Brann on Humbuggery

from: Brann

Brann on Humbuggery

False Pride is the father of humbuggery, the parent of Fraud. We are Humbugs because we desire that our fellows think us better, braver, brighter, perhaps richer than we really are. We practice humbuggery to attain social position to which we are entitled by neither birth nor brains, to acquire wealth for which we render no equivalent, to procure power we cannot wisely employ.

While proclaiming love of democracy we purchase peers for our daughters. While boasting liberty of speech we assail like demons those who presume to dissent from our opinions in either religion or politics.

History is full of Humbugs and liberty itself ofttimes but a gilded lie. No man is really free who is dependent upon the good will of others for employment. There can be no true liberty where Prejudice usurps the throne of Reason. Men are slaves instead of sovereigns when they suffer themselves to be held in iron thrall by political dogma or religious creed, blinding accepting ipse dixit of others instead of exercising to the utmost the intelligence which God hath given them.

I have said that charity itself is ofttimes a Humbug. It is so when it becomes the handmaid of ostentation instead of the true almoner of the heart; or when men give to the poor only because it is "lending to the Lord," then expect compound interest.

That philanthropist is a fraud who, after piling up a colossal fortune at the expense of the common people, leaves it to be found an educational or eleemosynary institute when death calls him across the dark river. Knowing that Charon's boat is purely a passenger packet--that it carries no freight, however precious--he drops his dollars with a sigh; but, determined to reap some benefit from boodle his itching hand can no longer hold, he decrees that it be used to found some charitable fake to prevent himself being forgotten--some pitiful institute where a few of the wretched victims of his rapacious greed may get a plate of starvation soup, or a prayer-book, and bless their benefactor's name. The very monument erected over bones of the sanctimonious old skin-flint is a fraud; flaunts a string of colossal falsehoods in the face of the world; piously points to heaven--perhaps to indicate that Satan refused to receive him and sent him back to St. Peter with a request that he make other arrangements.



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