My Fellow Compassionate Capitalists:
Last week Catherine and I found ourselves in New York City once again. The last time we were there it was the start of the great Covid panic and the city had literally cleared out/locked down overnight. It was the zombie apocalypse! We had the city to ourselves and we literally toured it by having the attractions shut down right after we walked out of them. It was as if we were on a timer in some weird game of “could we out run Covid”.
It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. We were the only horse and carriage ride in Central Park at that time. There was no line to the Nathan‘s hotdog stand. Catherine had The Rink almost to herself at Rockefeller Center. We were able to privately reflect upon the waters at the 9/11 Memorial. The only restaurant that was still open by the time dinner came around was Ruth’s Chris. It was mind-boggling how such a great city and the financial center of the world could come to a screeching halt due to unseen forces.
As we went back almost 2 years later it was good to see that the city was starting to rebound. Although not nearly close to capacity… and with a lingering feeling of defeat throughout the city….there were signs of life. Commerce had once again commenced.
It seemed as if 100% of the commercials/advertisements we heard on TV or the radio or signs was about getting the Covid vaccination. In New York City it’s not even a choice. It’s MANDATORY!! We could not even eat at Chipotle without having to show our papers! I was almost expecting the storm troopers to be marching down the street soon asking for papers!!! I know there will be those who are offended by that reference….. but if you know your history…..it all started little by little, stripping away basic rights and the ability to conduct commerce.
All of this on a small island that has more skyscrapers than any other city in the US and 3rd in the world. An island that is disproportionately filled with single story statues, monuments, museums, and other exhibits of history that stand as sentinels of where we have been and how far we have progressed. An island whose population increases by 1 million people every single day devoted to conducting commerce. An island of so many firsts. An island dedicated to Capitalism.
As I took pause at the front doors of the flag draped Sotheby’s……I wanted to stop and remember this moment forever. I knew that as I stepped through the door there would be no turning back. I would come out a changed man. I was about to take a front row seat and be an eye witness to one of the greatest events of capitalism……. and in world history!!!
I checked in at the front desk and confirmed my registration had gone through and everything was in order. I was then told to go to the third-floor and take a left and then two rights. I almost forgot I was with Catherine as I rushed to where the directions had told me to go. I turned the corner and I saw it…….. Encased before me was one of two original printed copies of the United States Constitution to be held in private hands.
I stared for what probably was an eternity as I paid homage to the Bible of Capitalism. The document written by wealthy rebel merchants that set the rules for the spoils of war! A document that affects every single person on planet earth who wakes up in the morning. A document that provides the basis of free enterprise and capitalism and has caused the United States to be the economic engine of the world!
This document was about to become the ultimate piece of capitalism… this document was to be sold!!!
The early estimates were anywhere between $15-$20 million. I had my paddle and was going to raise it so I could have the honor of saying I owned the Constitution even if for a brief second!! The bidding started at 10 million and then went on to 11. 12 million and then to 13. It hit 14 million within the first 20 seconds and then a bid came in so obscene that the entire room including the auctioneer took pause…… 30 MILLION!!! That bid had its intended affect and silenced the raising of all paddles. For the next 7 1/2 minutes two local phone bidders engaged in all out warfare until the hammer went down and an astonishing $44 million had been realized!! A new world record for the highest price ever paid for a document!!!
$44 million! Some would say that is obscene and exemplifies exactly what is wrong with America. That an elite few have so much while there’s still so much suffering going on in the world especially since Covid. I would say $44 million exemplifies exactly what is right with America!
A person whose decisions literally affects entire economies….. bid to protect the document. It was a vote for capitalism. It was a shot heard around the world. It was a sound of hope for those who believe that Socialism has been winning lately. That in the end… THE Founding Fathers created a document that would forever protect their ideology while still being flexible enough to adapt to the needs and desires of future generations.
A document while being taken out of the public eye for preservation sake… it’s meaning and rule of law would still be available for everyone who wants to “NEVER awake from the American Dream”.
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