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Posts from Sidney, Laurel, MD

Sidney, Laurel, MDSidney, Laurel, MD
Sidney, Laurel, MD

Wow! So many of the commenters here clearly don't have a clue as to exactly what the American experiment was/is. The fact that entire text of was deliberately ommitted to alter the context of the provided portion, is not unexpected. The right does this alot. So, for the sake of truth, here is the portion that was omitted: "If the overgrown wealth of an individual be deemed dangerous to the State, the best corrective is the law of equal inheritance to all in equal degree ; and the better, as this enforces a law of nature, while extra-taxation violates it." You see, the founding fathers, contrary to modern conservative revisionist mythos, where allmost to a man, fervently opposed to inherited wealth. In a 1785 letter to James Madison, Jefferson wrote, "The descent of property of every kind therefore to all children, or to all the brothers and sisters, or other relations in equal degree, is a politic measure and a practicable one. Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise." Yes, that's correct - Jefferson advocated for a geometricaly progressive estate tax! Also, Jefferson lead the Virginia legislature in 1777 in abolishing the promogeniture and entail laws which perpetuated the concentration of inherited wealth. Jefferson cited Adam Smith (the father of free market capitalism) when he worte, "A power to dispose of estates for ever is manifestly absurd. The earth and the fulness of it belongs to every generation, and the preceding one can have no right to bind it up from posterity. Such extension of property is quite unnatural." Adam Smith actually said, "There is no point more difficult to account for than the right we conceive men to have to dispose of their goods after death." Benjamin Franklin agreed. He said, "Private property...is a Creature of Society, and is subject to the Calls of that Society, whenever its Necessities shall require it, even to its last Farthing, its contributors therefore to the public Exingencies are not to be considered a Benefit on the Public, entitling the Contributors to the Distinctions of Honor and Power, but as the Return of an Obligation previously received, or as payment for a just Debt." BTW, Mike from Norwalk quoted Locke, not Jefferson - "Life, liberty, and Property". But Jefferson, while a fan of Locke, did not agree that property was an unalienable right. He was a bigger fan of Emerich de Vattel, who, in the single most important book used during the drafting of our constitution, "The Law of Nations", stated that the pursuit of happiness was a natural right. The present conservative notions about the accumulation of inherited wealth and the power that comes with it are very recent developments. Compared to the notions that our nation was founded upon, the modern notions should be considered un-American.

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