The following was read on the air 45 years ago, in 1964, by radio personality Paul Harvey. It merits a reading today:
America has become a cannibal society, devouring its best. The competent, numerically outnumbered by the incompetents, are being corralled, restrained, confined and milked like barnyard cattle. The giants who created our skyscraper civilization are now ordered to obey Lilliputian bureaucrats. Common men—who owe their jobs to uncommon men who create jobs—gang together to shackle their providers.
Americans are becoming congenital dependents. Even as loafing relatives extort a livelihood by claiming they have a “right” to your money—so today eight million homegrown moochers insist that you are responsible for their welfare! Thus, we subsidize promiscuous mothers and their illegitimate babies and lazy feather bedders and goldbricking government pay rollers…While we penalize the strong, the purposeful, the productive with disproportionate burdens of taxes, pressures, red tape.
We praise ventures which are “non-profit” and grant them tax advantages and social acceptance, yet we damn the men who make the profits which make the “non-profit” ventures possible. Americans want to keep the electric lights but destroy the generators. What if the men of brains and initiative and industry should go on strike?
It happened once. “The Dark Ages” were a period of stagnation when men of exceptional ability gave up, figured “what’s the use?” and went underground—for a thousand years. Ayn Rand, author of “Atlas Shrugged,” thinks it may have to happen that way again. Dr. Charles Mayo says, “I know of no individual, no nation, that ever did anything worthwhile on a five-day week.” Already many American industrialists are turning the keys on their corporations and going to Florida—either part-time or full-time—to become non-productive beachcombers.
Curiously, Russia is beginning to reward the uncommon men. Soviet scholar Vadim A. Trapeznikov—not without Kremlin sanction—is now referring to the Soviet system as “obsolete.” He says Russia’s economy must now rely on the “more productive profit motive.” We, on the other hand, continue to play the democratic con-game which pretends that all men are equal and that anybody who demonstrates any inequality should be punished for it.
Any insolent beggar can wave his sores in your face and plead for help in the tone of a threat. You are expected to feel “guilty” for having more than he. Any barefoot bum from the pestholes of Asia or Africa cries out, “How dare you be rich!” And we beg them to be patient and we promise to give it all away as fast as possible.
The economic creed of “enlightened selfishness” which made our nation the powerhouse of this planet has been so maligned that now it sounds like heresy when I say:
Any man who claims you owe him a living is a cannibal.
Whether foreign or domestic, he is a cannibal.
If you choose to help him, that is one thing.
If he demands you “help” as his “right,” he is a leech,
a sycophant, a parasite.
He is a cannibal seeking to survive by consuming you.
Ragnar Danneskjold: "But I’ve chosen a special mission of my own. I’m after a man whom I want to destroy. He died many centuries ago, but until the last trace of him is wiped out of men’s minds, we will not have a decent world to live in."
Hank Rearden: "What man?"
Ragnar: "Robin Hood."
Ragnar: ". . . [Robin Hood] is not remembered as a champion of property, but as a champion of need, not as a defender of the robbed, but as a provider of the poor. He is held to be the first man who assumed a halo of virtue by practicing charity with wealth which he did not own, by giving away goods which he had not produced, by making others pay for the luxury of his pity. He is the man who became a symbol of the idea that need, not achievement, is the source of rights, that we don’t have to produce, only to want, that the earned does not belong to us, but the unearned does. He became a justification for every mediocrity who, unable to make his own living, had demanded the power to dispose of the property of his betters, by proclaiming his willingness to devote his life to his inferiors at the price of robbing his superiors. It is this foulest of creatures – the double-parasite who lives on the sores of the poor and the blood of the rich – whom men have come to regard as the moral idea." ". . . Do you wonder why the world is collapsing around us? That is what I am fighting, Mr. Rearden. Until men learn that of all human symbols, Robin Hood is the most immoral and the most contemptible, there will be no justice on earth and no way for mankind to survive."