True Heroes

by Don Boudreaux on September 30, 2009

in History

Historian extraordinaire Steve Davies sings the praises of true, unsung heroes.

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Anonymous September 30, 2009 at 9:27 pm

But our school system quit teaching this kind of story long ago, and it isn’t to our credit that we let it happen.

Now you can sit in the midst of the product of our education system and hear them chant, “We gotta kill capitalism”.

Anonymous September 30, 2009 at 10:43 pm

I’m sympathetic to what you say, but when I think back to when I was a kid, my facility with abstract concepts was pretty limited, and I was much more attracted to adventure, danger, monsters, feats of skill and strength, fearlessness, elaborate machines, etc.–and by a certain age, the opposite sex. Sports, war, power, and intrigue simply have wider appeal.

Anonymous September 30, 2009 at 11:54 pm

I had three older brothers, each spaced 2 years apart. From my earliest memory reading was the order of the day. I didn’t see a TV until I was 14, thank God.I can’t tell you how many biographical stories I read about people like Mr. Tata, Andrew Carnegie for one example. In those days an industrialist like Carnegie was considered a hero (libraries all across America were his giving back), unlike today when his memory is reviled by socialist idiots. With those 3 older brothers I not only read about heros, I lived the adventure, danger, monsters, feats of skill and strength, fearlessness, and elaborate experiments with explosives, weapons, and architecture. In the country outside of Austin, and in the Sonora deserts kids can do anything damn thing they pleased and if they didn’t kill themselves, oh well. The learning experiences were tremendous.But that is by-the-by, instead of singing praises to a man who only has the color of his skin as a qualification, if the little kiddies were taught about people like Tata and Carnegie perhaps they would grow up with their heads screwed on straight instead of becoming little Nazis or little Red Pioneers.

Gil October 1, 2009 at 1:39 am

“libraries all across America were his giving back.”

Why what did Carnegie steal that he feels the need to ‘give back’. Wasn’t his cheap steel ‘giving enough’?

Sam Grove October 1, 2009 at 2:19 am

Are you competing with muirgeo for the stupidity award?

Carnegie could not consume all his wealth, so what was left for an old man to do with it?

Anonymous October 1, 2009 at 3:20 pm

In the town of Eindhoven, in the south of the Netherlands, there is a statue of Frits Philips:

and one of Anton Philips, his father

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Gil October 1, 2009 at 5:19 am

Why? Carnegie wasn’t a thief hence he had no to duty to ‘give back’. This guy puts it better:

“My guess is that despite his intelligence, expertise, and generally affable, self-deprecating manner, Buffett is profoundly misanthropic. Like Gates, Buffett has a classic anticapitalistic, limousine-liberal mentality toward money. He says imbecilic things like, “The market system has not worked in terms of poor people” (on a recent “Charlie Rose” show). That matches Bill’s incredibly hackneyed and politically correct press conference statement: “We really owe it to society to give back.” No, you idiot savant, society — which is largely composed of nonentities who produce no more than they need to survive personally (if that) — owes you a huge debt for your work with computers. I’m just sorry you’re not actually worthy.

Many people of great wealth seem uncomfortable with money, a feeling which perhaps underlies their pathological urge to hand it over to the undeserving. Andrew Carnegie was another sufferer: “A man who dies wealthy, dies disgraced.” Discomfort with wealth is among the many reasons the Orient will overwhelm the West in the next few generations. Buffett’s and Gates’ grandchildren may be working as maids and houseboys for the Chinese. A rich Chinese wouldn’t dream of leaving his money to a charity, to be dissipated by the do-gooders, world-improvers, socialites, and socialists who almost invariably infest the board of charities.”

Anonymous October 1, 2009 at 7:52 am

I never did like the phrase “giving back”. As usually used it is literally false, and almost always betrays misguided notions. If it pleases someone to engage in some activity, they should just say so instead of concocting some nonexistent debt.

Sam Grove October 1, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Actually Gil, I misread your comment, perhaps reading it too quickly, I got the impression somehow that you were suggesting that he had “stolen” his wealth. My apologies.

Sam Grove October 1, 2009 at 2:06 pm

There is a problem with accumulation of vast wealth.
You can spoil your family if you give it to them, if you indulge in charitable giving, you must be uncomfortable with wealth, etc.
If you invest it, you are liable to make more money, if you give it to the government, it will be wasted, etc.

Perhaps it should all be converted to cash an burnt in a funeral pyre.
That way it would counteract the depredations of the central bank and be a small benefit to all.

To call it another way, you can’t take your entitlement to consume with you when you die.

Anonymous October 1, 2009 at 3:43 pm


Your first instinct was correct. There is enough ignorance/stupidity wrapped up in Gil’s short comment to justify dismissing him, again.

The word steal was the disingenuous toss out by Gil with no real intent to add a thing of value, or even comic relief, to the discussion.

Gil October 1, 2009 at 3:54 pm

Oh do elaborate O Wise One! Did you even the link I posted? It’s from a Libertarian site, honest!

Gil October 1, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Did you even the -read- link I posted?

* sigh * :(

Sam Grove October 1, 2009 at 7:45 pm

Gil neglected to place a comma after “Why” which may have contributed to my misreading it. He fixed that in his next reply.

His point is that Carnegie gave the world quite a bit as evidenced by his accumulated wealth.

Anonymous October 1, 2009 at 4:47 pm

All of that is true. But that does not make it a debt that you should be “giving back”.

Anonymous October 1, 2009 at 7:34 pm

Sigh, no link just a quote and a sentence.

Sam Grove October 1, 2009 at 7:45 pm

I agree.

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