It is tempting to say that money is the root of all evil — with people seemingly scrambling about doing inhuman, if not entirely unspeakable acts that show no regard whatsoever for the well-being of others only to add a few numbers to their bank account, or add some pieces of paper to their wallets. However, when you examine things more closely, you’ll see that it is not money per se that leads to this. In my opinion, it is the lust for money, and for what it can buy, that causes this entire ruckus. Greed might be one of the biggest flaws of the human race. We are never satisfied. We always want more. This might have been born by centuries of struggling to survive. Whoever has the most gets the most. You’d think that humans would have gotten over this after all the evolution that we’ve gone through but the headlines on newspapers would tell us otherwise. People kill for money because people have an insatiable lust for it.
I was sipping a glass of Woodbridge wine, eating some cheese, and at the same time reading a book called “The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale, when my daughter came home from the movies and said to me” Mom is money the root of all evil” I replied “Why the question” I just watched the movie “Blood Diamonds” and inside of me is still shaken. My first reaction to her, why did you? She went on and on trying to explain the moving to me……My wine turned sour and chills covered my entire body. I took a deep sigh and replied “sweetheart Sierra Leoneans butchered each other like the butcher men slaughtering the cows at cow yard all because of money”. I was present when all hell broke loose in Sierra Leone in 1998 when the SLPP government came back to power lead by the ECOMOG forces, and people like the Hon. Musa Kabia was burnt to ashes. I witnessed Alhaji Mushtaba roasted like a goat and for days his body was still burning and the fat from his body was dripping as if it was a water pipe that was burst open Why? Why? Because of the greed and lust for money.
What is money and what is evil? The Chambers school dictionary defines money as the coins and banknotes, which are used for payment. The dictionary also defines evil as wicked, harmful and unpleasant. You could say that money is the root of all evil but now that would be a lie. The Bible reference from which this idea is derived clearly states that the LOVE of money may I repeat that the LOVE of money is the root of all evil not that money itself is the root of all evil. If I may I shall now quote from the Bible reference first Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money placed before the love of God is the root of all kinds of evil.” So in other words if you place the love of money before the love of God you are doing wrong. God is not against money but God is against the worship of money for it is a sin therefore money love is the root of all kinds of evil. So in other words if you place the love of money before the love of God you are doing wrong. We have no right to say that money is evil for money can also be used for good as well. With the majority of the Earth’s population living in poverty we could use money to provide humanitarian aid. Now have I convinced you maybe not so think about this next point? If we were without money how would we live, would we return to the barter system of the middle Ages I certainly hope not. How would you like livestock in your bedroom to use as a trading item I wouldn’t. What about a lamb for a loaf of bread, it’s idiotic if you ask me.
It is not money, which is the root of all evil but the way that money is used. For example you could use money to fund education and health or you could use money to fund the building of an orphanage. Money has screwed up society a lot. The times long ago were not focused around a piece of paper that we have labeled as money. This piece of paper got an amount and then finally you have to have it. True, money buys you things. Things that you want. Things that you need. To me, money is just that; a thing. A thing to which we treat like a God. A piece of paper that we carry around and every now and then do something worthwhile with it. Money does three things. It brings on greed which in turn leads to unhappiness and then not caring for anything but cash.
So you think that money is the root of all evil? Have you ever asked what the root of money is? 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. This reminds me, when the NPRC overthrew the legitimate government of the APC on April 29, 1992 the Khaki boys looted the rich, the poor, white, black and red. I could still see the late Dr. Eleady-Cole driving the Khaki boys around as if he was their cab driver. And after all the driving they took his car, and left the poor man stranded. I was seating on my verandah at Campbell Street when I saw him walking to go home. He explained to me his ordeal and how his car has been looted by the Khaki boys. I told him we are in the same boat. They just took my car from me. Is money the root of all evil? People want to get rich overnight and acquire material things that they did not work for. Was this not daylight looting and robbery?
When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the effort of others. It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money. Not an ocean of tears or 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 them. 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.
Have you ever looked for the root of production? Take a look at an electric generator and dare tell yourself that it was created by the muscular effort of unthinking brutes. Try to grow a seed of wheat without the knowledge left to you by men who had to discover it for the first time. Try to obtain your food by means of nothing but physical motions–and you’ll learn that man’s mind is the root of all the goods produced and of all the wealth that has ever existed on earth.
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 a man who made 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.
To trade by means of money is the code of the men of good will. Money rests on the axiom that every man is the owner of his mind and his effort. Money allows no power to prescribe the value of your effort except the voluntary choice of the man who is willing to trade you his effort in return. Money permits you to obtain for your goods and your labor that which they are worth to the men who buy them, but no more. Money permits no deals except those to mutual benefit by the unforced judgment of the traders. 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. This is the code of existence whose tool and symbol is money.
But money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver. It will give you the means for the satisfaction of your desires, but it will not provide you with desires. Money is the scourge of the men who attempt to reverse the law of causality–the men who seek to replace the mind by seizing the products of the mind. Money will not purchase happiness for the man who has no concept of what he wants: money will not give him a code of values, if he’s evaded the knowledge of what to value, and it will not provide him with a purpose, if he’s evaded the choice of what to seek. Money will not buy intelligence for the fool, or admiration for the coward, or respect for the incompetent. The man who attempts to purchase the brains of his superiors to serve him, with his money replacing his judgment, ends up by becoming the victim of his inferiors. The men of intelligence desert him, but the cheats and the frauds come flocking to him, drawn by a law which he has not discovered: that no man may be smaller than his money.
Only the man, who does not need it, is fit to inherit wealth–the man who would make his own fortune no matter where he started. If an heir is equal to his money, it serves him; if not, it destroys him. But you look on and you cry that money corrupted him. Did it? Or did he corrupt his money? Do not envy a worthless heir; his wealth is not yours and you would have done no better with it. Do you not think that it should have been distributed among you; loading the world with fifty parasites instead of one. Would not bring back the dead virtue which was the fortune. Money is a living power that dies without its root. Money will not serve the mind that cannot match it. Money is your means of survival. The verdict you pronounce upon the source of your livelihood is the verdict you pronounce upon your life. If the source is corrupt, you have damned your own existence. Did you get your money by fraud? By pandering to men’s vices or men’s stupidity? By catering fools, in the hope of getting more than your ability deserves? By lowering your standards? By doing work you despise for purchasers you scorn? If so, then your money will not give you a moment’s or a penny’s worth of joy. Then all the things you buy will become not a tribute to you, but a reproach; not an achievement, but a reminder of shame. Then you’ll scream that money is evil. Evil, because it would not pinch-hit for your self-respect? Evil, because it would not let you enjoy your depravity?
Money will always remain an effect and refuse to replace you as the cause. Money is the product of virtue, but it will not give you unearned, neither in manner nor in spirit. Is this the root of your hatred of money? Or did you say it’s the love of money that’s the root of all evil? To love a thing is to know and love its nature. To love money is to know and love the fact that money is the creation of the best power within you, and your passkey to trade your effort for the effort of the best among men. It’s the person who would sell his soul for a nickel, who is loudest in proclaiming his hatred of money–and he has good reason to hate it. The lovers of money are willing to work for it. They know they are able to deserve it. Let me give you a tip on a clue to men’s characters: the man who damns money has earned it dishonestly; the man who respects it has earned it.
Run for your life from any man that tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper’s bell of an approaching looter. So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another–their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun, and that is exactly what happened in Sierra Leone. THIEF!!! THIEF!!!!! But money demands of you the highest virtues, if you wish to make it or to keep it. Men who have no courage, pride or self-esteem, men who have no moral sense of their right to their money and are not willing to defend it as they defend their life, men who apologize for being rich–will not remain rich for long. They are the natural bait for the swarms of looters that stay under rocks for centuries, but come crawling out at the first smell of a man who begs to be forgiven for the guilt of owning wealth. They will hasten to relieve him of the guilt–and of his life, as he deserves.
Then you will see the rise of the men of the double standard–the men who live by force, yet count on those who live by trade to create the value of their looted money–the men who are the hitchhikers of virtue. In a moral society, these are the criminals, and the laws are written to protect you against them. But when a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law–men who their loot becomes its creators’ avenger. Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they’ve passed a law to disarm them. But their loot becomes the magnet for other looters, who get it from them as they got it. Then the race goes, not to the ablest at production, but to those most ruthless at brutality. When force is the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket. And then that society vanishes, in a spread of ruins and slaughter.
Do you wish to know whether that day is coming? Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion–when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing–when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors–when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you–when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice–you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that it does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.
Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money are men’s protection and the base of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into the arbitrary power of an arbitrary setter of values. Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth produced. Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it. Paper is a check drawn by legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the victims. Watch for the day when it bounces, marked: ‘Account overdrawn.’ When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded. Do not ask, ‘Who is destroying the world?’ You are!! We are!!
You stand in the midst of the greatest achievements of the greatest productive civilization and you wonder why it’s crumbling around you, while you’re damning its life-blood–money. You look upon money as the savages did before you, and you wonder why the jungle is creeping back to the edge of your cities. Throughout men’s history, money was always seized by looters of one brand or another, whose names changed, but whose method remained the same: to seize wealth by force and to keep the producers bound, demeaned, defamed, and deprived of honor. That phrase about the evil of money, which your mouth with such righteous recklessness, comes from a time when wealth was produced by the labor of slaves–slaves who repeated the motions once discovered by somebody’s mind and left unimproved for centuries. So long as production was ruled by force, and wealth was obtained by conquest, there was little to conquer. Yet through all the centuries of stagnation and starvation, men exalted the looters, as aristocrats of the sword, as aristocrats of birth, as aristocrats of the bureau, and despised the producers, as slaves, as traders, as shopkeepers–as industrialists.
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.
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