“Midas Mulligan was a vicious bastard with a dollar sign stamped on his heart,” said Lee Hunsacker, in the fumes of the acrid stew. “My whole future depended upon a miserable half-million dollars, which was just small change to him, but when I applied for a loan, he turned me down flat – for no better reason than that I had no collateral to offer. How could I have accumulated any collateral, when nobody had ever given me a chance at anything big? Why did he lend money to others, but not to me? It was plain discrimination. He didn’t even care about my feelings – he said that my past record of failures disqualified me for ownership of a vegetable pushcart, let alone a motor factory. What failures? I couldn’t help it if a lot of ignorant grocers refused to co-operate with me about the paper containers. By what right did he pass judgement on my ability? Why did my plans for my own future have to depend upon the arbitrary opinion of a selfish monopolist? I wasn’t going to stand for that. I wasn’t going to take it lying down. I brought suit against him.”
“You did what?”
“Oh yes,” he said proudly, “I brought suit. I’m sure it would seem strange in some of your hidebound Eastern states, but the state of Illinois had a very humane, very progressive law under which I could sue him. I must say it was the first case of its kind, but I had a very smart, liberal lawyer who saw a way for us to do it. It was an economic emergency law which said that people were forbidden to discriminate for any reason whatever against any person in any matter involving his livelihood. It was used to protect day laborers and such, but it applied to me and my partners as well, didn’t it? So we went to court, and we testified about the bed breaks we’d all had in the past, and I quoted Mulligan saying that I couldn’t even own a vegetable pushcart, and we proved that all the members of the Amalgamated Service corporation had no prestige, no credit, no way to make a living – and, therefor, the purchase of the motor factory was our only chance of livelihood – and, therefore, Midas Mulligan had no right to to discriminate against us – and, therefore, we were entitled to demand a loan from him under the law. Oh, we had a perfect case all right, but the man who presided at the trial was Judge Narragansett, one of those old-fashioned monks of the bench who thinks like a mathematician and never feels the human side of anything. He just sat there all through the trial like a marble statue – like one of those blindfolded marble statues. At the end, he instructed the jury to bring verdict in favor of Midas Mulligan – and he said some very harsh things about me and my partners. But we appealed to a higher court – and the higher court reversed the verdict and ordered Mulligan to give us the loan on our terms. He had three moths in which to comply, but before the three months were up, something happened that nobody can figure out and he vanished into thing air, he and his bank. There wasn’t an extra penny left of that bank, to collect our lawful claim. We wasted a lot of money on detectives, trying to find him – as who didn’t? – but we gave up.”
(Ur Ayn Rands Atlas Shrugged)
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