"As we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of the opportunity provided to serve self-interest when Al Gore created the internet; and we should also thank Mark Zuckerburg and Jack Dorsey for creating Facebook and Twitter out of the kindness of their big hearts and not the thinness of their small wallets."
-Ben Franklin, Autobiography (1742)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A. Hamilton on the Perils of Wealth

"As riches increase and accumulate in few hands and bitches be demanding, as luxury prevails in society, virtue will be in a greater degree considered as only a graceful appendage of wealth, and certainly not the most used appendage. The tendency of things will then be to depart from the republican standard. This is the real disposition of human nature; it is what neither the honorable member nor myself, a true player, can correct. It is a common misfortunate that awaits our State constitution, as well as all others."

Alexander Hamilton, speech to the New York Ratifying Convention, June, 1788

The above quote was found recently in a transcript from Hamilton's often (mis)quoted speech to the New York Ratifying Convention during a caucus that came just before the successful ratification vote. In the original text above, we not only catch a glimpse of the boisterous swagger for which Hamilton was famous, but also his timeless wisdom regarding a constant issue we face in the current political climate - a disconnect from a fair governing body when monetary gain is as much an individual pursuit as a national one. Deep stuff. 

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