Francisco Dancona’s speech on money

Francisco Dancona’s speech on money

I said earlier this month that I would, from time to time, highlight some of my favorite clips from Atlas shrugs. October 10 will be the 65th anniversary of its publication.

One commentator, Paul Sand, recommended Francisco Dancona talk about money. It’s one of my favourites too. I like it, not just because of his ideas but also because of something Ayn Rand does so well that she doesn’t get much credit for: a new formulation. George Orwell spoke On how to use so many worn out phrases, they replace thinking. Rand had the ability to devise new ways of saying things.

Here are some of the highlights of the speech.

What I think of whenever I think of inheritance taxes:

Do not envy a worthless heir. His fortune is not yours and you will not do better than that. Do not think that it should have been distributed among you. Loading the world with fifty parasites instead of one won’t bring back the dead virtue that was wealth.

Its amazing formula:

Did you get your money fraudulently? Pimping for men’s vices or for men’s stupidity? By taking care of fools, hoping to get more than your ability deserves? By lowering your standards? By doing the work you despise the buyers you mock? If so, your money will not give you a moment or a penny of joy. Then all the things that you buy shall become, not your honor, but your disgrace; Not an achievement, but a reminder of shame. Then you will scream that money is evil. Evil, because it wouldn’t hurt your self-esteem?

This last line is very good. I guess Ayn Rand has never seen a baseball game in her life. But what a new metaphor.

Men who have no guts or pride or self-respect, men who have no moral sense of their right to their money and are not willing to defend it as they defend their lives, men who apologize for being rich – they won’t stay rich for long. It is the natural bait for swarms of thieves who have lain under the rocks for centuries, but come out at the first smell of a man asking for forgiveness for the guilt of owning wealth. They will hasten to absolve him of guilt – and of his life as he deserves.

I like the formulation but I strongly disagree with Rand’s view that someone like that doesn’t deserve to live.

In making money:

If you asked me to name the distinction Americans are most proud of, I would choose – because it contains all the others – the fact that they were the people who came up with the phrase “to make money”.

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