Laura Dvorak 5:47 p.m., Dec. 6
"I believe in rags-to-riches/ and your inheritance won't last! So take your Grey Poupon, my friend/ and shove it up your a**!" --Aerosmith, from "Eat The Rich" on PUMP.
Money can rent-or-buy many things; such as fame, friends, a quick hump, and most material objects that you desire. It's also good for paying what you owe...albeit there are some debts that cannot be wiped out by a chunk of cash. Doing many a crime often means the only restitution acceptable is a part of your life in the Crossbars Hotel, if not having your life taken by the order of the State.
However, money cannot rent-or-buy intelligence. If you want to see examples of this, just check out the local newspaper (or the Internet) for the latest wealthy bonehead to have their foibles exposed for all to see. From Lindsay Lohan's latest adventures in the FUBAR-lifestyle, to Carlos Zambrano throwing a hissy fit that would have gotten him booted from the local T-ball team, to a "reality-TV" star getting caught playing "Want Some Keilbasa" with someone other than his movie-star wife?
Money, indeed, does not confer intelligence. Sure, it can buy brains--but only from a local butcher shop. In fact, there is a reason it's called 'the filthy green stuff"--too much of it actually dirties up your soul and heart. And what it does to the mind? Money, like power, corrupts--and like absolute power, excessive wealth corrupts aboslutely.
It was folks like J.P. Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and Jay Gould who exemplified how money's power is so destructive. The three men were "Robber Barons" from what we know as "The Gilded Age." They though no law could control them, and that their stash of loot could get them whatever they wanted. As for those without money? These folks were unrepentant Ebenezer Scrooges-come-to-life. If you were not rich...you didn't belong in the same county with them.
Modern day examples included Leona Helmsley, Al Capone, Robert Vesco, J. David Dominelli, Carlos Lehderer, Jack Abramoff, and Ken Lay.. They thought that their stashes of cash made them invulnerable to any legal chalanges, let alone criminal prosecution.
Let the record speak for itself:
1) Leona Helmsley--convicted on tax evasion charges. 2) Al Capone--convicted on tax fraud charges, died of "the siff." 3) Robert Vesco--extradited from The Bahamas, convicted of tax evasion. 4) J. David Dominelli--convicted of fraud. 5) Carlos Lehderer--imprisoned on drug trafficking charges, escaped and was shot dead as he tried to flee from Colombian National Police. 6) Jack Abramhoff--convicted of bribery, now works in a D.C. pizza parlor. 7) Ken Lay--convicted of bank, wire, and securites fraud in the Enron case, plus perjury.
These folks may have been rich--to the point of having "money's mammy"--but they forgot that unlike Vanderbilt, Gould, or Morgan, the feds were not awed by their wealth and it's power in this age. In Lehderer's case, his crimes (Drug Trafficking, Corruption, multiple counts of homicide) earned him a coward's death at the hands of the Colombian authorities.
For if they truly had "the brains" to go with their wealth, they would have quit while they were ahead. Yet, when you pile on the money, you pile on something else...GREED!
And Greed is what ruins the smarts of folks like Vanderbilt, Helmsley, and Lay. For greed easily overrides intelligence, to the point where that person's brain keeps telling them to acquire more, drowning out the call of the conscience to stop and think about what they are doing. It's as if greed is, in itself, a very potent narcotic, second only to power in it's ability to addict.
And once you are addicted, the drug-of-choice overrides your intelligence to keep you obtaining more-and-more of that drug to keep your habit sated. In the case of greed, you either hit the wall (the IRS and/or FBI takes you down), OD (get shot to pieces by the police as you try to escape capture, or by a former employee you shafted to make your pile), or go cold turkey (your mind finally defogs itself and tells you "NO MORE!").
Robin Williams once remarked that "Cocaine is God's Way of saying: 'You're making too much money!'" Well, so's a stretch in the Federal Pen for Tax Evasion, Fraud, and other financial crimes. Also, being roasted by every blogger and late-night host for your foibles should be raising a red flag about your addiction to acquistions.
All in all, money cannot buy intelligence, nor rent it. Nor can it rent-to-own good ethics, moral behavior, or a seat in Heaven after you pass into the Void.
Jesus of Nazareth said it best in the Sermon on the Mount: "The Love Of Money Is The Root Of All Evil." When Gordon Gekko was perp-walked off to prison in the movie WALL STREET, he soon knew that, contrary to what he was teaching others, Greed Isn't Good!
Were more folks to learn that lesson, the world would be a better place. But since greed destroys intelligence--some never will, until it's too late!