Hart: Ayn Rand's 'money speech' worth another read as left vilifies capitalism

In this Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014 photo, Annie Krempa and Patrick Bradley look at Steve Lambert's ArtPrize entry, "Capitalism Works For Me," at the Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, Mich. "I like that it's interactive," Krempa said about the entry. The two are from Traverse City, Mich. (AP Photo/The Grand Rapids Press - MLive.com, Cory Morse)
photo Ron Hart

With a new batch of politicians in Washington, D.C., espousing socialism, victimization and House freshman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez running Amazon's jobs out of New York, etc., it might be a good time to re-read Ayn Rand's work.

We are so far from victimized in America, we have to hire two Nigerians to pretend we are.

Even actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio (who makes $12 million per movie) talk despairingly of capitalism. They clearly do not understand socialism. To Hollywood, socialism is sharing your cocaine with anyone who is in the bathroom with you at the Oscars. And for $250,000 per speech, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and former President Obama will tell you of the "evils" of capitalism.

Many of the features of today's crony politics and Venezuela's implosion were foretold by Ayn Rand in her 1957 novel "Atlas Shrugged." This 1,168-page "doorstopper" of a book has inspired many of us, and explains the banality of Democratic class-envy rhetoric.

I offer the following passage from "Atlas Shrugged" called "Francisco's Money Speech."

Entrepreneur Francisco d'Anconia is confronted at a party by a liberal interloper who indignantly murmurs, "Money is the root of all evil."

"So you think that money is the root of all evil?" d'Anconia replies. "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?

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"When you accept money in payment for your work, you do so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the work 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, which should have been gold, 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? But you say that money is made by the strong at the expense of the weak? What strength do you mean? It is not the strength of guns or muscles. Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think. Then is money made by the man who invents a motor at the expense of those who did not invent it? Is money made by the intelligent at the expense of the fools? By the able at the expense of the incompetent? By the ambitious at the expense of the lazy? Money is made - before it can be looted or mooched - made by the effort of every honest man, each to the extent of his ability. An honest man is one who knows that he can't consume more than he has produced.

"Money demands of you the recognition that men must work for their own benefit, not for their own injury, for their gain, not their loss - the recognition that they are not beasts of burden, born to carry the weight of your misery - that you must offer them values, not wounds - that the common bond among men is not the exchange of suffering, but the exchange of goods. Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men's stupidity, but your talent to their reason; it demands that you buy, not the shoddiest they offer, but the best that your money can find. And when men live by trade - with reason, not force, as their final arbiter - it is the best product that wins, the best performance, the man of best judgment and highest ability - and the degree of a man's productiveness is the degree of his reward. Is this what you consider evil?"

Contact Ron Hart, an op-ed humorist, at Ron@RonaldHart.com or @RonaldHart on Twitter.