none, to be treated as something of an afterthought. No one will have any sustained interest in its care or improvement, or a sense of responsibility for it.
Yours, Mine And Nobody's
When property is said to be "mine", not merely in possession of, but owned by a rational person, it gains an aura of worthiness in that persons eyes; psychologically, the person transfers a little piece of their self to the property, like God imbuing life into the clay of Adam – and that is not far off, it is made possible because of some portion of your time and effort – your LIFE being spent on it. Property that is private property is cared for, is improved, and also serves to establish value and regard amongst (rational) individuals in a society. Respect for your own property, requires a reciprocal respect for others property, else how could anyone manage to keep property private, unless all agreed to respect another’s claim to their own property? A society whose economy is based on money requires a society that understands and respects the rule of law – without that, it’s back to trading (and raiding) cows.
Those of a savage nature, who are violently grasping of "THEIRS!", but are covetous of that which is claimed by others; not only do they not yet have an understanding of what Private Property is and means - but I suspect that they do not have a properly developed sense of their own soul and self worth, or of how reason operates in their lives and of how their soul interacts with the world through the actions they take (or don’t take) to develop their lives. As a result, I suspect that you'll find that the development of their private selves, their conceptual, spiritual selves, their souls integration with their own mind, body and world, will be much less developed and full of contradictory desires, urges and behaviors as well.
Not having a complete & accurate experience & understanding of living their lives, is similar to a balance being removed from, or added to, a spinning wheel. Slowly but surely the wheel begins to not only spin and occasionally bounce, but to wobble from side to side, and not be able to correct itself back to true center. Soon the wobbling is pronounced and devastating to not only the wheel itself, but its bearings, axle and eventually the entire car will shake, and if not pulled to a stop, will crash to one.
And so even the oldest economic bogeyman of money lending, and what may be the well intentioned regulation of Welfare Statism, of Compassionate Conservatism, of Distributionism and "Usury is to be avoided", means that those with money to lend, who might be willing to risk a gain for a large enough return - will not, and those who might have benefited & prospered & elevated the situations of themselves and others - will not - and much wealth and potential wealth will be lost and destroyed.
Think of what must result from any policy concerning something as all pervasive to your life as Economics, which limits your freedoms and is to be enforced by the Government; which attempts to take it upon itself to force your choices into what it approves & disapproves of, is destructive to the Spirit, and removes self responsibility from it's citizens, forcing "choice" on those who, if free, would choose otherwise. I think that it must be a guarantee that eventually the citizenry will be reduced to savagery and a totalitarian state - that place where the path of good intentions so often leads.
To denigrate money and private property is to denigrate and devalue your own soul – and I think that there are many more of us out here who know that – and who know what you really are, those of you who think such rot - than you might think.
(For an excellent excavation of the “Money is the root of all evil” silliness, see Francisco's Money Speech excerpted from Atlas Shrugged, at CapMag.)