Francisco d’Anconia’s Answer to Conrado de Quiros’ “The Root of All Evil”
To trade by means of money is the code of the men of good will. Money rests on the axiom that every man is the owner of his mind and his effort…
In his February 4 column, the most read columnist of the Philippine Daily Inquirer eloquently wrote that “money” is the “root of all evil.” Conrado de Quiros acrimoniously lambasted billionaire Senator and presidential candidate Manny Villar whose appearance in the Senate on February 2 “did not lack for cleverness.”
Manny Villar is, of course, known for his most lucrative racket since he joined politics— the C-5 road project—that bilked the Filipino taxpayers of billions of pesos. De Quiros said of Villar:
“A lot of analyses has been offered about why Villar appears to be catching up with Noynoy Aquino, none of them seeing the obvious. The explanation is simple: Noynoy has disappeared from the news, his disappearance being as sudden as his appearance. He was front-page newspaper and prime-time TV stuff nearly every day in August and September last year, but was barely reported afterward, having said and done little to sustain media attention. It’s hard to keep the fires burning while absent. Villar on the other hand has been there since, not least through a sheer preponderance of ads. That’s where his billions helped.”
It is pretty obvious that the intention of de Quiros is to contrive his own version of political dichotomy, which is comprised of what he regards as the “good” and the “evil.” De Quiros’ ideal of the good is the opposite of Villar— who is none other than his presidential bet Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino Jr. He aspires to tell his readers that just like incumbent President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Villar is the embodiment of the evil in politics because of what he considers as “the root of all evil”— Money.
If Villar is the avatar of political evil in the country today because of his infamous C-5 project scandal, Noynoy Aquino, in the eyes of the Inquirer columnist, is the personification of “the good.” De Quiros defined his concept of good in the following manner:
“It’s Noynoy who is in the best position to do so, who can show the evil for what it is by drawing a contrast between light and shadow, who can turn the spotlight that has been trained on Villar into an interrogation lamp. I hope he does. As I write this, he hasn’t—yet. Maybe he’s just the kind of guy who doesn’t want to kick the other guy while he’s down. Maybe he’s just the kind of guy who doesn’t want to weigh down his campaign with “negativity”—still in quotation marks, I’ve always thought negating corruption, or plain thievery, was positive in the extreme. Mabait lang talaga, which is good and bad.
“But it’s Noynoy who can raze down everything Villar said at the Senate last Tuesday without effort, or with the kind of lightness and humor he is more given to. He has the moral ascendancy.”
According to this passage, the good is the absence of evil— or in the subliminal words of de Quiros, “Noynoy” is the absence of “Villar.” Yes, it does follow. If this is de Quiros’ first premise— that the good is the absence of evil, I have to disagree. For me, evil is the absence of good. I also disagree with his evaluation that “money” is the very reason why human beings commit evil deeds like bribery or any forms of corruption.
The central premise of his argument is this: “Money is the root of all evil,” while the main purpose of his article is to equate “Manny” with “Money.” What I can honestly gather from this article is that de Quiros would like to warn us that if we sought to rid the country and the world of all kinds of evil, it is the concept or virtue of money that we have to reject.
This is why de Quiros sealed his well-expressed column with the following line:
“Who knows? Maybe Noynoy can even say, “Money is the root of all evil.” Pronouncing “Money” with a completely Filipino accent.”
Noynoy reminds me of James Taggart, one of the main characters of the bestselling book Atlas Shrugged. Like James Taggart, Noynoy Aquino is an heir to a great fortune. Like James Taggart, Noynoy Aquino has very little achievement to show. Taggart’s only achievement is that fact that he inherited the Presidency of the Taggart Transcontinental, which owns and operates the longest railway in the United States. Noynoy is simply the son of his parents who were both icons of democracy— late Senator Benigno Aquino and late President Cory. Taggart, a second-hander who mainly relies on the advice of the company’s board of advisers and professors, drives his family business to the ground. Noynoy, who is being pushed by the likes of opportunists Butch Abad and Franklin Drilon, made only eight bills throughout his 12 years in public office as a legislator. None of these bills became law.
Who can ever forget that Noynoy’s political mantra— “country above self?” It is clear that this presidential aspirant subscribes to the politics of sacrifice and the morality of need, consciously or subconsciously.
Yes, like James Taggart, Noynoy Aquino was born into an elite family, but this doesn’t mean that he can truly comprehend the true value and concept of Money. With this, I must borrow de Quiros’ words: “Who knows? Maybe Noynoy can even say, “Money is the root of all evil.”
I ask Conrado de Quiros to check his premise— “Is money the root of all evil?” The best answer I can give to this well-written article of the most read columnist of the Inquirer is the speech of Francisco D’Anconia who is the best fictional defender of Capitalism.
This is Francisco D’Anconia’s reply to Conrado de Quiros:
“SO you think that money is the root of all evil?” said Francisco d’Anconia. “Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?
“When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the effort of others. It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money. Not an ocean of tears not all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of paper, which should have been gold, are a token of honor–your claim upon the energy of the men who produce. Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world around you there are men who will not default on that moral principle which is the root of money, Is this what you consider evil?
“Have you ever looked for the root of production? Take a look at an electric generator and dare tell yourself that it was created by the muscular effort of unthinking brutes. Try to grow a seed of wheat without the knowledge left to you by men who had to discover it for the first time. Try to obtain your food by means of nothing but physical motions–and you’ll learn that man’s mind is the root of all the goods produced and of all the wealth that has ever existed on earth.
“But you say that money is made by the strong at the expense of the weak? What strength do you mean? It is not the strength of guns or muscles. Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think. Then is money made by the man who invents a motor at the expense of those who did not invent it? Is money made by the intelligent at the expense of the fools? By the able at the expense of the incompetent? By the ambitious at the expense of the lazy? Money is made–before it can be looted or mooched–made by the effort of every honest man, each to the extent of his ability. An honest man is one who knows that he can’t consume more than he has produced.’
“To trade by means of money is the code of the men of good will. Money rests on the axiom that every man is the owner of his mind and his effort. Money allows no power to prescribe the value of your effort except the voluntary choice of the man who is willing to trade you his effort in return. Money permits you to obtain for your goods and your labor that which they are worth to the men who buy them, but no more. Money permits no deals except those to mutual benefit by the unforced judgment of the traders. Money demands of you the recognition that men must work for their own benefit, not for their own injury, for their gain, not their loss–the recognition that they are not beasts of burden, born to carry the weight of your misery–that you must offer them values, not wounds–that the common bond among men is not the exchange of suffering, but the exchange of goods. Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men’s stupidity, but your talent to their reason; it demands that you buy, not the shoddiest they offer, but the best that your money can find. And when men live by trade–with reason, not force, as their final arbiter–it is the best product that wins, the best performance, the man of best judgment and highest ability–and the degree of a man’s productiveness is the degree of his reward. This is the code of existence whose tool and symbol is money. Is this what you consider evil?”
Read the rest of Francisco’s speech HERE.