Though this play of The Millionairess does not pretend to be
anything more than a comedy of humorous and curious contemporary
characters, such as Ben Jonson might write...
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The Millionairess

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Though this play of The Millionairess does not pretend to be
anything more than a comedy of humorous and curious contemporary
characters, such as Ben Jonson might write were he alive now, yet
it raises a question that has troubled human life and moulded human
society since the creation.

The law is equal before all of us; but we are not all equal before
the law. Virtually there is one law for the rich and another for
the poor, one law for the cunning and another for the simple, one
law for the forceful and another for the feeble, one law for the
ignorant and another for the learned, one law for the brave and
another for the timid, and within family limits one law for the
parent and no law at all for the child.

In the humblest cabin that contains a family you may find a
maƮtresse femme who rules in the household by a sort of divine
right. She may rule amiably by being able to think more quickly
and see further than the others, or she may be a tyrant ruling
violently by intensity of will and ruthless egotism. She may be a
grandmother and she may be a girl. But the others find they are
unable to resist her. Often of course the domestic tyrant is a
man; but the phenomenon is not so remarkable in his case, as he is
by convention the master and lawgiver of the hearthstone.

In every business street you will find a shopkeeper who is always
in difficulties and ends his business adventures in the bankruptcy
court. Hard by you will find another shopkeeper, with no greater
advantages to start with, or possibly less, who makes larger and
larger profits, and inspires more and more confidence in his
banker, until he ends as the millionaire head of a giant multiple

How does the captain of a pirate ship obtain his position and
maintain his authority over a crew of scoundrels who are all, like
himself, outside the law? How does an obscure village priest, the
son of humble fisherfolk, come to wear the triple crown and sit in
the papal chair? How do common soldiers become Kings, Shahs, and
Dictators? Why does a hereditary peer find that he is a nonentity
in a grand house organized and ruled by his butler?

Questions like these force themselves on us so continually and
ruthlessly that many turn in despair from Socialism and political
reform on the ground that to abolish all the institutional
tyrannies would only deliver the country helplessly into the hands
of the born bosses. A king, a prelate, a squire, a capitalist, a
justice of the peace may be a good kind Christian soul, owing his
position, as most of us do, to being the son of his father; but a
born boss is one who rides roughshod over us by some mysterious
power that separates him from our species and makes us fear him:
that is, hate him.

What is to be done with that section of the possessors of specific
talents whose talent is for moneymaking? History and daily
experience teach us that if the world does not devise some plan of
ruling them, they will rule the world. Now it is not desirable
that they should rule the world; for the secret of moneymaking is
to care for nothing else and to work at nothing else; and as the
world's welfare depends on operations by which no individual can
make money, whilst its ruin by war and drink and disease and drugs
and debauchery is enormously profitable to moneymakers, the
supremacy of the moneymaker is the destruction of the State. A
society which depends on the incentive of private profit is doomed.

And what about ambitious people who possess commanding business
ability or military genius or both? They are irresistible unless
they are restrained by law; for ordinary individuals are helpless
in their hands. Are they to be the masters of society or its
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940013677838
  • Publisher: WDS Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/17/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 860,488
  • File size: 91 KB

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