“Too much cannot be said against the men of wealth who sacrifice everything to getting wealth. There is not in the world a more ignoble character than the mere money-getting American, insensible to every duty, regardless of every principle, bent only on amassing a fortune, and putting his fortune only to the basest uses … Such a man is only the more dangerous if he occasionally does some deed like founding a college or endowing a church, which makes those good people who are also foolish forget his real iniquity. These men are equally careless of the working men, whom they oppress, and of the State, whose existence they imperil. There are not very many of them, but there is a very great number of men who approach more or less closely to the type, and, just in so far as they do so approach, they are curses to the country.” — “True American Ideals,” Forum, 1895
Give Scott Monty’s article a read. And then, if you’re up for it — and I encourage you to make time for it — read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s fantastic “The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism.” The parallels between America a century ago and the America of today are uncanny.