There are few ways in which a man can be more innocently employed than in getting money
I was reminded of this quote by something Irving Kristol wrote:
In New York the ruling passion is the pursuit of money, whereas in Washington it is the pursuit of power. Now, the pursuit of power is a zerosum game: you acquire power only by taking it away from someone else. The pursuit of money, however, is not a zero-sum game, which is why it is a much more innocent human activity. It is possible to make a lot of money without inflicting economic injury on anyone. Making money may be more sordid than appropriating power—at least it has traditionally been thought to be so—but, as Adam Smith and others pointed out, it is also a far more civil activity.
In a previous post, I quoted Benjamin Franklin:
There are two passions which have a powerful influence in the affairs of men. These are ambition and avarice—the love of power and the love of money. Separately, each of these has great force in prompting men to action; but, when united in view of the same object, they have, in many minds, the most violent effects.
The whole direction of the country, under the direction of Obama/Pelosi/Reid, is toward the uniting of ambitiona and avarice in precisely the manner feared by Franklin. When moneymaking is principally accomplished by grabbing hold of the power of the state and using it to club rivals over the heard, it is no longer innocent in the Johnsonian sense.
Kristol link via Newmark’s Door.
Dr Johnson quote from this site.