From NOVA To NOLA – Friends, Trains, History, Geography, And Pictures

by admin on 2017/04/28

Jimbaux is feeling miles away, you think he's got it made; he doesn't belong here.

Before we get to today’s pictures, I want to follow up on something that I wrote last time.

Enabling Work

When you read this site, when you spend hours looking at my pictures, reading my writings, and consuming any of my other work, I am engaging in a form of production and you are engaging in a form of consumption for which no money changes hands.  The developed world is changing, and, as such, the way that persons survive and consume needs to change.

Two decades ago, much of time that people now spend enriching themselves by consuming content on the internet was spent paying money to go to movies or shows.  The consumers were spending money, the people creating the shows were earning money, and the creators of those shows would then spend the money that they earned on food, housing, and other items, which would put the money right back into the pockets of those who patronized the shows in the first place.

The system is rapidly breaking down, it is in many ways a good thing, and we need to build a better world.  That’s why we need basic income, and that’s why, if you regularly consume content that I create or convey, it would be good if you could help enable my continued ability to produce such content.

Don’t you think that each person should help the world in the best way in which he can do so?  Don’t you realize that many of us can help the world far better through non-paid work than through paid work?  Don’t you also realize that we’re past the point in human history during which it was necessary for just about every able-bodied person to work a full-time job?  And don’t you think that you’d love your paid job much more if you didn’t have to spend so much time there?

The type of work that I am best suited to do, the best use of my talents, the best way for me to contribute to the world, are things for which I can’t reasonably expect to be paid money; I need money so that I can do them.  They are things that I feel that I was born to do, and that is why I will soon establish a Patreon page so that those with the means to do so – you can donate as little as $1 per month – can support my ability to do this work (by supporting my ability to stay alive.)

I have so much work to do outside of the context of a paid job!

Last time, I mentioned several things that I do with my work, several causes that I promote, etc., with the aid of that crowdfunded money.  There are some things that I forgot to mention last time!

Here the other things (in addition to what I mentioned last time) that I’d do if I were enabled to do so:

  • education about introversion and advocacy for the concerns of introverts, those with attention deficit disorder, those with autism spectrum disorder, and any non-neurotypical persons
  • related to the prior, anything that promotes an understanding that, while actions are choices, personality largely isn’t a choice, and that society shouldn’t be so needlessly harsh on those born with certain personalities, as the lack of basic income does
  • school gardening programs.
  • reform of formal education
  • making unwarranted assumptions
  • teaching photography, teaching how to see
  • teaching geography

I wish to continue to teach, and I even wish to continue to teach, among other things, the subjects that I taught in a regular school classroom; I just want to do it my own way or, at the very least, not do it in the very strict confines of a traditional factory-style classroom that is no longer appropriate for the 21st Century.

Also, last time, I made an entreaty to Trump voters and Trump supporters, attempting to address the legitimate underlying causes of Trumpism for which Trump voters picked an awful “solution”; I wish to say more about that, make more entreaties, but I’ll save that for after the pictures.

We must work things out; first, though, we must look at some pictures.

Foam The Bern

NOVA Friend Visits His NOLA Friend

My Northern Virginia pal Bernie, whom I knew from many social gatherings in Washington, D.C., was in town for a job-related conference, and he suggested that we meet up.  So, we did!  He wanted me to show him “your New Orleans,” knowing that I wouldn’t disappoint, and knowing that it would involve some trains; also, while I’m not against the bar scene anymore (even though I’ve surely outgrown it), Bernie’s flight left at 18:00, meaning that we’d be doing just daytime activities, with him needing to be at the airport at 16:30.

Some time at around 09:30, I picked him up at his hotel on Canal Street downtown.  We went down Canal Street, past the Jefferson Davis monument with protesters standing by it, and Bernie, being of Northern Virginia, knew all about the situation here and about the cult of The Lost Cause, who have now infiltrated New Orleans to ‘protect’ these pieces of rock that the democratically-elected city council voted six-to-one to remove.

Gosh, get these “outside agitator” white supremacist protesters out of here!

We turned right (north) onto North Carrollton Avenue, and then another right onto Orleans Avenue so that he could see the American Can Company building and Bayou St. John, which we crossed, then took a left on Moss Street to Esplanade Avenue, where we then passed the P. G. T. Beauregard monument to go into City Park at the New Orleans Museum Of Art, where I stopped so that we could see the park and munch on a sandwich that Bernie had from a food-serving establishment near his hotel.

From there, we circled around the museum, exited south on Wisner Boulevard, and either went up N. Carrollton Avenue to take a right on Orleans Avenue or went right on City Park Avenue.  I don’t remember, but, then, we went north on Marconi Drive to Navarre, then Canal Boulevard to I-610.

My plan here was to then get on I-10 and go across the river on the Crescent City Connection bridge, but, as we passed under the Norfolk Southern Back Belt track, we spied a military train!

So, we turned back to go east and found that the train stopped somewhere, perhaps at Marconi, due to clogged traffic ahead.

So, while we were doing this, we kept going to the east and saw more trains, including the CSX’s CN transfer run stopped at NE Tower.  Since I was here, I decided that we’d just go to the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad’s France Yard.

Expect The Unexpected

I figured that going south through the yard would give me an opportunity to show Bernie the Upper Ninth Ward before we hopped back on the freeway to go across the river, but, as we here heading that way, we saw this.

NS’s morningly job from Oliver Yard to the yard in Arabi was stopped at France Road waiting on the Inner-Harbor Navigational Canal Bridge to align for railroad and automobile traffic.  Well, this was an appropriate way to start the pictures for the day, since Bernie and I chased an NS local – a work train, really – in northern Virginia.

Also, that picture might be the first time that I have photographed that new track that was added there on the right, an apparent lead from an apparent connecting track that was apparently being built between the Chalmette Branch and the NO&NE mainline, apparently for some new unit train business, but, apparently, construction may have stopped, as the track looks the same as it did months ago, and I don’t see any workers in the area; so, apparently, the hoped-for unit train business may not materialize.

Take Advantage Of The Unexpected

My desire to get another shot of this train at another location led me to a bright idea.  As I told Bernie with a laugh, if we chase this train just for the short distance that it will travel, that act would put us very close to the location of the main portion of the Battle of New Orleans, the Chalmette battlefield.  Bernie seemed to like that idea, and I figured that we’d still have time to get to the West Bank, but I was starting to wonder if we’d have time to get to one a-little-bit-out-of-the-way place that I wanted to take Bernie, where I love taking visitors.

Anyway, once we were able to cross the canal into the Lower Ninth Ward, I decided to do what I recall to be moderately decent view at Caffin Avenue only to discover that, since my last visit here, some legal access to the other side of the track in the form of a conservation-themed overlook to the body of water north of here had been built, enabling this shot to happen.

I like it!  This is a new shot in New Orleans at a time in my life in which I think that I’ve done just about all of the good railroad photography that there is to do in the New Orleans area (which is one of several reasons that I hardly do it anymore.)

This would be worth revisiting some time.  Now, let’s get a closer look at some of the cars.

I don’t know if these are cars for the sugar refinery, cars of fertilizer going to the port, or something else, but all are going to some industry along the Mississippi River.

Remember this: it’s all about the river.

After the train passes, let’s have a look to the north.

Try as he might, man cannot defy nature forever.

Eventually, nature always wins, but, in the meantime, there are lives to live.

A Historic Diversion

So, we went to the battlefield, my first time in St. Bernard Parish in a long time.

This is kind of funny, since this is happening right as the Confederate monuments are about to be removed, because, as someone who publicly argues for the monuments to be removed, I frequently get the stupid “you know history,” “you don’t care about history,” “you can’t change history,” “you’re scared of history,” etc. comments thrown at me.

It’s so stupid.  Yeah, dude, I “hate history,” or whatever.  I mean, I’ve been to Antietam, I’ve been to Manassas, I’ve been to Gettysburg (twice), I’ve been to Shiloh, I’ve been to Andersonville, I’ve been to Vicksburg, and that’s just for the Civil War.

I’ve also been to Fort Ticonderoga, Fort Barrancas, Fort Jackson, Omaha Beach, El Obispado, and probably some other battle locations that I have forgotten.

I’ve also been to countless historic sites over five countries, numerous museums, and have explored old abandoned and barely discernable railroad roadbeds and other such things.

But, yeah, cynical people defending white supremacist monuments, tell me more about how I “hate history,” or whatever.

Many visitors come here.

The British forces were coming to capture New Orleans to control the Mississippi River; remember, it’s all about the river.

This plantation-style house was built not long after the battle; as it played no part in the battle because it didn’t exist then, we didn’t care enough to enter it, but that doesn’t mean that we hate history!

It just means that we have a limited amount of time together today and have plenty of other things to do, and, as you’ll see, the day was action packed.

First, though, we climb the levee by the battlefield to get a glimpse of what is happening on the river.

Yes, here is a container ship bound for the Port Of New Orleans, because, as you might have heard, it’s all about the river.

If only we had a leader who understood free trade and didn’t have a zero-sum view of all human interactions.

Instead, those who see entertainment and education as two separate things voted a like-minded person to the highest office in the world, and, speaking of that mindset, while we’re standing on this levee, let’s photograph something else.

I’m probably being unfair, but I’ve just come to associate that view with gambling, something that I see not only as a waste of money but simultaneously a waste of human potential.

Barges are better.

Climbing back down off of the levee, we get two more views of the battlefield before leaving.

The key to understanding what happened at the Battle of New Orleans is the canal whose remains are seen here in this view looking away from the river, as that – the Rodriguez Canal – was where the American line, under the steadfast and determined leadership of General Andrew Jackson, held.  The British soldiers were basically ambushed  in the attempt to cross the canal, and their commanding officer, General Pakenham, was killed in the battle.

As we drove across the battlefield on our way out, I stopped to get this image, looking westward of the monument, the visitors center (where we had a nice chat with the ranger), the Chalmette Slip, and the Domino Sugars refinery.

Park ranger is a good example of a government job that has plenty of intrinsic motivation, and, in a world with unconditional basic income, it’s likely that park ranger salaries could be reduced by almost the amount of the basic income.

Zig A Zag

Next, we went west on St. Claude to the Alabo Street Wharf, where I saw no railroad cars spotted.  Then, we went via Caffin Avenue to Claiborne Avenue, went west, crossed the canal that Bernie thought was the Mississippi River, and then went north on Poland Avenue back toward the tracks to find our military train or whatever else we could find.

Well, It’s Not What We Were Seeking, But It’s Worth Shooting

Sitting at Alvar Street was the CSX CN transfer that we had seen earlier at NE Tower; so, we knew that our military train had not gotten this far (unless it went around the first train on the other mainline, but that’s not likely.)

So, we then had time to photograph an NOPB job working the northern throat of France Yard.

The NOPB 2008 was kicking some hopper cars.

The whole process is kicking up some dust, too!

That sedan on the other side can’t seem to wait.

This location, to me, is somewhat iconic of railroading in the New Orleans area.

It helps that this is a local, hometown railroad with a unique paint scheme.

Okay, that’s enough of that.

Standard Fare

If you have followed this publication for a long time, then you no doubt have seen several images of the CSX CN transfer run returning to CSX Gentilly Yard at this location, and, here and now, you shall again see it.

This almost certainly means that our military train is still behind the train that is behind this train, and the funny thing here is that it was Bernie who had to remind me that there was another train (one of the UP-to-CSX manifest trains) between this train and the military train!  I am training him well!  Foam The Bern!

Sure Enough . . .

As we went west on Florida Avenue, past Franklin Avenue, I told Bernie that around that bend ahead under the Elysian Fields overpass would be our military train, and, sure enough, it was.  It was stopped waiting on the train ahead of it to move, but that train was starting to move.

So, it was time to scale the overpass, just to get a shot of the parked train at least and hope that it would move.  Here is the parked train.

I don’t like the Frenchmen Street signal blocking the view of the train; so, I hoped that the train would move, but I didn’t want to stand up here very long with a visitor when we had other places to visit.

Five minutes later, the train is moving.

After we saw the place where Jackson’s American army faced east against the westward moving British, we see American military tanks moving east.

Yes, I really didn’t do well with the color corrections here.  It’s high sun, and it’s the best that I can do.  So, deal with it.

I think that Bernie liked this!

I like the long view of uniform carloads.

Without a telephoto lens, standing right over the track was a better place for Bernie to be.

But, of course, I had to join him there.

And, finally, we get the view that I posted on Facebook that night.

I don’t know if that is too weird for you.

Oh, well, I’m glad that we saw this.

Okay, let’s get another shot and get out of here.

We looked to the east to L&N Junction to verify that this train was going to the CSX (and not to the NS), at which point I told Bernie that he was looking at the southwestern corner of CSX’s vast empire, and then we quickly hopped on I-10 to get toward downtown to get across the river.  I pointed out the Robert E. Lee monument, which is soon to be removed.

Soon, we were on the W’ank.

Algiers Point

Algiers Point, the oldest portion of Algiers, the portion of the city of New Orleans on the western bank of the Mississippi River (remember, it’s all about the river), is a place that I don’t often take visitors, but maybe I should.  I took Bernie there, since it was only a slight diversion from where else I wanted to take him, and he wanted to get out to shoot this interesting phone booth look in front of this bar.

No, we didn’t stop to do the view of the city from the riverfront here, because there is a better one just west of here where I was to take Bernie.


I was really hungry!  We went to the Common Ground Café in Gretna, which is right by the NOGC track, in the middle of the neat downtown of Gretna.

That was good.

Remember, It’s All About The River

So, then, from the restaurant, with full stomachs, we walked to the river to get some of my favorite views of the city.

This is where I often take visitors.

The confluence of so many trends of my adulthood occurs at around this location.

The lighting wasn’t great for this view, by my piece of 2 November 2013 pictures not only shows this scene in better lighting but also some scenes already seen today, including that of St. Bernard Parish, possibly the last time prior to today that I took pictures there.

I apologize for the repetitive pictures, but here comes a ship, something else to photograph!

Yeah, don’t you like transportation devices?

I did show you some shrimp boat action fewer than two weeks ago.

Well, this was fun, and, remember, it’s all about the river.


Next, we went west via River Road, didn’t stop at the overlook at the beginning of the Harvey Canal, saw the old Celotx plant, then took a little diversion through downtown Westwego to see the old church, the old school, and the fish market, then toward the Huey P. Long Bridge.  Perhaps I should have crossed the river here, but I elected to show Bernie Avondale Yard, which didn’t take long but which ate up valuable time.  We then returned to Bridge City, crossed the Mississippi River – again, it’s all about the river – on the impressive Huey P. Long Bridge, saw a train on it, and then got on the Earhart Expressway to get west as fast as we could.

As I expected, the early Friday afternoon westbound traffic was bad, and I was really wondering if we’d have time to get to the place where I wanted to last take Bernie.  Sometime slightly after 15:30, we passed the airport, meaning that we’d have less than an hour to get right back to this spot.

It’s All About Preventing River Flooding

We did it.  We got to the Bonnet Carré Spillway some time around 15:50.

We got there just in time for me to pop off these two not-all-that-great images of Kansas City Southern Railway’s southbound Baton Rouge turn crossing the spillway.

Yes, that’s the IC Baton Rouge District Bridge in the foreground.  I’ve long wondered what this shot would look like, and I have now found out; it’s not that great, but, hey, at least I tried.

Anyway, here at the main entrance to the spillway in Norco, I was able to explain the spillway to Bernie and how it works.  Regular readers of this publication know that it is a frequent photographic subject of mine.

We made our way to the other side – the upriver side – of the spillway.  I got another image of another ship, this one apparently anchored, in the river.

I think that I might have mentioned something about this being all about the river.

Here is what is known as the forebay, the area leading up from the river to the spillway gates.

The water is high, but not quite high enough to reach the gates.

Here is a photographic lesson in optics and focus, not just focus in terms of optics but focus in terms of the agenda of the photographer.

Here, we see the same basic composition, but the focus of the image above is Bernie, while the focus of the image below is the piece of machinery that works the spillway needles.

Okay, it’s now well after 16:00, and we need to leave and quickly make our way to the airport.  Here’s one more shot before we leave.

Also, on our way out (hee hee ! ), here’s a view of the Kansas City Southern Railway bridge over the spillway, on which that train that we saw a few minutes ago had traveled.

After this, there were no more problems, and I got Bernie to the airport no later than about 16:40, about 10 minutes behind schedule, but still acceptable enough for him to get through security with plenty of time to spare before his 18:00 flight.

It was great to see an old friend, and I hope to do it again the next time that he comes to town, or if I’m ever by DC again.

Thanks, Bernie.

Errands And Goals

I had an errand to run to Clearview.  I seem to vaguely recall that we had seen CN train L516 coming into Mays Yard when we passed this way on our way to the spillway.  So, I figured that by about the time that I got my errands done that it would be ready to depart back up river, and I figured right!

Here is the L516 at Williams Boulevard in Kenner.

This train originates in Geismar.  The train that leaves Geismar contains cars that originate at the many chemical plants and refineries along the eastern bank of the river around Geismar and Baton Rouge, works Reserve and Destrehan for all of the plants along the river there, comes to Mays Yard in Metairie, drops off all of these cars, picks up cars going in the other direction, with the inverted process going back the other way.

So, understand, it’s really all about the river.

This was my chance to do a shot that I had had in mind before but had never done, a shot at Hollandey Street, and I got there and got this shot with no time at all to spare.

Well, that wasn’t bad, and that was a good way to end the day, a day in which I got two new shots and got to hang out with an old friend!

That’s all for the pictures.


As always in these contemporary postings, I have plenty to say!  (Remember, I keep the focus narrowed in those anniversarial posts; if you see a date in the title of an article on this site, it’s almost certainly devoid of much ‘political’ content.)

Entreaties To Trump Voters – And Potential Bernie Sanders Voters

I mentioned something about an entreaty to Trump voters.  Last time, I asked any Trump voters reading this a few questions.

Do you feel like you’ve played by the rules and are still getting a raw deal?  If so, what, exactly, do you mean by that?

Do you feel like you’re not able to succeed based on the expectations that you had a few decades ago, and-or the expectations that you would, just like each succeeding generation is better off than the generation before it, be economically and materially better off than your parents?

Please let me know, and, if you answered yes to any of those questions, I not only sympathize with you but also wish to present a remedy.

My theory, as might be ascertained by my questions, is that you see a falloff in the trajectory of the generation-by-generation increases in prosperity and in the standard of living.  Is this so?

My theory, as it relates to what I think are destructive voting choices, is that you don’t understand the cause of this otherwise legitimate problem and are, worse, blaming the wrong things, persons, and forces for it.

I have come across some evidence for my theory.

In the 1960s researchers in sociology and political science applied the concept of the revolution of rising expectations to explain not only the attractiveness of communism in many third world countries but also revolutions in general, for example, the French, American, Russian, and Mexican revolutions. In 1969 James C. Davies used those cases to illustrate his J-curve hypothesis, a formal model of the relationships among rising expectations, their level of satisfaction, and revolutionary upheavals. He proposed that revolution is likely when, after a long period of rising expectations accompanied by a parallel increase in their satisfaction, a downturn occurs. When perceptions of need satisfaction decrease but expectations continue to rise, a widening gap is created between expectations and reality. That gap eventually becomes intolerable and sets the stage for rebellion against a social system that fails to fulfill its promises.

The Cuban revolution, the communist insurgency in the Dominican Republic, and several leftist movements in Latin America were attributed to unfulfilled expectations, as was the electoral success of leftist parties such as the election of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala (1950) and Salvador Allende in Chile (1970). At the heart of this reasoning was the assumption that the frustration of unfulfilled expectations leads to aggressive behavior, which can be manifested in political rebellion or electoral change.

All of this makes sense.  Brown people, “illegals,” Muslims, “liberals,” etc. are not the sources of your problems.  In terms of monetary income, your parents did better than their parents, who did better than their parents, who did better than their parents, etc., but you’re thinking that you’re not going to do as well or much better than your parents, and, at the rate that they are going, your children will not do as well as you.

This isn’t part of some grand scheme to harm you, either by poor brown people or by wealthy elites.  Rather, it is the natural outcome of an evermore technologizing economy.  Your standard of living kept increasing because technology got better and better year after year, but, in a world in which paid jobs are required even for mere survival, that same ever-improving technology meant that the good old jobs of the past, the income from which you paid for the fruits of that standard of living, are ever less common.  I so wish that you would see that high levels of unemployment and underemployment are signs that the economy is very efficient, that it is making more and more stuff with fewer and fewer human labor inputs.

Furthermore, people who get public assistance checks spend the money, and usually all of it, meaning that the money goes right back into the economy so that people with jobs and businesses can earn that money; so, people getting public assistance checks, whether or not they ‘deserve’ it, are not in any way harming you, but it is still unfair to you, because they get the benefits while you don’t.

It’s not zero sum.  It’s not “taking” X amount of dollars from you and “giving” it to others.  In a market economy based on specialization of labor, there is no point in doing some specific task for money if there aren’t people with money to spend on it in the first place, regardless of how they get it.

I know that you’re conditioned to think that hard work and skill and nothing else predicts monetary success, but that is just not true.

In a market economy, the existence of other people doesn’t marginalize you.  The existence of other people is the existence of more people who can buy what you are making.

Imagine if you had a billion dollars.  Imagine what you and your family could and would do with that money.

Now, imagine if you had a billion dollars, but you and your family were the only human beings in existence.  Now what?

There is no reason to think that we can’t afford basic income when we’re making so much more stuff with fewer and fewer labor inputs; it’s the fact of the growing scarcity of good jobs that shows that we can afford basic income and that, furthermore, basic income would benefit anyone who has a job and anyone who wants a job, not only through increased wages due to the ability to say no but also through increased earnings due to the establishment of a solid and permanent market.

All of this might sound unpleasantly like “government handouts” to you, but when you keep demanding that the government use force to “bring back jobs” that the free market no longer needs, which is a demand to be paid money to do something that doesn’t need to be done (by a human being or at all), you are asking for handouts there, too.  This is especially true when your reasons for your “bring back jobs” position is due (probably subconsciously) to some desire to maintain a social hierarchy; yeah, it’s not only money that some of you want with that “bring back jobs” talk.

Voting for Trump just makes all of this worse.

And Trump has given plenty of indication that he doesn’t realize that demand drives the economy.  I cannot enough stress that you can’t earn money in a paid job if people don’t have money to spend on what that job makes, and the purpose of a paid job is for something to be made, not for you to get money.

I know that many of you don’t want to give up your old “dignified” jobs to do a job in the modern economy that you feel debases you or that isn’t the best use of your talent.  With basic income, you wouldn’t need to do such jobs just to survive; you could let those jobs fall to people whose personalities match them, but if you don’t like that that means that service industry persons would have more money than you, then, yes, as I said earlier, this Trump vote was, for you, more about your position in a social hierarchy than it was about money, and that is something that you can’t really defend.

You Made Things Worse

Voting for Trump was in no way worth the debasement to all of us that it caused.

It wasn’t worth destabilizing the world and permanently eroding the trust that the rest of the world placed in the United States.

It wasn’t worth turning the American Presidency into a vain reality TV spectacle.

And, now, Trump is complaining that the job is harder than he thought it would be, that he misses his old life.  HELLO!

This is the Presidency; you actually have to think and be educated.

Why do you do this?  Why?  Why vote to harm yourselves?

Can you Trump voters please explain why you vote to harm yourselves?

Why did you vote for racism and adolescent cruelty?

Why did you vote for someone who so clearly cares more about his image than about governing or ideology?

Why did you fall for the age old divide-and-conquer games from the powerful?

As I wrote with the basic income piece, you fell for the age old idea that those less fortunate than you are somehow the cause of your problems, an idea that just doesn’t pass a logic test but that certainly appeals to your emotions!

Why did you vote for someone so damned dumb?

Why did you vote for someone so dangerous and unstable?

Why did you vote for someone so hypocritical and tribalistic?

Why did farmers fall for a guy who so obviously displayed that he’d be against their interests with trade policy and immigration?

Why are you so cruel?  Don’t you understand specialization of labor?  Don’t you understand that money put into the hands of medical professionals and medical parts suppliers creates jobs?

Why? Why enable such needless cruelty?

That’s enough.  What a heck of a month April has been, right?  I took out my camera a few times for big adventures, and the world crumbles.

Let’s hope that all of us can do better.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Gary McMills June 12, 2017 at 14:15

“Francisco’s Money Speech”

Atlas Shrugged

The following is an excerpt from Atlas Shrugged, © Copyright, 1957, by Ayn Rand. It is reprinted in Capitalism Magazine by permission of the Estate of Ayn Rand.May not be reproduced elsewhere without the permission of her Estate.

“So you think that money is the root of all evil?” said Francisco d’Anconia. “Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?

“When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the effort of others. It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money. Not an ocean of tears not all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of paper, which should have been gold, are a token of honor–your claim upon the energy of the men who produce. Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world around you there are men who will not default on that moral principle which is the root of money, Is this what you consider evil?

“Have you ever looked for the root of production? Take a look at an electric generator and dare tell yourself that it was created by the muscular effort of unthinking brutes. Try to grow a seed of wheat without the knowledge left to you by men who had to discover it for the first time. Try to obtain your food by means of nothing but physical motions–and you’ll learn that man’s mind is the root of all the goods produced and of all the wealth that has ever existed on earth.

“But you say that money is made by the strong at the expense of the weak? What strength do you mean? It is not the strength of guns or muscles. Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think. Then is money made by the man who invents a motor at the expense of those who did not invent it? Is money made by the intelligent at the expense of the fools? By the able at the expense of the incompetent? By the ambitious at the expense of the lazy? Money is made–before it can be looted or mooched–made by the effort of every honest man, each to the extent of his ability. An honest man is one who knows that he can’t consume more than he has produced.’

“To trade by means of money is the code of the men of good will. Money rests on the axiom that every man is the owner of his mind and his effort. Money allows no power to prescribe the value of your effort except the voluntary choice of the man who is willing to trade you his effort in return. Money permits you to obtain for your goods and your labor that which they are worth to the men who buy them, but no more. Money permits no deals except those to mutual benefit by the unforced judgment of the traders. Money demands of you the recognition that men must work for their own benefit, not for their own injury, for their gain, not their loss–the recognition that they are not beasts of burden, born to carry the weight of your misery–that you must offer them values, not wounds–that the common bond among men is not the exchange of suffering, but the exchange of goods. Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men’s stupidity, but your talent to their reason; it demands that you buy, not the shoddiest they offer, but the best that your money can find. And when men live by trade–with reason, not force, as their final arbiter–it is the best product that wins, the best performance, the man of best judgment and highest ability–and the degree of a man’s productiveness is the degree of his reward. This is the code of existence whose tool and symbol is money. Is this what you consider evil?

“But money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver. It will give you the means for the satisfaction of your desires, but it will not provide you with desires. Money is the scourge of the men who attempt to reverse the law of causality–the men who seek to replace the mind by seizing the products of the mind.

“Money will not purchase happiness for the man who has no concept of what he wants: money will not give him a code of values, if he’s evaded the knowledge of what to value, and it will not provide him with a purpose, if he’s evaded the choice of what to seek. Money will not buy intelligence for the fool, or admiration for the coward, or respect for the incompetent. The man who attempts to purchase the brains of his superiors to serve him, with his money replacing his judgment, ends up by becoming the victim of his inferiors. The men of intelligence desert him, but the cheats and the frauds come flocking to him, drawn by a law which he has not discovered: that no man may be smaller than his money. Is this the reason why you call it evil?

“Only the man who does not need it, is fit to inherit wealth–the man who would make his own fortune no matter where he started. If an heir is equal to his money, it serves him; if not, it destroys him. But you look on and you cry that money corrupted him. Did it? Or did he corrupt his money? Do not envy a worthless heir; his wealth is not yours and you would have done no better with it. Do not think that it should have been distributed among you; loading the world with fifty parasites instead of one, would not bring back the dead virtue which was the fortune. Money is a living power that dies without its root. Money will not serve the mind that cannot match it. Is this the reason why you call it evil?

“Money is your means of survival. The verdict you pronounce upon the source of your livelihood is the verdict you pronounce upon your life. If the source is corrupt, you have damned your own existence. Did you get your money by fraud? By pandering to men’s vices or men’s stupidity? By catering to fools, in the hope of getting more than your ability deserves? By lowering your standards? By doing work you despise for purchasers you scorn? If so, then your money will not give you a moment’s or a penny’s worth of joy. Then all the things you buy will become, not a tribute to you, but a reproach; not an achievement, but a reminder of shame. Then you’ll scream that money is evil. Evil, because it would not pinch-hit for your self-respect? Evil, because it would not let you enjoy your depravity? Is this the root of your hatred of money?

“Money will always remain an effect and refuse to replace you as the cause. Money is the product of virtue, but it will not give you virtue and it will not redeem your vices. Money will not give you the unearned, neither in matter nor in spirit. Is this the root of your hatred of money?

“Or did you say it’s the love of money that’s the root of all evil? To love a thing is to know and love its nature. To love money is to know and love the fact that money is the creation of the best power within you, and your passkey to trade your effort for the effort of the best among men. It’s the person who would sell his soul for a nickel, who is loudest in proclaiming his hatred of money–and he has good reason to hate it. The lovers of money are willing to work for it. They know they are able to deserve it.

“Let me give you a tip on a clue to men’s characters: the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it.

“Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper’s bell of an approaching looter. So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another–their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun.

“But money demands of you the highest virtues, if you wish to make it or to keep it. Men who have no courage, pride or self-esteem, men who have no moral sense of their right to their money and are not willing to defend it as they defend their life, men who apologize for being rich–will not remain rich for long. They are the natural bait for the swarms of looters that stay under rocks for centuries, but come crawling out at the first smell of a man who begs to be forgiven for the guilt of owning wealth. They will hasten to relieve him of the guilt–and of his life, as he deserves.

“Then you will see the rise of the men of the double standard–the men who live by force, yet count on those who live by trade to create the value of their looted money–the men who are the hitchhikers of virtue. In a moral society, these are the criminals, and the statutes are written to protect you against them. But when a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law–men who use force to seize the wealth of disarmed victims–then money becomes its creators’ avenger. Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they’ve passed a law to disarm them. But their loot becomes the magnet for other looters, who get it from them as they got it. Then the race goes, not to the ablest at production, but to those most ruthless at brutality. When force is the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket. And then that society vanishes, in a spread of ruins and slaughter.

“Do you wish to know whether that day is coming? Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion–when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing–when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors–when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you–when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice–you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that is does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.

“Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money is men’s protection and the base of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into the arbitrary power of an arbitrary setter of values. Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth produced. Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it. Paper is a check drawn by legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the victims. Watch for the day when it bounces, marked, ‘Account overdrawn.’

“When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded. Do not ask, ‘Who is destroying the world? You are.

“You stand in the midst of the greatest achievements of the greatest productive civilization and you wonder why it’s crumbling around you, while you’re damning its life-blood–money. You look upon money as the savages did before you, and you wonder why the jungle is creeping back to the edge of your cities. Throughout men’s history, money was always seized by looters of one brand or another, whose names changed, but whose method remained the same: to seize wealth by force and to keep the producers bound, demeaned, defamed, deprived of honor. That phrase about the evil of money, which you mouth with such righteous recklessness, comes from a time when wealth was produced by the labor of slaves–slaves who repeated the motions once discovered by somebody’s mind and left unimproved for centuries. So long as production was ruled by force, and wealth was obtained by conquest, there was little to conquer, Yet through all the centuries of stagnation and starvation, men exalted the looters, as aristocrats of the sword, as aristocrats of birth, as aristocrats of the bureau, and despised the producers, as slaves, as traders, as shopkeepers–as industrialists.

“To the glory of mankind, there was, for the first and only time in history, a country of money–and I have no higher, more reverent tribute to pay to America, for this means: a country of reason, justice, freedom, production, achievement. For the first time, man’s mind and money were set free, and there were no fortunes-by-conquest, but only fortunes-by-work, and instead of swordsmen and slaves, there appeared the real maker of wealth, the greatest worker, the highest type of human being–the self-made man–the American industrialist.

“If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose–because it contains all the others–the fact that they were the people who created the phrase ‘to make money.’ No other language or nation had ever used these words before; men had always thought of wealth as a static quantity–to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created. The words ‘to make money’ hold the essence of human morality.

“Yet these were the words for which Americans were denounced by the rotted cultures of the looters’ continents. Now the looters’ credo has brought you to regard your proudest achievements as a hallmark of shame, your prosperity as guilt, your greatest men, the industrialists, as blackguards, and your magnificent factories as the product and property of muscular labor, the labor of whip-driven slaves, like the pyramids of Egypt. The rotter who simpers that he sees no difference between the power of the dollar and the power of the whip, ought to learn the difference on his own hide– as, I think, he will.

“Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction. When money ceases to be the tool by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of men. Blood, whips and guns–or dollars. Take your choice–there is no other–and your time is running out.”

The following is an excerpt from Atlas Shrugged, © Copyright, 1957, by Ayn Rand. It is reprinted in Capitalism Magazine by permission of the Estate of Ayn Rand.May not be reproduced elsewhere without the permission of her Estate.


2 JBX June 12, 2017 at 17:54

Yes, that is both how and why unconditional basic income would work. Money is the most efficient means for making the system work for all, as it sends both appropriate market signals and appropriate rewards to producers.


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