by Nathan Barton
Liberty Tree Quotes recently had some quotes relating to liberty and money. These in turn should make us think about what we say and do.
First, we have this quote from Ayn Rand: “Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction. When money ceases to be the tool by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of men. Blood, whips and guns—or dollars. Take your choice — there is no other — and your time is running out.” The quote comes from Atlas Shrugged. It is sometimes used to support claims that being a libertarian (or an objectivist) is incompatible with Christianity. While there may be ways in which Objectivism is not in sync with Christianity (or some versions thereof), those who try to use this misquote and misremember Scripture. It is the “love of money” which Paul identifies as the “root of all kinds of evil.” Ayn’s point is very much in keeping with the concept of christian life as taught by Jesus Himself and by Paul: voluntary interaction versus coercion.
Here is the second quote, by the inimitable Star Parker, who founded CURE (Center for Urban Renewal and Education). She said, just a few months ago: “This leftist political strategy to win office and power relies on something very powerful: the desire to increase the number of Americans who are dependent on getting money that is taken from other citizens. Sadly, this strategy has worked for half a century! And now it works because Americans who are trapped in this nightmare do not want their government money taken away from them!” That applies to all of us: like Esau, we’ve sold our birthright for a bowl of beans. Our liberty for handouts. It matches with the H.L. Mencken quote from a few commentaries back: every election is an advance auction of stolen goods. It is the same trap that the Roman citizens got themselves into back before the time of Julius and his nephew.
Money IS A TOOL: like ANY tool, it can be used for evil or for good. The same knife or scalpel that can be used to perform life-saving surgery can take away life with a single stroke. The same drug that can prevent death can cause it. The same pistol that can save a woman from rape or a child from being murdered can be used to snuff out an innocent life. The same rock can be used to build a house or bash out someone’s brains. And the same money can pay a nurse or a jack-booted thug, a demagogue or a real teacher.
And it is NOT just HOW the money is used, but HOW it is acquired. Stolen money, whether stolen by a mugger in a back street or a burglar in a home or a conspiracy that includes 100 senators and 425 representatives and 1000 bureaucrats, is tainted. Even if put to “good” use, its source is tainted, its good diluted: and there is no gray here: just black or white.
Mama’s Note: I’d add that it’s not just the “love of money” that is a problem, but the things that come along with that love. The envy of anyone who has – or seems to have more. The feelings of superiority over those who have less. The feelings (and fact) that money gives one power over others. Actually, I suspect that the lust for power and superiority is pretty much behind most of that evil. That lust manifests itself in the willingness, even eagerness, to do harm to other people. I’ve found very little “love of money” among those who live by the non-aggression principle.