What do you think Ayn Rand would have to say about this blogger’s thoughts?
I re-read Francisco d’Anconia’s money speak from Atlas Shrugged last night. I’ve been thinking about it a lot in light of Christian denunciations of “the love of money,” which is either “the root of all evil” or “a root of all kinds of evil” depending on your particular translation. I think that, unfortunately, a lot of Christian views of money are held over from societies in which expropriation and redistribution rather than production and exchange were the routes to wealth. Indeed, here’s 1 Timothy 6:9-10 (King James Version), which suggests that the desire to get money leads people to commit all sorts of evil deeds:
If you who are familiar with Atlas Shrugged, that sounds a lot more like a condemnation of Orren Boyle, Jim Taggart, and their ilk than Hank Rearden or Francisco d’Anconia. I think the out-of-context “money=evil” meme is a holdover from a world of illiteracy, venality, and corruption in which the kings and priests could exploit the credulity of the unwashed masses for personal gain (anyone wanna buy an indulgence?). What I say here is tentative rather than authoritative, to say the least… Choice passages from d’Anconia’s money speech are below the fold; at first they seem to run counter to Christian teachings about money, but I think they can be reconciled.
The blogger goes on to share Francisco’s “Money Speech”, in which he highlights “money as representing the value that can be created through the rational mind of an individual.” The real question is where money falls in your hierarchy of worship. Money is good. If money is an “ultimate good” as opposed to an ordinary good, it leads to problems.
My net worth is not denominated in money. If I could only receive life with peace and happiness when my bank account is full, I would be miserable. Likewise, if I judge my value as an individual by my ability to produce, and my ability to produce is measured by the amount of money I have amassed, I’m in trouble. I’m going to be valuable when my business is going well, and worthless when it’s not. That’s a breeding ground for massive insecurity.
Instead, I’m looking to Jesus and what he says about me. The gospel says that I am more poverty-stricken than I ever dared believe, but in Jesus Christ, I am more valuable than I ever dared hope. Money is important. Just not the ultimate source of my peace and happiness.