Wednesday, March 22, 2017
David Rockefeller (1915-2017)
I once rode up in an elevator with David Rockefeller in 30 Rock[efeller Center]. He was already a man in late middle age, but entered a public elevator in a major Manhattan skyscraper open to the general public without a bodyguard, and with only one other middle-aged man in a quality suit, who seemed to me to be a business colleague — who also did not feel the need for a bodyguard. "So what?", you may wonder. I'll tell you what that meant, and still means, to me.
The United States used to be a country in which the rich were not hugely separated from the rest of us, not hated, and did not feel the need to surround themselves with "security". How many people, as rich in 2017 terms as David Rockefeller was in 1980's terms, would dare risk being assaulted, or even killed, if ordinary people could get within three or four feet of them, as I did?
Malicious, rapacious greed has rendered the rich into targets of hatred and the will to kill, among a large proportion of American society. Only rich people well known to be philanthropists can dare to go without protection from the outraged great majority of society. How wonderful the life that the rich have made for themselves, to be imprisoned by justified fear of being murdered anytime they are anywhere, even in their well-defended estates or gated communities. Who truly believes that their "security" is impenetrable? Bank vaults are not impervious to invasion by determined, knowledgeable criminals. Wouldn't it be better to be less rich but more secure everywhere they go?
You and I might think that living large in the greatness of society, with all the freedoms that being an ordinary person affords, would be worth a fortune, and thus it would be better to be starkly less rich, relative to the bulk of society, than to live in obscene luxury but be prisoners of fear. Which would you rather have, gold faucets in a marble bathroom or the ability to buy an ice-cream cone and walk freely thru the park without fear of being killed because people HATE you? If you experience even momentary hestitation in choosing between those options, you need to rethink your values.
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