But, I do still wonder how much of old man Rockefeller's initial drive was based in a pathological but genuine misinterpretation of a Protestant charity and work ethic. I think: A lot. And then he became a monster. That's my take, so far.
An excellent book on the evolution and failure of charity (and social welfare programs) nominated for a Pulitzer is "The Tyranny of Kindness" by Theresa Funicello.
Fact is Davids daddy sold oil as an health elixir, producing an incredible return on investment. I think this was David's conditioning and he got hooked on dreams of a high return generated by hitting the sweet spot of societies gullibility.
Perhaps David's father did, but at that time before regulation, nearly everything was being sold as being beneficial. Perhaps as a liniment. But that seems illogical. It was John D. Sr.s father who was the real swindler and the rural patent medicine salesman, David's Great Grandfather.
And while John D. Sr. worked his ass off, he was scrupulously ruthless and shrewd as a businessman. Perhaps along with his earlier mercantile acquisitions in his pre-oil days he sold patent medicines, too, but selling patent medicines was certainly not his mainstay business.
Bad Billy, John D's father, the quack medicine salesman, won the deed to the richest silver mine, according to a book I read long ago that had been given to me by its author. I'm not sure of its name, as I loaned it out and never saw its return, but it had "Rockefeller, Number One Communist."
Upon seeing this and being then naive, I told him "That just doesn't seem right, calling Rockefeller a Communist." Today I kinda see his point. Welfare for the rich.