Thursday, August 20, 2015
Not much to say today, but I wanted to share a short quote from Louis Bromfield's The Farm, which I think is especially poignant for these times.
(Published in 1932, it is too bad that this is largely a forgotten book. Incidentally, Ethan picked up this book at a Starbucks while he was travelling for work. He was amazed to find it there on their book shelf, and asked if he could buy it. The guy at the counter's reply was, "Yes, the bookshelf does have real books." He was confused about Ethan wanting to buy it, and told him he could just have it. There was a feeling of rescuing it from them when he brought it home.)
"Out of the beliefs and teachings of Hamilton had come the decay he had seen slowly paralyzing the government during his lifetime. He had seen a republic, a democracy, come to be run as a business, an affair of shopkeepers and money-changers, who paid out money upon which they expected returns in laws and tarrifs and land grants. He had come to see American citizens look upon such bargains calmly and without indignation, protest, or complaint.
For him, the bitterest evidence of defeat - the fact that the citizen, the man in the street, so long as he was prosperous, no longer cherished a sense of duty, of honor, of decency. What puzzled him most were the men who somehow in the midst of unscrupulousness assumed a cloak of honor, men of character and wit and ability, who found virtue and credit in sharp dealing. it was not that they were hypocrites, but that, yielding, they came to believe that bargaining and compromise and bad faith were simply a part of the new system and the new political philosophy and must be accepted as such, for the general good, but most of all for the good of business.
He could not understand that sly admiration which citizens had for men like Judge Wyck, a man known to be corrupt and criminal, because he had been clever enough to make a fortune and escape prison at the same time. He could not understand placing the holy affair of the government upon the level of business, nor could he understand those men who exalted material success as a God."