Saturday, January 22, 2011

I'll Keep My American Inheritance, Thank You

Yesterday I posted a video of a discussion of equality featuring economist Milton Friedman, a Nobel laureate and advisor to Ronald Reagan whose ideas about how to run an economy were in direct conflict with the economic thinking of Barack Obama and his administration. In that video, Friedman pointed out that there are different kinds of inheritances: some children inherit physical property from their parents, but others inherit less tangible attributes, such as different talents and abilities:
Much of the moral fervor behind the drive for equality comes from the widespread belief that it is not fair that some children should have a great advantage over others simply because they have wealthy parents.

Of course it's not fair, but is there any distinction between the inheritance of property and the inheritance of what, at first sight, looks very different?


The inheritance of talents is no different, from an ethical point of view, from the inheritance of other forms of property: of bonds, of stocks, of houses, or of factories. Yet many people resent the one, but not the other.

Or look at the same issues from the point of view of the parent. If you want to give your child a special chance, there are different ways you can do it. You can buy him an education, an education that will give him skills enabling him to earn a higher income, or you can buy him a business, or you can leave him property, the income from which will enable him to live better.

Is there any ethical difference between these three ways of using your property?

Or again, if the state leaves you any money to spend over and above taxes, should you be permitted to spend it on riotous living, but not permitted to leave it to your children?

The ethical issues involved are subtle and complex. They are not to be resolved by resort to such simplistic formulas as "fair shares for all."

Men Placing the Constitution in Its Case,
October 1, 1944.
Photo: George Skadding.
/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image
That got me thinking. It doesn't take a genius to know that people are not enthusiastic about having government bureaucrats take their money through taxation and strip them of productivity through burdensome government regulations. People work for their own betterment and that of their families;  parents work to provide opportunities to their children by using their money, property, skills, and other assets to help their children develop their natural talents.

No one--not even the most vocal supporters of "spreading the wealth around," like Oprah Winfrey--wants to have "the government" use taxation and regulations to strip them of their ability to fulfill their inborn desire to care for their children (or others they may want to help) so that the government can "redistribute" their assets wherever "the government" sees fit. The Founders recognized that the natural desire of parents to care for their children is part and parcel of being human and thus is "endowed by our Creator," not by any holier-than-thou community organizer or political scientist, however high they rise in the political world.

One emotion that many Americans are feeling very strongly right now is the grief of being stripped of their American inheritance, an inheritance purchased at great price. When we see politicians, academics, and the press sneer at the Constitution and work to suppress it, we know that they are working to deprive us of our inheritance.

When we see the history of our American inheritance shoved aside in our schools, we know that we are having our own inheritance taken away from us, bit by bit. If Americans don't know what our inheritance is, we won't be able to claim it.

Around the world people know that if you want to give your child a special chance, one of the best ways you can do so is get that child to America and put that child in line to receive the American inheritance. It has become unpopular, however, for some groups to accept that the American inheritance includes--and cannot exist without--this country's Judeo-Christian foundation, a set of laws built on the Ten Commandments, and the continual efforts of a united people to be governed by those laws and not the dictates of any one man, alive or dead.

Those among us who still know that the American inheritance is a precious gift--and that is most Americans, I am sure--must maintain it, treasure it, and protect it.


  1. Hear, hear! Beautiful, meaningful post.

  2. Well said. A most excellent post. =)

  3. Dead on accurate. When the school wants to teach my kid about the immigrant that painted the famous depiction of George Washington crossing the Delaware, but teaches him nothing about the actual event (true story), well they are just stripping him of his American inheritance, whether they realize it or not.

  4. @Fuzzy and @fleeceme - Thank you. We need to hold onto our American heritage for dear life.

    @noone: That is an amazing story! Stripping us of our pride in our history is the goal.