Country Living Series

Monday, March 18, 2013

The leper's bell of an approaching looter

A reader left a comment on the Let's Abolish Money post to wit: "The Francisco D'Anconia Speech on Money should be mandatory reading in all high schools... If you've not yet read it -- stop everything you're doing now -- and READ IT."

This speech is found in Ayn Rand's book Atlas Shrugged, which I've never read (heresy, I know). So I googled the speech and found the text located here. And oh my, this reader is correct: if you want a succinct and excellent analysis of the nature of money, READ IT. It's very long and absolutely golden.

Just a few paragraphs here and there...

"Let me give you a tip on a clue to men's characters: the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it."

"Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper's bell of an approaching looter. So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another – their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun."

"You stand in the midst of the greatest achievements of the greatest productive civilization and you wonder why it's crumbling around you, while you're damning its life-blood – money. You look upon money as the savages did before you, and you wonder why the jungle is creeping back to the edge of your cities. Throughout men's history, money was always seized by looters of one brand or another, but whose method remained the same: to seize wealth by force and to keep the producers bound, demeaned, defamed, deprived of honor. That phrase about the evil of money, which you mouth with such righteous recklessness, comes from a time when wealth was produced by the labor of slaves – slaves who repeated the motions once discovered by somebody's mind and left unimproved for centuries. So long as production was ruled by force, and wealth was obtained by conquest, there was little to conquer. Yet through all the centuries of stagnation and starvation, men exalted the looters, as aristocrats of the sword, as aristocrats of birth, as aristocrats of the bureau, and despised the producers, as slaves, as traders, as shopkeepers – as industrialists."

"To the glory of mankind, there was, for the first and only time in history, a country of money – and I have no higher, more reverent tribute to pay to America, for this means: a country of reason, justice, freedom, production, achievement. For the first time, man's mind and money were set free, and there were no fortunes-by-conquest, but only fortunes-by-work, and instead of swordsmen and slaves, there appeared the real maker of wealth, the greatest worker, the highest type of human being – the self-made man – the American industrialist."

Yep, an absolutely wonderful passage. Go read the whole thing.


  1. Patrice, are you serious you have never read it? Oh man. What a fantastic book. Esp for us business owners. I am partial to the speech by the pirate, Ragnar Danneskjold. He talks about riding the world of the legacy of Robin Hood. The man who stole from the productive rich and gave to the thieving poor. He is remembered as the champion of need. Worth the week or two it takes to read it.
    Jani Jeane

  2. Too bad that what we have for 'money' these days is virtually worthless, backed by thin air. F R prints it and the IRS sucks up what doesn't get 'spent' for entitlements.

  3. My only issue with that was by today's standards what many of us call money was not what Francisco's character was referring to. Money of a tangible non-manipulated source of wealth is not evil, however FIAT currency manipulated as it is today can be referred to as evil and the person doesn't have to be a looter to say so.

    1. "...and you cry that money corrupted him. Did it? Or did he corrupt his money? "

      Money is money is money. It is an inanimate object, capable of doing no good nor evil of its own, regardless to its origins.


    2. Sorry but your wrong. FIAT cash is not truly money.

    3. OK. You're right. I concede. As my punishment, send me all of your fiat cash and I will see that it gets properly disposed of.

      My point was not to set up an argument about fiat currency. The point is in the speech that the the man is the source of corruption/evil. Not his money.


    4. If I sent you all the fiat cash I have on hand you wouldn't get much more than postage due. My point is not that Francisco wasn't implying that money isn't evil. I would agree to a point. My point is that true money or wealth cannot be created from thin air like ours is today and still be considered money in the true sense.

  4. Fransisco's speech is my husband's favorite part of the book. Glad you had a chance to read it Patrice!

  5. I first read Ayn Rand as a teenager, and have read Atlas Shrugged more than once. I've long felt it should become a mandatory part of school curricula beginning at the 4th grade level.

    I can also recommend 'For the New Intellectual' for those new to Ms. Rand's work. It draws from her major novels and is a great introduction to her philosophy and values, and is a relatively quick read for busy folks.

    Thank you for posting this, Patrice.


  6. Ayn Rand was an atheist. So. No spirituality in her make-up at all. That's a pretty systemic blight on the 'philosophy' from which you're cherry-picking. Have you seen the photo of Ayn (--wasn't that the name of Mary's mother?) wearing her huge diamond-studded dollar-sign brooch? (i.e. a literal dollar-sign shaped diamond-studded brooch) (I wonder if Anne had anything similar, that she might convey a similar social message?) So tasteful, I've always thought. So. Is an hour of a "doctor"s time worth more MONEY than an hour of a "toilet-cleaner"s, or, indeed, "your" time? The doctor has already been COMPENSATED -- by God -- with a mind that, at least in theory, because after all, one has to be so smart to be a "doctor", right?, is already so much more privy to the -- unearned! -- RECOMPENSES of the mind: poetry, art, spiritual perception -- that it's fair to say that no matter how hard, and earnestly, and piously, and respectfully-of-his/her-betters, that toilet-cleaner scrubs, she/he is not ever going to be REMUNERATED -- with MONEY, that can so usefully purchase diamond brooches: a use one might fruitfully ponder as a spiritual indicative of the purchaser; and by vast possession of which our so charming species measures social worth and utility -- one trivial fraction of the amount the doctor receives! And we've all had experiences of how innately ethical "doctors" are, right? Surely the toilet-cleaner values his/her own life at just the same value as the doctor values her/his (that doctor's) own -- or as you do yours! Why, then, are we RECOMPENSED unequal amounts of MONEY for equal amounts of our equally valued, to ourselves, *lives*; and for work equally necessary to the smooth functioning of our common society; for God's literal sake!? I seem to remember a story in the Bible about a widow's mite being more sincere than a Pharisee's basket of gold. Surely then the labour of the humble is equally dear to God as the labour of the more able.

    Any exaction from the social contract by any individual of an amount of our -- the entirety of us' -- common goods, in excess of the necessaries of life and a -- small, and available to all -- amount of comforts, on the basis of unequal, God-given, gifts of birth -- is spiritual graft.

    Funny. I read Ayn Rand when I was young and the only image I remember from all those dubiously worthy books is that of some clown climbing up naked through a window, with a hard on, and cohabiting with a (if memory serves) married woman, which behaviour Rand exalted, by her definition of the sacrosanct. You sure are some funny Christians. You'd do far better to read Gerrard Winstanley than Ayn Rand.

    1. I haven't said this as clearly as I wanted to. If you will read the end of the sentence with all the capitals in it, as, "one trivial fraction of the remuneration the doctor has already received gratis!", my intention will be more clear. I have a major problem with very able people exploiting God's gifts to intentionally create social division and misery-by-comparison. If you had even one week's real contact with the 'monied' classes, you'd find a viciously entrenched 'entitlement' mindset far more socially destructive than that of the welfare classes you constantly trash.

    2. "Ayn Rand was an atheist."

      Yes, and the fact that good Christians can celebrate her ideas despite that fact is yet another proof of our diversity and acceptance of thought.

      I am happy that Ms. Rand from her hard work was able to purchase that diamond brooch. Think of the jeweler that was able to improve his life as a result. And the miners, and the silversmiths and the trucking companies, etal. I bet some of them were even able to hire a toilet cleaner!

      "The doctor has already been COMPENSATED -- by God..."

      Does God compensate him for the YEARS of expensive .gov education? How much training does the toilet cleaner need? What is toilet cleaner's liability if he does a poor job or makes a mistake? Doctor's fees were much more in line before the government started tinkering with the system - trying to make it more "fair".

      "...the only image I remember from all those dubiously worthy books is that of some clown climbing up naked through a window, with a hard on..."

      It this is all you can remember (and it obviously is)...perhaps it is time for some serious introspection,...and a cold shower.


    3. I hail from a midwestern town where the local plumber is six times wealthier than the physican. Waaaaay back when, he was listed as a multimillionaire who intended on establishing each of his six children as millionaires themselves.

      Your example reeks of communism.

      I am a Christian and I have read Atlas Shrugged. I do not own, nor have I read any of her other novels. Despite her atheism, the message of the book is spot on and we are living it right now. How am I to have a problem with that? What does her other novels have to do with this one?
      Many people are named Anne, my middle name is Ann. What does Ayn have to do with Mary? I am going to presume you mean Jesus's mother.

      I guess it speaks volumes about you, that what you remember about her works is what you wrote in your last paragraph and wherein you attempt to belittle Christians who have read Atlas Shrugged.


    4. LOL!!

      You seem to be a very confused and judgmental

      In other words you appear to be a dyed in the wool Leftist, with a capitol L.

      And it's no doubt a waste to inform you Ms. Rand earned her way out of communist Russia and later through college scrubbing toilets.

      You can front yourself off as a Christian, but it won't make you one any more than sitting in a refrigerator will make you a jug of orange juice.


  7. Just for the sport of it, google cluborlov and read the post for Tuesday, January 8, 2013, "The Image of the Enemy". Be sure to read all the comments, too.

  8. Rand was an Atheist, and pro abortion. She hated organized religions, including Christianity. The irony is hilarious. That Christians are cherry picking her ideas, when she criticized them for always cherry picking the bible the same way!

  9. My father was a man of many contradictions: An avowed Deist who continually read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and made it the guiding principle of his life. A man who didn't care for material things or to work too hard, who put in 60 hours a week as a coal miner and created a warm and comfortable and paid-off home. A socialist who thought about what he could give (and read quite a lot of Ayn Rand).

    One of the things he taught me, when I was a young liberal afraid of money and ashamed that we always seemed to have enough of it, was that money was neither good nor evil. Just a tool, no more or less moral in and of itself than a hammer or a tire iron.

    It's how one views it and uses it that brings "good" or "evil" to money. Work honestly to earn it, and use it to build a life and help the people around you?? Money is good. Steal it from others?? You might say money is evil, but obviously you love it. Love it so much that you make more money, and more things, the star you follow?? Money will destroy your life.

    You can use a hammer to build a house, or hang a picture, or punch a hole in someone's head. You can use a gun to defend a child, or bring home meat, or put a dying pet out of its misery, or force someone to bow to your will. A tire iron can be used to get a car back on the road, or again to force your will on someone else.

    It's a tool. It's up to us whether it's good or evil.