"Failure seems to be regarded as the one unpardonable crime, success as the all-redeeming virtue, the acquisition of wealth as the single worthy aim of life. Ten years ago such revelations as these of the Erie Railway would have sent a shudder through the community, and would have placed a stigma on every man who had had to do them. Now they merely incite others to surpass by yet bolder outrages and more corrupt combinations."
Charles Francis Adams
(1807-1886) American lawyer, politician, diplomat and writer, son of President John Quincy Adams, grandson of President John Adams
A chapter of Erie, pg 146, 1869.
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Reader comments about this quote:
Not sure where he's coming from...
 -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    Failure in Washington is NOT an unpardonable crime. When one of their idiotic liberal schemes fails, they just throw more money at it.
     -- jim k, Austin     
    I'm with J Carlton on this one. I think on its face I will give it 5 stars for accuracy instead of a thumbs down for illuminating but one way how society has denigrated.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    In a recent previous quote you guys all rejoiced over the quote that said money is liberty and acquiring money is glorious now you say you don't know where this guy is coming from. He is saying that it is the struggele not the result that is important. This has been discussed throughtout philosopy. Check out "The Myth of Sisyphous" or the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling, in it he states, "If you can lose all that you have and start over again at your beginnings and not breathe one word about your loss" then you are a man my son. He syas like the guy above "that failure and success are both imposters.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
    I believe Adams was speaking about the railway monopoly of the times. Money is a medium, like blood cells in a body used to deliver oxygen and carbon dioxide. Money is best when it keesp flowing without someone taking a chip off the coin each time it changes hands. With monopolies, money is centralized into few hands and is used primarily for political purposes. The lack of honor among the wealthy and powerful has a far-reaching effect in society and its norms.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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