I suppose at one time I believed "the Robber Barons" existed. Then I found out they didn't. I had been conned by anti-free-market leftists and their writings. They were actually entrepreneurs.
Let's take Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie wasn't American - he was Scottish.
He was an incredibly wealthy man, yet he wrote this: "Man must have an idol - the amassing of wealth is one of the worst species of idolatry - and no idol more abasing than the worship of money."
He spent almost $350,700,000 on various public projects - 2,811 free public libraries, for one example - and when he died, he had disposed of almost everything he possessed. He ended up being buried in Sleepy Hollow, next to Washington Irving.
Then we have J.P. Morgan. He was a sincere Episcopalian, one who had an absolute code of conduct. His riches were based on incremental accumulation (what was been done to "J.P. Morgan" today is another story). Because of his absolute code of right and wrong he ended up being considered an aristocrat, one looked up and respected by the moneyed world.
John Rockefeller once said Morgan wasn't even wealthy.
I could go on, but it's the same thing, over and over.
What these men had in common was that they made their money in the free market.
It's different today. Carlos Slim is right now the richest man in the world and he made his money by having a monopoly given to him by the Mexican government.
I have a friend who taught at a private high school in Mexico and who told me, "There is rich and there is Mexican rich."
He told me one teenage girl came to school in a different outfit every day. She never wore the same outfit twice. Her father was a billionaire.
Bill Gates? Don't make me laugh. One of the reasons Gates is so wealthy is because the U.S. government uses his products. Not only do we buy his products from his company, we have to give him more money through our involuntary taxes. His company, even today, uses versions with bugs in it. They are released early even though defective, to corner the market. That's why there are so patches for Microsoft's products. And I certainly remember the BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) so common on early Microsoft products.
Gates was also born wealthy, which you never hear about.
It's got to the point very few people can become wealthy through the free market. Whenever you hear of someone becoming a billionaire almost invariably they did it though the government favoring them.
About the only two decent people I can think of who made their money through the free market are Stephen King and J.K. Rowling - entertainers.
For that matter, just about the only people I can think of today who become extremely wealthy are "entertainers." The Kardasians? Paris Hilton? Rappers? The popularity of these decadent people is a sign of a degraded culture.
We've gone from admiring and respecting such people as Carnegie and Morgan to worshiping nonentities and non-entertainers.
But when it comes to business - and making tens of billions of dollars - the government has enriched certain people through monopolies and giving them billions in taxpayer money, which impoverishes the taxpayers.
Kevin Phillips, the political scientist, wrote countries go through three phases - agricultural industrial, then in decline and collapse, financial.
This country was originally agricultural, which accounts for Thomas Jefferson's idealization of farmers.
Then we had the industrial - that's when the so-called "Robber Barons" emerged. Wages and the standard of living were skyrocketing.
Now we are in the final phrase - the financial. Along with the financial goes Empire.
That's when you get massive government, horrendous debt, a sputtering economy, declining wages, bread and circuses for entertainment, billionaires created by the government.
Governments based on these things always collapse. Look at Greece.
The reason we have avoided the fate of Greece is, for one thing, we are the world's reserve currency. We have access to the world's entire economy through our money, which is why you can use American dollars in Canada and Mexico but you can't use their money here.
Too bad there are no Andrew Carnegies and J.P. Morgans around any more. They were infinitely better than having pictures of Kim Kardashian's greasy ass shoved in my face.