Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Philanthropist Thieves

I think that we're well advanced into a corporate dictatorship.

My opposition to this began about nineteen-six or nineteen-seven when my daddy was a little boy, and his father had sent his tobacco crop to market, in Louisville, and we went down the next day to see it sold on the boat. And when he came back that night he didn't have a dime, because it had cost everything that the crop had brought to pay the sale commission on.

Now I was down at Duke University not very long ago. Duke University has the only medieval Methodist chapel in the world. And out in front is a statue where the saint would ordinarily be: a statue of James B. Duke. Standin' there with a cigar. And I walked all around that statue. On one side it said, "businessman". And on the other side it said, "philanthropist".

And I said, "Yes, you son-of-a-bitch, I understand exactly what that means: You steal enough money from people like my grandfather in order to be generous with it, and get the reputation of a philanthropist."
-- Wendell Berry

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