Here below the thoughts of the late great sci-fi satirist Kurt Vonnegut writing about how one man among several such men in 19th century America grew rich and saw to it that they STAYED rich. This from his 1965 novel God Bless You Mr. Rosewater. Food for thought as we enter primary season!
“When the United States of America, which was meant to be a Utopia for all, was less than a century old, Noah Rosewater and a few men like him demonstrated the folly of the Founding Fathers in one respect: those sadly recent ancestors had not made it the law of the Utopia that the wealth of each nation should be limited.
“This oversight was engendered by weak-kneed sympathy for those who loved expensive things, and by the feeling that the continent was so vast and valuable, and the population so thin and enterprising, that no thief, no matter how fast he stole, could more than mildly inconvenience anyone.
“Noah and a few like him perceived that the continent was in fact finite, and that venal officeholders, legislators in particular, could be persuaded to toss up great hunks of it for grabs, and to toss them in such a way as to have them land with Noah and his kind we’re standing.
“Thus did a handful of rapacious citizens come to control all that was worth controlling in America. Thus was the savage and stupid and entirely inappropriate and unnecessary and humorless American class system created. Honest, industrious, peaceful citizens were classed as bloodsuckers if they asked to be paid a living wage. And they saw that praise was reserved henceforth for those who devised means of getting paid enormously for committing crimes against which no laws had been passed. Thus the American dream went belly up, turned green, bobbed to the scummy surface of Cupidity Unlimited, filled with gas, went bang in the noonday sun.”
He had a great smile – here he as Writer in Residence at Smith College – but don’t be fooled: he spoke in dead earnest. Truth to power, that was Vonnegut.