Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Interesting Banter

(Crystal Lake, IL)- Doug Masson's blog is one of my favorite Hoosier reads. It's been on my link list for 2-3 years now. He and I agree on a lot of civil liberty issues, but we sometimes part company on economic liberty items.

Doug brought up the topic of inherited wealth. It generally bothers him, so he posted about it. A great discussion has ensued, with me taking the side opposite him. It interests me that some can be very strong advocates for some kinds of individual liberty, but also strong opponents of others. Freedom is not an a la carte item for me. It may not be perfect, especially when placing isolated cases under the microscope, but it's better than the alternative.

It's easy for some to become frustrated with the practice of passing wealth to others when your examples are Paris Hilton or the Astors- the former for bad behavior, the latter for the sheer longevity of that wealth. But what does it matter to you or me? It doesn't pick my pocket. It doesn't prevent me from living my life. No harm, no foul.

Just like issues of civil liberty. Look at gay marriage. How does that pick my pocket? Or prevent me from living my life? Or threaten my marriage? It doesn't, and yet there are plenty of people who are bothered by it enough to want to restrict others from engaging in it.

Right and left pick and choose when it comes to examining policy in these terms: Does it pick my pocket? Does it prevent me from living my life? I think that's just it. Too much policy is emotionally driven, and not examined in such terms. If it were, I do believe our society would become a much more tolerant, and happy, place.

As for me, I intend to leave a little behind to my successors, but not a huge amount. I share a good deal of Doug's concern that inherited wealth creates problems for those who receive it. I know I value my own struggles as developmental. But as a parent, I want to endow my children, or perhaps more likely my grandchildren, with a little assistance. Doing so will leave me a happier man at the end of the trail. I do waver on what an appropriate amount is. Being able to make the choices as seems fit to me when the time comes is all I ask for.