“BILLIONAIRES WILL BURST LIKE ENORMOUS SPIDERS,” by Thomas W. Lawson — July 3, 1904

“Make no mistake. There will be no ‘billionaires’ in the future.

I know some of the great minds have evolved that the ‘billionaire’ of the future will be so many times a ‘jlllionaire’ that the single ‘billionaires’ of the present will be as pigmies in comparison. I hate to run up against the thought-gems of great minds, but practical men must constantly take this risk — the risk of running head on into what looks, considering its source, to be the truth, but which in reality is only a theory.

The men who seriously treat with ‘multi-billionaires’ of the future, I have little hesitancy in saying, are men of theories; not those who have crossed legs under and swapped checks over the mahoganies of the ‘billionaires’ of today — are not men who have watched at close range the ‘billionaire’ as he got together his billions.

What is a ‘billionaire’? The man who glibly tells of the ‘multi-billionaire’ of the future only knows him as a name, and so quickly has he come, so secretly and so mysteriously, that there seems nothing in the name to frighten or appall.

Spiders and Billionaires.

The ‘billionaire’ of the present to the theorist who multiplies him for the future, is only a name, but to the man who knows him he is a — horror.

If any school child should speak up when being instructed in spiders, big black spiders, and even suggest that in the future they would grow so big that their swollen bodies would fill the schoolroom and their long, crooked claws would reach out of the windows and into the surrounding fields, not only would the school teacher halt the lectures, but the child would be ‘sent home,’ with a note to its parents suggesting medical treatment.

He who made the earth and the waters, and the sun, moon, and stars, ordained there should be some things which would not grow on and on and on until their deadly poisons had polluted all upon the earth and the waters which surround the earth, and two of these things which old Mother Nature has surely decreed shall have a limit in their growth are big, black spiders and ‘billionaires.’

‘Blow Up’ with Overgrowth.

Now and then since the beginning of the world, in dark, dank corners of the world, there have grown over night great black spiders, ten, a hundred, and a thousand times larger than black spiders are supposed to grow, but they are exceptions and they have but one ending. At a certain stage they, ‘blow up and bust.’ The air for a few minutes is filled with black gases; the ground in their immediate vicinity with a black, pulpy fluid, and all live things in their immediate neighborhood dig for more healthy localities. That is all. Under no circumstances can these abnormal freaks of nature perpetuate their kind, for never in a thousand years — yes, a million years — do the exceptional conditions which have produced them come again.

So it is with the ‘billionaire.’ At the beginning of the twentieth century nature for some reason beyond the possibility of human finding out, produced conditions in two opposite corners of the world which brought forth in a night the great, big, black human spider, the ‘billionaire.’

Found Only Here and in China.

Curiously enough, the two spots on the earth where these peculiar conditions dominated were at the opposite ends of the earth — one in the darkest corner of the earth, the other in the lightest spot in the world; one amongst the yellow pagans of the east, the other amongst the white freemen of the greatest republic the world has ever seen. There are no ‘billionaires’ on earth but the Yankee and the Chinese ‘billionaire.’ Here is food for thought for the theorist whose mind is circling into the future.

What is a ‘billionaire’? One man who has the absolute right, as though it had been given to him by his Maker, to do with his fellow men that which he chooses to do — to do with them and theirs what the slave master does with his slaves. The American ‘billionaire’ is the absolute owner of the entire earnings of 5,000,000 people for one whole year. The Chinese ‘billionaire’ is the absolute owner of the earnings of 10,000,000 people. That tells the story. Twenty American ‘billionaires’ would have the right to collect the earnings of 80,000,000 of people.

In calculating the possibilities for the ‘multi-billionaires’ of the future one must go beyond the mere fact that the ‘billionaire’ is here, and as he is here and not in state’s prison it is self-evident that he came legally. One must go back into the conditions which allowed him and the circumstances which tolerate him, and to do this one must be more than a theorist.

Gained by Criminal Method.

I do not know an American ‘billionaire’ who has acquired his billions honestly, even legally honestly. It is a tough statement, but when dealing with a big subject of big moment to a big people why mince the truth or shy at the consequences of not mentioning it? And the truth is, there is not a ‘billionaire’ in America but has committed crimes enough in the accumulation of his billions to send him to State’s prison for 300,000 years, if for each crime committed he had received one-half the sentence which has been meted out during the last five years to the different heretofore honest men who became defaulters directly through the workings of Amalgamated Copper.

The conditions which allowed the creation of American ‘billionaires’ were simple. Certain men found that the laws made by seventy to eighty million of the most intelligent people of the earth for their own government could be so juggled, slid around, walked over, and dug beneath as to allow those who did the sliding, walking, and digging to secure for themselves the results of the labors of these vast millions of people in one of the most prosperous periods of the world; but these conditions have changed, and, thank God, are continuing to change until they will be so completely changed by the time the future is with us that it will be evident to all that the ‘multi-millionaire’ of the theorist really holds the same relation to the reality as a Welsh rarebit nightmare holds to a Lou Dillon when the word, ‘Go,’ is given.

People Await Another Lincoln.

The American people are a wise people, the same wise people with whom the great Abraham Lincoln touched elbows.

The American people are not the fools the ‘billionaires’ have taken them to be. They are at the present minute in that condition which will surely produce a long, lean Yankee in some section of our land who will rise to the occasion to state that he and his kind have awakened to the real conditions which have allowed the creation of billions and ‘billionaires,’ and I have no hesitancy in following the great Lincoln and staking my life that from the day our people awaken there will be no more ‘billionaires’ made in America, much less ‘multi-billionaires,’ but that on the contrary, the present ‘billionaires’ will be swept from the face of nature surely and quickly.

Of course we will always have our rich men, our very rich men. The world has had them from the beginning, through all ages and through all stages — must have them; it is right it should have them. But the legitimately rich of the world are not in any way the black human spider ‘billionaires.’ No intelligent American can have any faith in or fear of the present ‘billionaire’ being swept into the obscurity from which he came by anarchy or any of the anarchistic socialisms which the ignorant seekers for legitimate remedies usually apply to.

Will Be Legally Exterminated.

The present ‘billionaire’ will be swept out of existence as soon as the American people have mastered the secrets by which he came into existence; for it will be a simple matter for the American people to apply the same laws which created him for his destruction — that is, his billions must be as legally taken from him as they were legally accumulated.”

-Excerpt and (top) image courtesy of Newspapers.com, The Chicago Tribune, “Billionaires Will Burst Like Enormous Spiders,” by Thomas W. Lawson, July 3, 1904

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