While we try to amass wealth, make piles of money, get hold of the land as our real property, overtop one another in riches, we have palpably cast off justice, and lost the common good. I should like to know how any man can be just, who is deliberately aiming to get out of someone else what he wants for himself.
I don't really think that, as a society, we [americans] want to confer blessings on generation after generation who contribute nothing to society, simply because somebody in the far distant past happened to amass a great sum of wealth.
Until the end of the Middle Ages, and in many cases afterwards too, in order to obtain initiation in a trade of any sort whatever--whether that of courtier, soldier, administrator, merchant or workman--a boy did not amass the knowledge necessary to ply that trade before entering it, but threw himself into it; he then acquired the necessary knowledge.
Ah, the truth, what a thing it is! I sacrifice so much for it, with people: I forego, for truth's sake, discretion, loyalty, diplomacy, tact, polite manners, elegance, grace, poise, balance, good taste, conformity, image-role, fashionableness, polish, confidences, promises, ambition, consistency, identity, clarity, comprehensibleness, good will, hypocrisy, and lots of other things--amass sacrifice, at truth's altar. God! is truth worth it? I hope it is. It better be, in fact.
You Europeans know nothing about America. Because we amass large fortunes you think we care for nothing but money. We are nothing for it; the moment we have it we spend it, sometimes well, sometimes ill, but we spend it. Money is nothing to us; it's merely the symbol of success. We are the greatest idealists in the world; I happen to think that we've set our ideal on the wrong objects; I happen to think that the greatest ideal man can set before himself is self-perfection.
No matter how many toys we amass we leave them behind when we die, just as we leave a broken environment, an economy that only benefits the richest, and a legacy of empowering greed over goodness. It is now time to commit to following a new path.