In 1889 Carnegie wrote an article called "The Gospel of Wealth," in which he spelled out his views on philanthropy: "In bestowing charity the main consideration should be to help those who help themselves."Yes, Carnegie was ruthless as a businessman, as a capitalist. But, the legacy he left behind includes:
The rich should give, so the poor could improve their own lives — and thus the lives of the society. Giving was a code of honor. "The man who dies rich dies in disgrace," Carnegie said.
Nasaw says the steel master was in his 30s when he decided he was merely the shepherd of his wealth.
"It is his responsibility to give it back," Nasaw says, "to return it to the community because the community — all of those men and women who contribute to the making of Carnegie steel, the mothers who feed their children, the day laborers, the whole large community — is responsible for making this wealth and they're the ones who have to get it back."
So public libraries became instruments of change — not luxuries, but rather necessities, important institutions — as vital to the community as police and fire stations and public schools.
1,689 public libraries. Temples of learning, ambition, aspiration for towns and cities throughout the United States.And then there was a contrasting story about the latest college football excess at the University of Oregon, thanks to Nike's Phil Knight:
The Football Performance Center at the University of Oregon features rugs woven by hand in Nepal, couches made in Italy and Brazilian hardwood underfoot in the weight room that is so dense that designers of this opulent palace believe it will not burn.The Oregonian's columnist aptly describes this as Pigskin Palace, and writes:
This is Oregon football. There is a barbershop with utensils from Milan. And a duck pond. And a locker room that can be accessed by biometric thumbprints. And chairs upholstered with the same material found in a Ferrari’s interior.
It's Phil Knight's money, of course, and there's a lot more where that came from. But the new structure does seem to send out a message to everything else on campus.We could have had by now a university that the state can be proud of if valuable and scarce resources are not invested in sporting facilities, right?
A University of Oklahoma president once told legislators that he wanted a university the football team could be proud of. Oregon might now hope for a university the football building could be proud of.
Carnegie left behind a rich legacy, despite his brutal business practices. Vanderbilt too. The Ford Foundation contributed so much to the entire world. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett seem to continue along in that old American tradition.
And then we have the awful ones like Knight who are all about self-aggrandizement. It is even more awful that people love it all. Even more pathetic that the left-leaning faculty are always too keen on following football that is clearly at the expense of education. And students are always delirious with football success even when they are jobless after graduating from the university. Oh the insanity!
“We are the University of Nike,” said Jeff Hawkins, the senior associate athletic director of football administration and operations. “We embrace it. We tell that to our recruits.”I am ready to puke!