Story type: Essay
The most wonderful thing in America is–what do you think? It is the absolute nullity of the man of many millions. It is the vapid colorlessness, the dull inactivity, the total lack of imagination among men whose power is unlimited. What possibilities are spread out before the man who by signing his name could set to work in any direction a million of his fellow men! The world stands ready to obey his orders; every law says that he shall have whatever he demands. Any conception born in his brain can become reality as soon as conceived. But there is no conception there.
These comments are written, not to scold, or complain, or suggest, but simply to express wonder.
What man of millions does anything that a white rabbit does not do?
One man–of a hundred millions at least–has become recently very conspicuous among his golden fellows.
By undertaking a scheme to irrigate the desert of Sahara and give millions of fertile acres to humanity?
By calling together, at his expense, the ablest thinkers of the world to discuss and to solve, if possible, the social questions that so deeply concern the millionaire’s future?
By seeking, through study and experiment, to abolish child-labor, to promote public education, to encourage science art or American inventiveness?
This millionaire, much discussed because of his piquant originality, has put on a dress coat with two pointed tails behind, and, geared in a white shirt front and white tie, with silk socks highly colored and patent leather shoes, this splendid American product has led a cotillon and has led a cakewalk.
Grand, splendid, magnificent, inspiring, isn’t it?
What lop-eared, mild-eyed rabbit dancing in a clover field with a full paunch need fear comparison with this man of millions?
Old Jacques Coeur, of France, giving his fleets to his country–there was a man of millions and imagination combined. But his kind has died out, and in his place we have a herd of overfed, sleek, timorous, hopping white rabbits, hoarding their piles of gold, shivering at the mention of change or innovation, asking only for peaceful possession, as free from thought as the fat oyster in his bed.
What wonderful things, what useful things, what dangerous things could these all-powerful men do?
What could they not do? They DO nothing.
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