…that place and power are not necessary to success; that the desire to acquire great wealth is a kind of insanity. They should be taught that it is a waste of energy, a waste of thought, a waste of life, to acquire what you do not need and what you do not really use for the benefit of yourself or others.
Neither mendicants nor millionaires are the happiest of mankind. The man at the bottom of the ladder hopes to rise; the man at the top fears to fall. The one asks; the other refuses; and, by frequent refusal, the heart becomes hard enough and the hand greedy enough to clutch and hold.
Few men have intelligence enough, real greatness enough, to own a great fortune. As a rule, the fortune owns them. Their fortune is their master, for whom they work and toil like slaves. The man who has a good business and who can make a reasonable living and lay aside something for the future, who can educate his children and can leave enough to keep the wolf of want from the door of those he loves, ought to be the happiest of men.
Now, society bows and kneels at the feet of wealth. Wealth gives power. Wealth commands flattery and adulation. And so, millions of men give all their energies, as well as their very souls, for the acquisition of gold. And this will continue as long as society is ignorant enough and hypocritical enough to hold in high esteem the man of wealth without the slightest regard to the character of the man.