By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Horace on the Money Chase (Updated)

Horace (public domain)
From his Satires I:

But a good many people, misled by blind desire, say, "You cannot have enough: for you get your rating from what you have." What can you say to a man who talks thus? Bid him be miserable, since that is his whim.

Horace, Satires 1.1.61-64 (Loeb translation).

I write this from one of the most naturally impressive places in North America--Traverse City and its environs. The scenery is free. Yet, many are addicted to the money chase as a way to justify their lives.

We see the money chase, of course, in the business world. We also see it in that other business world known as politics, masquerading as unselfish public service. The illegal corruption of kickbacks, favors, and disguised bribery, plus the technically legal corruption of nepotism, favors, and the clever and astute piling up of pension and other government benefits. Update: For egregious examples of how our so-called "public servants" game government pension systems--even to the point of getting pensions higher than their previous salaries in addition to the usual double or triple dipping, see this Wall Street Journal exposé (June 9, 2012), at this link: State Politicians and the Public Pension Cookie Jar.

In Livy, I recall one or two instances in which a great Roman leader was said to have died without enough money to pay for his own funeral. The people then pitched in to ensure proper burial. Many of our political mediocrities are loath to follow such examples of putting integrity above venality and avarice.