When we get lost, the first place we look to find our way back home is a yearning glance over our shoulder.  We turn back to discover the forward of where we’ve been and how we’ve come to be here.  Sometimes we learn the lessons of the past.  Sometimes we condemn our future by ignoring the warnings of a world gone awry in antiquity, and we pay for the sins of that dishonest disremembering by reliving the death and blood of our forefathers.  In 1894, Henry Demarest Lloyd warned us in his incredible — Wealth Against Commonwealth — book that “Big Business” corrupts liberty and sets national agendas of death and killing for the almighty dollar.  Over a hundred years later, we have yet to heed Lloyd’s warning as we sink deeper into an international depression of our own undoing.


Here is the first page from Wealth Against Commonwealth and, as you read it, I wonder if you recognize the condition, and if you are concerned that we are repeating the wrath of the past?

When a pattern of behavior and exploitation is branded and flayed before us, why do we turn our eye away from the lessons of the past and prefer to gaze into the future unknown?

Are we preternaturally hubristic in that we believe the past has no influence over the now and the only things left to be discovered are the learnings of the future that have already been vetted and taught?

Lloyd’s book focuses on the Standard Oil Trust and John D. Rockefeller’s role in creating obscene amounts of wealth for his cohorts and sycophants while destroying the free economy of a developing nation.

Oil is still big business in America and we have smothering monopolies like Google and Microsoft and Halliburton and Boeing and Blackwater making public policy by spreading their own version of wealth that enriches them back with political power and philosophical influence over our government that is supposed to protect the common interest.

You can read Wealth Against Commonwealth for free on Google Book Search — use the ironic bounty of the monopoly to enrich your selfish mind against them — and I urge you to download the PDF version as a locally preserved warning against an ongoing, and inevitable, future of money stoking power and power provoking the worst for the middle class.

Lloyd’s greatest gift to us from the grave is this timeless warning:

If we accept Lloyd’s argument — liberty produces wealth, and wealth destroys liberty — where do a free people turn for a way out of the punishing, monopolistic, darkness?

The courts, and our government, are vested to protect us — but where does that protection fall when the very destroyers of our liberty are creating wealth out of national despair to fill the pockets of the few, ravenous, money-hungry grifters that are setting our national policy and mandating our international identification?

We’re in for a tsunami of trouble as our war debt is outstripping our nation’s ability to pay down our foreign debt, and being unable to pay for your foreign wars while the people at home suffer and lose their homes and their jobs and any sense of hope is the very thing that destroyed the Holy Roman Empire, the Russian Tsars, Imperial China, Napoleonic France and Hitler’s Third Reich — but, we continue argue against our best common interest in the reflection of history — because it is our last, desperate hope and because we’ve convinced ourselves in a glowing narcissism that we’re smarter than all those disasters, and we know our own way out because we understand that to break the curse of the past we have to destroy the current foundation of human yearning first so that any social kindness is revalued and reevaluated anew in the valueless, dark, reeducation of the now spiting the reflexively bright lessons of the past.

14 Comments

  1. It is fascinating, Anne, that the USA was founded as a way out of the aristocracy and then we land here and the first thing we do is try to cleave wealth from the worker and separate power from the commoner.
    The wealthy aristocracy quickly built boundaries to push back others and they constructed higher fences to keep out the foreigners.
    We worship money, not morality, in America — and we’re all the worse for it.

  2. This is a fine book, David! Thank you for sharing it with us. I’ve added it to my library.
    I also found this quote to be very neat –
    “There are none” – “They are legion”

  3. It is a frightening book, Dananjay, because we realize the killing the deceit and the despair all in the name of big money has already been fought and noted and footnoted for us — and yet we lean back today and realize we have learned nothing since Standard Oil and we’re still bowing to wealth and power and we’re fighting in foreign lands only to keep alive the oil flowing in the pipeline. It’s a tremendous disappointment to read our now from 1894.

  4. Just purchased and it’s in the mail! Now lets hope amazon sends the right book. I tried to purchase “ecce homo” recently and I ended up with a George Grosz book of social art with the same title. It turned out to be fascinating,with an incredible introduction anyway.

  5. Let us know what you think of the book, Raydon. The murders and the scheming are incredible to believe. The book is well-researched and very tough on Big Oil. There are all sorts of lessons there for us all if we’d only bother to pay attention enough to read the book.