By Jack Jodell, Dec. 22, 2011

Merry Christmas, everybody! Especially at this time of year, it is important for all of us to think about those who are suffering, and are much worse off than we may be. Consider the plight of those who are homeless; sick, or on their deathbed; in foreclosure; physically hanicapped; hungry; plagued with constant pain; or are suffering from mental illness or Alzheimer’s. Think about this as you are feasting on your holiday ham, turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberries, and/or squash. Ponder this as you sip your holiday wine. And then silently thank God for all that you have and that you are not afflicted with the aforementioned maladies. And further, if you are able, think about donating some time, money, or foodstuffs to a local charity or food shelter…

There are millions of people across the world who are currently jobless. Daily life is a constant question mark and uncertain struggle for them. Many have taken to the streets to protest out of sheer desperation. Clearly, the capitalist system which dominates today’s world has failed these people miserably. It got me thinking about what other notable figures throughout history had to say about the nature of capital and labor, and of giving of one’s self. Here is a sampling of what I found, from a wide range of very wise sources:

“Of  course I believe in free enterprise, but in my system of free enterprise, the democratic principle is that there never was, never has been, never will be, room for the ruthless exploitation of the many for the benefit of the few.”
– Harry S Truman –

“The capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people.”
 – Abraham Lincoln –

“The law does not pretend to punish everything that is dishonest. That would seriously interfere with business.”
– Clarence Darrow –

“We have deluded ourselves into believing the myth that capitalism grew and prospered out of the Protestant work ethic of hard work and sacrifices. Capitalism was built on the exploitation of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor, both black and white, both here and abroad.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. –  

“Conservatives have no understanding of modern capitalism. They have a distorted understanding of the traditional values they claim to defend.”
– Christopher Lasch –

“Those who produce should have, but we know that those who produce the most – that is, those who work hardest, and at the most difficult and most menial tasks, have the least.”
_ Eugene V. Debs –

“Be not haughty with the humble; be not humble with the haughty.”
– Jefferson Davis –

“Ethics should precede economics… We know this because we’ve seen the results of capitalism without conscience: the pollution of the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat; the endangerment of workers; and the sale of dangerous products — from cars to toys to drugs. All in pursuit of greater and greater profits.”
– Arianna Huffington –

“If capitalism is fair then unionism must be. If men have a right to capitalize their ideas and the resources of their country, then that implies the right of men to capitalize their labor.”
– Frank Llotd Wright –

“Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate. “
– Bertrand Russell –

“The most pitiful among men is he who turns his dreams into silver and gold.”
– Kahlil Gibran –

“An oligarchy of private capital cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society because under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information.”
– Albert Einstein –

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”
– Muhammad Ali –

“History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and its issuance.”   – James Madison –

“Capitalism justified itself and was adopted as an economic principle on the express ground that it provides selfish motives for doing good, and that human beings will do nothing except for selfish motives.”
– George Bernard Shaw –

“The forces of a capitalist society, if left unchecked, tend to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.”
– Jawaharlal Nehru –

“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”
– Woodrow Wilson –

“The term ‘free market’ is really a euphemism. What the far right actually means by this term is ‘lawless market.’ In a lawless market, entrepreneurs can get away with privatizing the benefits of the market (profits) while socializing its  costs (like pollution).”
– Steve Kangas –

“…free market capitalism has always been a government subsidized, bubble-inflating swindlers’ game in which psychopathic personalities (not ‘job creators’, but con job perpetrators) thrive. By the exploitation of the many, a ruthless few have amassed large amounts of capital by which they dominate mainstream narratives and compromise elected and governmental officials, thereby gaming the system for their own benefit,”
– Phil Rockstroh –  

“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. ..”
– Abraham Lincoln –

“History suggests that capitalism is a necessary condition for political reaction.”
– Albert Einstein –

“True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of what dictatorships are made.”
– Franklin D. Roosevelt –

“Where some people are very wealthy and others have nothing, the result will be either extreme democracy or absolute oligarchy, or despotism will come from either of those excesses.”
– Aristotle –

“I know of no other country where love of money has such a grip on men’s hearts or where stronger scorn is expressed for the theory of permanent equality of property.”
– Alexis de Tocqueville –

“The basic law of capitalism is you or I, not both you and I.”
– Karl Liebknecht –


About jackjodell53

I am an American Dissident trapped in a country where poor and middle class people are constantly being exploited and lied to by a very rigid and conservative plutocratic elite. I believe in government OF, FOR, and BY the people, not one controlled as it now is by corporations and special interests.
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  1. Darlene says:

    This is truly a complete list of great quotes. Very timely and true. Thanks for your research.

  2. Hello Jack,
    First off Merry Christmas and I wanted to say this was a very good posting for all to reflect on. By the way, I have always been a big fan of Frank Lloyd Wright.

  3. mudrake says:

    Jack- thank you, once again, for taking the time to research this topic and for presenting it to us in such an easy format. Your point is well taken and it is important to consider and discuss, especially at this time of the year.

    I especially enjoy Lasch’s quote, “Conservatives have no understanding of modern capitalism. They have a distorted understanding of the traditional values they claim to defend.”
    I occasionally put on my Haz-Mat suit and wade through the bile floating around on right-wing blogs. I’ve actually learned something through this toxic adventure. I’ve learned, as Lasch points out, that they have a ‘distorted understanding of the traditional values’ that they espouse to uphold. They hold almost child-like ‘beliefs’ as in Santa, the Tooth Fairy and all of those mythical characters of the Bible. Simplistic idealism not rooted in reality.

    That’s my take about how the right-wingers operate. There is little or no reflection or processing of these ideas or ideals. It is essentially a ‘set’ of beliefs, as if written on 3×5 cards, that they lay before themselves and read in stoic tones, as if they were memorizing lines in Bible School.

    And when this type of person is elected to public office, for example, they take their set of 3×5 cards with them and attempt to ‘govern’ this diverse democracy of ours by reading the lines on the cards, having no understanding that governance is not accomplished through a list of platitudes. The Tea Party comes to mind. Sadly.

    “They have a distorted understanding of the traditional values they claim to defend.”
    Amen to that!

    • jackjodell53 says:

      Thank you, mudrake. Your sentence “Simplistic idealism not rooted in reality” says it all. I used to wonder why my elementary school teachers would get so mad at some of the slower, stubborn students. Niw, of course, I know why: they didn’t want them to grow up to become dull-witted reactionary ideologues who hate education and government. I’m glad your Haz-Mat suit has protected you so well all of these years. Merry Christmas, my very good, intelligent man! 🙂

  4. Tom Harper says:

    All excellent quotes. I also like the quote “to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” Ambrose Bierce I think.

  5. So many excellent thoughts expressed in these statements. I’m especially taken by the Truman, Wilson and Einstein quotes.

    Have a great Christmas, Jack, and all the best in the new year.

  6. Infidel753 says:

    Some telling quotes, especially Roosevelt’s and King’s. But did Jefferson Davis (leader of the slavery-promoting Confederacy) really say “Be not haughty with the humble”??

  7. Max's Dad says:

    Eugene V Debs is right on. Hey, Merry Christmas to you and yours, Jack.

  8. tnlib says:

    Wonderful quotes, thanks to your, as usual, great research efforts. Merry Christmas, Jack.

  9. SJ says:

    Good thoughts one and all Jack.

  10. Dave Dubya says:

    Love the good quotes! Thanks.

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