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Why Americans Love Their Money

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Wednesday, 27 January 2021 06:31 AM

One of the most indispensable ideas of American values is our industrial and entrepreneurial zeal. 

In an era where this spirit seems to be waning under the federal government's bloated bureaucracy, one author chronicles America's undying intrigue of money and all that it brings. 

That author, Lance Morrow, decided to put pen to paper and wrote "God and Mammon: Chronicles of American Money." 

He got the idea for these essays while he "was thinking about Booker T. Washington and his conversation with W. E. B. Dubois about moneymaking and how the children and grandchildren of former slaves would proceed to become a part of the larger American society.

"Booker T. Washington believed that this would be through establishing a strong black middle class starting with learning trades."

Morrow was also quick to point out the dualistic side of the American mind — the spiritual and the worldly — that is in an unyielding battle between things of God and things of the world. 

"Americans are highly self-conscious of their morality, standing, and self-image," he writes, "and they always have throughout history dealt with the issue of how to square the use of their money with a way to be virtuous. 

"This tension between the virtuous idea of America and the money, the crass, and materialistic aspect of our country explores that theme through our country's origins all the way through contemporary history by looking at a few historical characters to see how the 'emotions of money' were at work in their lives and in society around them."

Morrow's understanding of how money can be used in a virtuous way stems from his analysis of the early American colonies and the puritan mindset that entrenched American culture. 

"The religious dynamic that goes through so much of American history originates and develops from the ideas of Puritans like Cotton Mather," he writes, noting that Mather "gave the sermon of how men row to heaven using two oars, one oar of spiritual calling and the other of professional calling. If one uses one oar and not the other, then they row around in a circle instead of in a straight line to heaven."

Perhaps the most alarming and unsurprising aspect of the modern era of money is the growing discontent for the American entrepreneurial system. 

Morrow counters with a generational account of the problem. He recalls how "I grew up acutely aware of the totalitarian aspects of communism and had a tremendous aversion of the left solutions because of the implications of socialism's answers to societal problems."

Now the younger generations, he concludes, "don't have the same sense of danger of Marxism, Leninism, and socialism and because of a feeling of uncertainty for them due to student debt and poor economic prospects drive them toward an idea of a communal plan that includes and espouses social justice, and that disparages entrepreneurial attitudes for unjustly distributing money."

Simply put, there is an even more open push toward a socialist system of economics given this era of uncertainty. 

Morrow believes that younger generations "want the government to take over … and we're at a pivotal role to determine where things will go from here because everything is up in the air. However, that generational attitude does suggest that there is a trend toward socialist answers."

Morrow offers the reader a parting parcel of ethics and therapy by suggesting that a way to remove the ferocity that has gripped the nation is by de-escalating our emphasis on feelings over facts.

"Feelings more than thoughts are so much the material of social media, and everyone has a cellphone," he states, "Feelings are fired off in such instant flashes, so this makes our politics all the more emotionally charged, but politics have always been subject to feelings. Detachment is a precious quality and something to strive for, and it's good to practice so as not to get carried away by various energies or forces."

Michael Cozzi is a Ph.D. candidate at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

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One of the most indispensable ideas of American values is our industrial and entrepreneurial zeal. In an era where this spirit seems to be waning under the federal government's bloated bureaucracy, one author chronicles America's...
booko, why americans love their money, lance morrow
Wednesday, 27 January 2021 06:31 AM
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