Tuesday 20 November 2018
"The love of money", said Phocylides, "is the mother of all evils" - a maxim which was to become proverbial in the ancient world, being changed to the "metropolis of all evils" by Democritus, and the "root of all evils" by St. Paul.
Greed for money and, as we shall see, for power can be a strong solvent of a person's morality. Thirty pieces of silver was enough to buy Judas Iscariot's treachery, and a long list could be made of those who turned traitor for the sake for pay. Greed can also dissolve the critical faculty. No-one would possibly fall for the Nigerian scam, for instance, if the prospect of enormous riches hadn't blinded him to the extreme improbability of the proposal. However, it takes a massive combination of baseness and stupidity to fall for a project which is both evil and utterly ridiculous, and one can must grant a certain grudging respect to a con artist who realised it would actually work.