Shakespeare, Franklin and Stanley Johnson
By Jeffrey Reeves MA
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
- William Shakespeare, "Hamlet," Act 1 scene 3. Greatest English dramatist & poet (1564 - 1616)
"But, ah! Think what you do when, I you run I in debt, you give to another power over your Liberty."
- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richards Almanac, c. 1758
"... How do I do it? I'm in debt up to my eyeballs. I can barely pay the finance charges. Somebody help me."
- Stanly Johnson, Lending Tree commercial, c.2005
It seems Stanley Johnson — and the rest of America, including the dolts in D.C. — paid little attention to the wisdom that Shakespeare and Franklin bequeathed to us as a legacy centuries ago.
Instead, Stanley was seduced by the siren song composed in the late 20th Century by the wonks of Wall Street and the wannabes in Washington. The lyrics go something like this:
Get stuff you don't own.
Borrow to buy it.
That proves your true worth.
Debt's a good diet.
"Invest" - do not save.
Give us all your money.
Become our good slave.
Your life will be sunny.
Having stuff you don't own and "owning" investments you don't control is a sure road to servitude, poverty and the loss of liberty. It is devoid of common sense and lacks an economic foundation.
This is conventional wisdom — The debt paradigm.
The problem here is that true intelligence — common sense — sees all sides in a debate. On the other hand, pseudo-smarts embrace a theory, elevate it on an ideological altar, and protect it by demonizing anyone that interjects a competing or alternate view.
History abounds with examples:
- The Romans of Caligula's reign
- Crusaders who ravaged the Jews of Europe en-route to a war with the Muslims of Arabia
- Nazi Germany
- Modern day fanatics who demonize those of other cultures and religions
- Corrupt unions like the SEIU, NEA, AFSCME, and others
- ACORN workers misguided by corrupt leaders
- Self-serving lobbyists like AARP masquerading as advocates
There is only one way to deal with ideologies that demand absolute adherence — and the debt paradigm is such an ideology — and that is to get real, challenge the assumptions, prove the alternatives, wake up the ideologues to the untruths that are leading them where their pseudo-leaders want them to go.
There are strategies that allow you to guide your clients to personally escape the debt paradigm and gain control of the money that flows through their lives. One source of information about a unique approach to this dilemma of the 21st Century is found in the life-changing book “Money for Life: How to Thrive in Good Times and in Bad.” I encourage you to read it.