Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Resolved: It Is Immoral to Pursue Extravagant Wealth

 

800px-3D_Judges_GavelLeah Libresco is one of the most interesting writers in the blogosphere. After graduating from Yale with a degree in mathematics, she matriculated into the real world. She started a blog on the Patheos atheist channel that shot to the top of the charts. Libresco was quickly hired by the Huffington Post. She rose to prominence because of her unique way of arguing for the atheist position.

After several years of challenging believers with tough questions, Libresco shocked the blogosphere with her conversion to Catholicism. She now runs the blog Unequally Yoked and writes at FiveThirtyEight. She runs the podcast Fights in Good Faith for Real Life Radio.

I came across a review of her new book, Arriving at Amen: Seven Catholic Prayers That Even I Can Offer, at the American Conservative, and was captivated by the reviewer’s explanation of her quirky and sometimes flat-out weird theological point of view. My curiosity thus piqued, I visited Libresco’s blog, then made my way over to her podcasts, where I found the May 2 edition: What Duties Come with Wealth. It was great fun!

Libresco begins with the famous teaching of St. Basil the Great, who wrote:

When someone steals another’s clothes, we call them a thief. Should we not give the same name to one who could clothe the naked and does not? The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat unused in your closet belongs to the one who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the one who has no shoes; the money which you hoard up belongs to the poor.

Using this as a starting point, Libresco moves to a discussion of wealth as power and as opportunity. There’s no question that the rich, particularly the fabulously rich, have enormous power to influence the world by caring for the suffering, or by acquiring enormous control over the lives of their fellow human beings. A man with the wealth to feed the hungry can also enslave the masses by allowing them only a few morsels in exchange for their obedience. This is common in the third world, where corrupt and ruthless men plunder the resources of private charitable organizations and allow only a few scraps to reach the desperate mob. What greater control can any man have than a monopoly on simple survival?

On the opposite side of the coin, the rich possess the power to improve the current state of affairs by giving lavishly to the impoverished or engaging in philanthropic endeavors designed to feed the hungry or cloth the naked. Historically, the rich have been patrons of the arts, preservers of natural beauty, and promoters of literature, art, science, philosophy, and a host of other noble ventures. Of course, the misers have always been with us. Midas has long been condemned for his selfishness. But that takes nothing away from the generous rich.

As I listened, I was reminded that questions about the uses and abuses of wealth have a long pedigree. For Plato and Aristotle, wealth was only a means to the ultimate human end as a rational animal. According to these Greek philosophers, men properly pursue wealth only to the extent that they achieve sufficient comfort to allow for contemplation of the ultimate human good: maximization of the intellectual and moral virtues. Aristotle argued that wealth has only so much value as it promotes health — both material and moral. I suspect that, in the modern idiom, Aristotle would promote an upper middle-class lifestyle: It’s appropriate to have a Mercedes, but maybe not a Ferrari. I vaguely recall that in the Eudemian Ethics, he called the relentless pursuit of money swinish.

Early Christian thinkers often came down on the side of St. Basil. Taking their cue from Jesus, they argued that archetype of the good Christian wealthy man was his willingness to sell his goods, give them to the poor, and follow Him. This didn’t necessarily mean that a Christian was prohibited from becoming rich. After all, Joseph of Arimathea was rich, and he is praised in the Gospel’s for his unselfish act of donating his elaborate tomb to Jesus. The question for a rich Christian is whether he is sufficiently detached from the world that the surrender or loss of his wealth would still leave him blessed.

St. Augustine famously said, “Happy the man who has everything he desires, provided he desires nothing amiss.” One way to interpret Augustine is to apply moral rules to his declaration. For example, we might criticize a man who spends his money on concubines because promiscuity is a consequence of lust, and lust is one of the deadly sins. But we might also consider Augustine’s admonition as a condemnation of excess concern for money as money. To use a modern example, Augustine might have seen the collection of high priced cars as something amiss: a form of idolatry.

In medieval times, great attention was placed on the dangers of excess, especially to the political and legal system. Averroes saw the rise of greed as a danger to the community because — and we see this in our day — wealth can corrupt even the best of men, and they will often use their power to subvert the law, and even impoverish the people, in a search for greater and greater wealth and power.

Aquinas followed Aristotle to some extent by explain that wealth is merely a means to man’s highest good which is blessedness or holiness. For Aquinas, as for Aristotle, wealth was largely a utilitarian tool for achieving perfection, and the pursuit of money for the sake of ever-greater material satisfaction was a dead end for human beings created in the image and likeness of God. Indeed, immoderate pursuit of money may kill the soul:

Whereas in the desire for wealth and for whatsoever temporal goods, the contrary is the case: for when we already possess them, we despise them, and seek others: which is the sense of Our Lord’s words (John 4:13): “Whosoever drinketh of this water,” by which temporal goods are signified, “shall thirst again.” The reason of this is that we realize more their insufficiency when we possess them: and this very fact shows that they are imperfect, and the sovereign good does not consist therein.

Like Augustine and Basil, Aquinas viewed the ownership of property as provisional. Once a man has earned enough to satisfy his needs and acquire appropriate comforts, the rest of his fortune is owned by the poor. The man of means is, therefore, merely a trustee for his suffering brethren. Calvin is reported to have said, “Wealth is like manure; it works best when it is spread, but stinks when it is in one big pile.”

With the dawn of the Enlightenment, the classical view of wealth as solely a means to a higher end was reevaluated, especially by John Locke. The acquisition of property was no longer a mere means to an end, but a component of happiness itself. I don’t want to overstate Locke’s case, especially since it’s been years since I’ve read any of his books, but the famous phrase that man’s rights were “life, liberty and the pursuit of property,” seems a far cry from the views of Aristotle or Aquinas.

Kant, Adam Smith, and John Stuart Mill all have interesting things to say about wealth, but, because Aristotle, the Christian thinkers, and Locke pretty much set up the problematic, I’ll gloss over them except to quote Kant’s famous line: “We are enriched not by what we possess, but by what we can do without.” I don’t know what Aristotle would say to that, but the Christian thinkers would surely agree.

By comparing the bare bones of all the arguments about wealth found in the forgoing philosopher’s, I arrive at the question: which view is correct?

Is, as in Aristotle, the pursuit of wealth only a means to the final end of man, and hence the relentless pursuit of money and the things it buys, contrary to man’s ultimate good and therefore immoral?

Does accumulated wealth belong ultimately to others, and therefore as in Aquinas, held only in trust, which means that a preoccupation with wealth as a good in itself, immoral?

Is, as in Locke, the acquisition of wealth a good in itself?

I state these questions based on my own somewhat idiosyncratic reading of these thinkers, so the reader should feel free to argue against my interpretation — especially since I’ve not gone back to read them in detail because this post isn’t designed to be scholarly (and because I’m lazy).

I tend toward Aquinas’ view that property is a gift from God, and that life is stewardship, which requires not only the conservation of the things of the world, but also demands that whatever we have is to be used in the service of others. I would add, however, that such service comes in all shapes and sizes. While we might criticize Bill Gates for hanging on to so much wealth, we should also see that he has arguably lifted millions out of poverty, something he could not have done had he spread his earnings solely by giving them away. After all, from a purely material point of view, Gates has contributed far more to the common good than Mother Theresa.

Lastly, I must confess to an inherent hypocrisy in my position. I live a comfortable life. I have relatively few wants, so what money I have at my disposal is somewhat more than I need. I don’t give away most of my excess, and if a million dollars suddenly fell into my lap, I’d probably find more personal uses than I might give away.

I offer this post as a way to while away the weekend. If you have nothing better to do, I invite you to weigh in. If you do have better plans, you are doubly blessed.

So how about it? Is it immoral to pursue extravagant wealth?

 

 

There are 166 comments.

  1. EThompson Inactive

    So how about it? Is it immoral to pursue extravagant wealth?

    My mistake; I thought I’d signed up and paid to join a conservative site, not Huff Po, Slate or Salon.

    And no, property is not a gift from God; the freedom to pursue wealth is the true endowment.

    • #1
    • August 14, 2015, at 8:05 PM PST
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  2. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive

    Gonna have to sit this one out.
    But the answer is no.

    • #2
    • August 14, 2015, at 8:14 PM PST
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  3. Hammer, The Member

    One of the things I most dislike, Liz, is when conservatives buy into the leftist notion that liberals hold a corner on the market for compassion, and thereby fall into their largely false stereotypes.

    The question is a very interesting one, Mike. I agree in large part, except in some of the formulations of fact. Yes, greed is bad, and blind persuit of wealth is certainly bad. But it would be foolish to think that selling your belongings and giving the money to the poor would actually help the poor. All of the quoted writers were writing during a time when poverty came about for far different reasons than it does in the American economy, so I don’t think their wisdom can translate directly. Some updating of the law of the horse is necessary… For instance, I think we can all agree that government welfare trends to serve only to maintain the poor, not to lift them up.

    (Typing on phone, but will add more in a bit)

    • #3
    • August 14, 2015, at 8:29 PM PST
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  4. RightAngles Member

    Didn’t St. Augustine also say, “Lord, make me chaste, but not yet”? Never mind. I’m with Ryan M.

    • #4
    • August 14, 2015, at 8:43 PM PST
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  5. Jimmy Carter Member

    Who’s to decide what is “extravagant wealth[?]”

    One day a vagrant walked up to Me and asked if I had any change to spare.

    I replied,”Give Me Yer shoes.”

    “What?”

    “Give Me Yer shoes.”

    “What foe?”

    “You give Me Yer shoes, I give You some change. And when You can pay Me back, I’ll give You Yer shoes back. That’s how Our world works.”

    He didn’t take Me up on the exchange. I tried to teach a Man how to fish….

    • #5
    • August 14, 2015, at 8:50 PM PST
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  6. Carey J. Inactive

    Ayn Rand said it best.

     “So you think that money is the root of all evil?” said Francisco d’Aconia.”Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?

    “When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the effort of others. It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money. Not an ocean of tears nor all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of paper, …, are a token of honor – your claim upon the energy of the men who produce. Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world around you there are men who will not default on that moral principle which is the root of money. Is this what you consider evil?

    • #6
    • August 14, 2015, at 8:52 PM PST
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  7. Carey J. Inactive

    Jimmy Carter:Who’s to decide what is “extravagant wealth[?]”

    One day a vagrant walked up to Me and asked if I had any change to spare.

    I replied,”Give Me Yer shoes.”

    “What?”

    “Give Me Yer shoes.”

    “What foe?”

    “You give Me Yer shoes, I give You some change. And when You can pay Me back, I’ll give You Yer shoes back. That’s how Our world works.”

    He didn’t take Me up on the exchange. I tried to teach a Man how to fish….

    Build a man a fire and you warm him for a night. Set a man on fire and you warm him for the rest of his life.

    • #7
    • August 14, 2015, at 8:54 PM PST
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  8. EThompson Inactive

    It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money. 

    I would only add that fiscal success requires discipline, standards, and an adherence to the law.

    • #8
    • August 14, 2015, at 9:02 PM PST
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  9. RightAngles Member

    Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and you’ll be alone on weekends.

    • #9
    • August 14, 2015, at 9:03 PM PST
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  10. Hammer, The Member

    ok, Mike, I’m back at the keyboard and can now answer at length. I’d love to be self referential, as I’ve written several things about this topic, but I don’t have nearly enough patience to sift through everything to find it!

    That said, if we choose to play to liberal stereotypes and actually extol the virtues of greed and wealth qua wealth, then we automatically lose. I say this because I believe that the Christian worldview (as espoused by several of your above-referenced authors) is correct, and that it is also engrained in us as humans. I know the atheists (as we see above) will disagree, and that is perfectly rational and correct, based on their premises.

    That said, this is much the same as the immigration debate. Immigrants built this country… obviously. But to make the leap and suggest that today’s immigrants are necessary to continue building this country is only possible if we ignore the massive changes both in the nature of those immigrants and in the nature of the country they’re coming to. Immigrants built this country when what they came to was opportunity – the number of immigrants who became emigrants was actually quite high, because what they came to included the opportunity to fail. The analogy becomes meaningless with the introduction of our welfare state.

    Likewise with poverty. When many Christian writers discussed the poor, what they were discussing was a poverty that comes about through political injustice (i.e. despotic systems) or nature (physical handicaps, deaths in the family, etc…). So, if you were born with a mental illness, you might rightly qualify as the poor, but that is because you are literally unable to look out for yourself. In that sense, I think most of us can agree that it is our duty to look after people who cannot look after themselves. But today’s poor are simply not analogous. Interestingly, I’d say that the most analogous situation we have at this time is with unborn babies…

    As for the seeking of wealth – I agree in part that it is bad. That is to say, the quest for personal wealth is hardly a moral one. If you have plenty of wealth to give to a friend or family member in actual need, and you refuse, you are not doing good by virtually anyone’s definition. That said, in our present economic system, sometimes the most good you can do on a larger scale is to help our economy grow, and it may well be that the best way to achieve that is by creating wealth. But that is much like observing that God can accomplish good through any situation – an individual who becomes wealthy by cheating others, treating people poorly, acting purely on greed, etc… is not a good individual, regardless of whatever unintentional aggregate good may result.

    • #10
    • August 14, 2015, at 9:04 PM PST
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  11. Carey J. Inactive

    More from Rand on money:

     “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.

    But when a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law – men who use force to seize the wealth of disarmed victims – then money becomes its creators’ avenger. Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they’ve passed a law to disarm them. But their loot becomes the magnet for other looters, who get it from them as they got it. Then the race goes, not to the ablest at production, but to those most ruthless at brutality. When force is the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket.

    “When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded. Do not ask, ‘Who is destroying the world?’ You are.

    • #11
    • August 14, 2015, at 9:08 PM PST
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  12. Jules PA Member

    …if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.

    For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies.

    II Thessalonians 3:10-11

    You want eat, you will work. You don’t work, you don’t eat.

    Paul goes on to say to exhort people to make the right choices, to shun them when they reject wise advice, but to treat them as brothers, not enemies.

    You Shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

    Exodus 20:17

    Don’t yearn for things, but if you do, then don’t envy others who have what you yearn for.

    You shall not steal.

    Exodus 20:15

    Translation: don’t take what is not yours.

    Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other…

    Ephesians 4:32

    Be kind, good and benevolent.

    Summary:

    Work for your food, be content with what you have, mind your own business, but share with those in need.

    I’ll note these are personal, not governmental or institutional admonitions.

    • #12
    • August 14, 2015, at 9:14 PM PST
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  13. Hammer, The Member

    @Carey, I get what Rand is saying, and I think it may apply in some circumstances, but again, it really only makes sense from an Atheist’s perspective. I can show you plenty of people who would agree “love of money is evil” but who are also exceedingly honest and exceedingly generous.

    I tend to think of Ayn Rand as a pretty good example of where you end up with humanist morality. While I agree with her in many respects, especially as I tend to lean libertarian, her wrong seems, to me, equally as wrong as her right is right.

    • #13
    • August 14, 2015, at 9:15 PM PST
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  14. EThompson Inactive

    Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil.

    Rand was so astute here because those that claim that money is evil are always the ones who can’t make it and resent those that do.

    Those are dangerous people.

    • #14
    • August 14, 2015, at 9:15 PM PST
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  15. Hammer, The Member

    Jules PA:Summary:

    Work for your food, be content with what you have, mind your own business, but share with those in need.

    I’ll note these are personal, not governmental or institutional admonitions.

    Hey… I wouldn’t mind imposing “work for your food” on my congressmen.

    • #15
    • August 14, 2015, at 9:16 PM PST
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  16. Percival Thatcher

    Someone should ask Ms. Libresco if it is moral to go through someone else’s closet and give away their clothes, or to go through their pantry and give away their food.

    Being charitable with other people’s property is the cheapest form of grace.

    • #16
    • August 14, 2015, at 9:17 PM PST
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  17. Carey J. Inactive

    RightAngles:Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and you’ll be alone on weekends.

    Teach a man to fish and he’ll sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

    • #17
    • August 14, 2015, at 9:17 PM PST
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  18. Jules PA Member

    Carey J.:Ayn Rand said it best.

    “So you think that money is the root of all evil?” said Francisco d’Aconia.”Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?

    “When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the effort of others. It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money. Not an ocean of tears nor all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of paper, …, are a token of honor – your claim upon the energy of the men who produce. Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world around you there are men who will not default on that moral principle which is the root of money. Is this what you consider evil?

    The LOVE of money is the root of all kinds of evil.

    but I might adjust,

    Those pieces of paper, …, are a token of honor – your claim to exchange with the energy of the men who produce. 

    • #18
    • August 14, 2015, at 9:19 PM PST
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  19. Hammer, The Member

    EThompson:

    “Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. “

    Rand was so astute here because those that claim that money is evil are always the ones that can’t make it and resent those that do. Those are dangerous people.

    Once again, though, I just made the point that this notion is utterly ridiculous. That is kind of like saying “only fat girls think that vanity is bad.” Well, no, vanity is objectively bad. Do you also think that those who say “money doesn’t bring happiness” are also only people who are jealous of money? Or perhaps those who say that college education is overrated are only people who couldn’t get into their first-choice schools… including, I suppose, the Yalie Rob Long?

    • #19
    • August 14, 2015, at 9:19 PM PST
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  20. Eustace C. Scrubb Member

    Proverbs 30: 7 – 9

    “Two things I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die:8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”

    • #20
    • August 14, 2015, at 9:19 PM PST
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  21. Jules PA Member

    Ryan M: Do you also think that those who say “money doesn’t bring happiness” are also only people who are jealous of money?

    well, only those who say, with a pistol in your face, “money doesn’t bring happiness, so give me some of yours.”

    The admonishment of “money doesn’t bring happiness” seems an encouragement for an individual to reconsider priorities; rather than a grant to be jealous of someone’s money, and demand your fair share.

    G-d loves a cheerful giver. He also hates a thief.

    • #21
    • August 14, 2015, at 9:28 PM PST
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  22. DocJay Inactive

    I know more ultra wealthy people than almost anyone around. They are an interesting lot, filled with energy and ideas. Many are very compassionate folks and some are first class jerks.

    The wealthy tend to pick their charities based on standards important to them. The Catholics tend the poor. I have a billionaire atheist who has donated vast sums to educate genius children. I know one who does micro loans all over the world to professionals with only their word of honor to pay it forward when they succeed in business.

    I think it’s noble to want to help the poor but it’s pointless to expect people to behave like Christ when they have amassed fortunes. Even Christ knew there would always be horrible suffering

    I was talking tonight with a builder worth a half a billion dollars. He’s brusque and brash. The last thing you’d think is that he’s a softie for vets but I was shooting with one recently who teared up discussing this builder. Hobbling about on his fake legs he discussed how this man took a special interest in injured vets, going to extraordinary lengths to help our wounded patriots. No press. No gold medals. Nothing but word of mouth from those he’s helped.

    To answer you directly, nobody has an obligation to give any of their money away. The ultra wealthy who do good things with their money ought to be commended and the misers not admired. As far as what is biblically correct , we Christians and religious all have an obligation to be kind and help people in need. Divesting of nearly everything is something I’ll leave to the saints and martyrs though.

    • #22
    • August 14, 2015, at 9:31 PM PST
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  23. Hammer, The Member

    Ryan M:

    EThompson:

    “Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. “

    Rand was so astute here because those that claim that money is evil are always the ones that can’t make it and resent those that do. Those are dangerous people.

    Once again, though, I just made the point that this notion is utterly ridiculous. That is kind of like saying “only fat girls think that vanity is bad.” Well, no, vanity is objectively bad. Do you also think that those who say “money doesn’t bring happiness” are also only people who are jealous of money? Or perhaps those who say that college education is overrated are only people who couldn’t get into their first-choice schools… including, I suppose, the Yalie Rob Long?

    … and I suppose it would be a bit cumulative to point out that the author of this post is himself a retired litigator, and not likely one who retired destitute (as he points out in the body of the post). Rand’s observation is not that anyone who espouses the Christian teaching must necessarily be “jealous poor,” but is actually far more cynical (except inasmuch as she seems to operate in a world where religion doesn’t exist); that people who say “love of money is evil” are only people who want to steal your money. This is why I think she’s made a somewhat interesting observation, as she is certainly describing an existing sort of person (who we’ve probably all met – I’ve written about similar rhetorical tricks with car salesmen… or a women I recently met who made the offhand comment that hours at her job – office depot – were tied to “how many protection plans we can sell,” in other words, convincing people to buy things they don’t need). Ironically, she is observing the very attitude that the Christian notion of “love of money is the root of all evil” is describing, essentially making the exact same point… although she doesn’t seem to know it.

    • #23
    • August 14, 2015, at 9:34 PM PST
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  24. RightAngles Member

    I’m not a Humanist but I like Ayn Rand. She turned me from a Liberal to a Conservative in my 20s.

    • #24
    • August 14, 2015, at 9:35 PM PST
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  25. Hammer, The Member

    DocJay:Divesting of nearly everything is something I’ll leave to the saints and martyrs though.

    Martyrs, maybe, but not likely worthy of sainthood (except if their focus lies elsewhere, a la Francis Assisi). Divest of everything and you have nothing left to give. Your friend who helps the vets is doing far more lasting good, and is embodying Christ by understanding the message behind something that was not intended to be taken literally. Virtually all of us simply know a kind person when we see him.

    • #25
    • August 14, 2015, at 9:38 PM PST
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  26. Jules PA Member

    Carey J.: Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce.

    I don’t disagree with this.

    It pretty much describes the world in which we live.

    Moochers

    Producers

    Looters

    The big question for anyone is to determine: “Which one will I choose to be?”

    • #26
    • August 14, 2015, at 9:42 PM PST
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  27. Jules PA Member

    RightAngles:I’m not a Humanist but I like Ayn Rand. She turned me from a Liberal to a Conservative in my 20s.

    hehe, I love your avatar cat.

    • #27
    • August 14, 2015, at 9:43 PM PST
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  28. Jules PA Member

    Ryan M: Virtually all of us simply know a kind person when we see him.

    I have to modify:

    “when we see him act.”

    You can’t always tell by looking, or even hearing them speak.

    • #28
    • August 14, 2015, at 9:44 PM PST
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  29. Hammer, The Member

    Jules PA:

    Carey J.: Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce.

    I don’t disagree with this.

    It pretty much describes the world in which we live.

    Moochers

    Producers

    Looters

    The big question for anyone is to determine: “Which one will I choose to be?”

    well – the other question is whether your status in any of those camps removes your other moral obligations. Isn’t that the Liberal’s vanity? I supported Obamacare, so I can ignore the local poor? I am “tolerant” because I voted against prop-8, so I can actively discriminate against people who disagree with me?

    Knowing that the free-market economy contributes to overall enrichment and does more to alleviate poverty than any other system known to man does not relieve those of us with that knowledge of the obligation to be decent, kind, human beings. Keep in mind that Adam Smith also wrote “Theory of Moral Sentiments.”

    • #29
    • August 14, 2015, at 9:47 PM PST
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  30. DocJay Inactive

    RightAngles. Teach a man to fish and you’ll support an entire industry.

    • #30
    • August 14, 2015, at 10:02 PM PST
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