Reflections of a Rich Man [excerpt]
I vividly recollect my feelings when
I learned that Leon Czolgosz had shot President McKinley.
I saw a mighty arm raised from the
deeps and heard a voice whisper in my ear, “The conspiracy between
the government and the rich to rob and oppress the people has become
known to us. The magic of your power, maintained through ignorance
and fear, has lost its hold. We emerge from the abyss to a new dawn;
we come to destroy the old, decayed structure and in its stead to
erect one of beauty and strength.” I was terrified—just for a moment.
Then I was seized by violent anger. Have we labored in vain? Have
all our deep-laid schemes proven futile? The political webs that
our governmental spiders have so artfully spun to enmesh the human
flies,—have they been torn asunder by the desperate awakening of
The family fosters obedience; our
schools inculcate patriotism; the church stultifies mental growth;
our courts are designed to uphold the precious lie of equality before
the law; furthermore, the majority are being weakened and unnerved
in factories and mines—is all this insufficient to perpetuate the
power of capital?
Is it possible that the act of a solitary
being could tear off the mask of the face of authority, religion
and capital and expose their real nature?
Not that I value the life of any individual,
though he be President—what disturbs me is the realization that
the fetters we have forged for body and mind so easily yield to
the effort of a determined will.
The breaking light of the new day