John Ruskin

Of King’s Treasuries

John Ruskin 1819 - 1900

Neither does a great nation send its poor little boys to jail for stealing six walnuts; and allow its bankrupts to steal their hundreds of thousands with a bow, and its bankers, rich with poor men’s savings, to close their doors ‘under circumstances over which they have no control,’ with a ‘by your leave;’ and large landed estates to be bought by men who have made their money by … altering the common highwayman’s demand ‘your money or your life’ into ‘your money and your life.’

Sesame and Lilies
John Ruskin 1864

This extract from a lecture by John Ruskin in Manchester in 1864 has an uncanny resonance with the incredible revelations concerning our own dispicable bankers, specualtors and money men. In his lecture Ruskin was making a case for a nation investing in Libraries, Art Galleries, Museums, Gardens and places of rest.  These would be ‘accessible to all clean and orderly persons at all times of the day or evening’ and free of charge.

… it is…better to build a beautiful human creature than a beautiful dome or steeple,” he concludes.

Do we have a modern day John Ruskin and who is he or she.  

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