We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Wednesday, May 16. 2007
A quote from our pal Coyote:
Last I heard, Envy was a deadly sin. Whole piece here.
Comment from The Barrister: Coyote gets right to the point. America is not about making money. It's about having free choices to do what you want, and, as Bird Dog said yesterday, being adult enough to live with the consequences of one's choices. If you want to pursue wealth, great. If you want to pursue other things, great. All I ever wanted to pursue was a bit of modest comfort, work, friends, a relationship with God, and a happy family, and I feel blessed to have found those things. I love to make money (doesn't everybody?), but it has never been my main objective. However, I do hate being held up as an object of angry envy by pandering politicians just because my life plan worked. I had a basic life plan, and I just followed it. It was not rocket science. To maintain my plan, I will need to keep working - if I live - until I am 75 or more. No problem. I am happy to do that, as was my Dad, my Grandpa, and my great-grandpa, who died at 86 in the fields with his hands on the plow on his farm in CT just up the road from here. That farm was lost, to the family's perpetual resentment, to cover estate taxes and is now covered with absurd mini-mansions on 1/2 acre lots and has a street called Azalea Drive. Great Grandpa would be rolling in his grave if he saw that on the land that is soaked with generations of family sweat. And, if he ever saw an azalea (which I doubt, up here in those days), I am sure that he would have considered it a vulgar display. Even today, where I live, the wealthy happily drive rusty old cars, Yankee-style.
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Things are more "fair" than they might seem --you just have to look deeper. For example, someone born to wealth will never have the same depth of satisfaction available to a boot-strapper.
Somehow the whining we are hearing is related to this new instant communications age not only showing everything out-of-context, but also obliterating the sense of time.
Upward mobility is America's big offering--but it does require time & effort to harvest the crop. It can't "be" any other way, actually.
...and feeling resentful because life is tough is a great way to make life a whole lot tougher.
good point--my comment hid some of the light. upward mobility is a by-product.
Yes it is, and a minor one. My own family has been on a downward mobility path since the Great Depression, and no-one is complaining. The choices are the thing that matter.
I get pretty emotional about that estate tax, too. I imagine it's doubly rough when it cost real-estate that one drives past every day. Ouch.
OTOH, those living in the McMansions gotta be *somewhere*; they are you and me, too.
(note how easy it is to be philosophical about someone else's family farm)
Lefties keep saying the estate tax "only hurts a couple percent of the population" --which presumably makes it okay that it probably loses money for ther treasury, since it's so delicious to take money already fully-taxed from "a small number of families" who need to be punished for lifetimes of thrift, judgement, hard work, and sobriety.
Scripture covers it also - Matthew 20 1-14 Luke 15 4-32 Luke 16 Luke 18 22-23
We have a plantation on a sea island off SC. My great-grandfather gave away eight miles of beach frontage to the state for a state park and sold the other eight miles of beach frontage for 50K. In September, my brother and I went down to the beach to have a look around as we always do when we're down there. The road meets the ocean and to the left are eight miles of rednecks in campers and to the right are beach houses on lots that, empty, cost half a million dollars per square inch. I might be exaggerating a bit, but not by much. Changing times and changing governments have us working with lawyers to set up an FLP and an LLC. I don't know what they are, but know that it has everything to do with taxes and inheritance.
As far as being born into greath wealth and not knowing the satisfaction of bootstrapping - that's a generalization that does not hold up for all. Some of the wealthiest people I know work harder than anyone else I know. Everyone in my family has worked lifelong in tough careers without any acknowledgment of the inheritance. It's never been touched. We like saving it for de guvmint. :}
fascinating story, Phoenix. Mercy--sixteen miles of beach--the mind boggles. You're right, that was a very broad generalization. I was floundering for an example of a compensating mechanism. Americans at their best are not envious people, and it's because they find pride where it is available. Bootstrappers alone have the satisfaction of starting from zero, and I think, more power to 'em for it. But nobody chooses his parents--it's the luck of the draw, whether there are family resources or not.
No reason for this surge of envy in society, other than politicians feeling the desire to advance their careers on a class warfare issue. It's a disgrace.
Re: That farm was lost, to the family's perpetual resentment, to cover estate taxes...
Terrible. That has got to really hurt. At least the only branch of our family that had money lost it using their own bad judgement.
Yes, very sad. And there have been kids who would have been perfect for keeping the place going, but would not have been ready for, or wanting, the big world out there.
That really is too bad- hate to see the loss of such legacy and ongoing potential.
The good news is that America is continually made by those "bootstrappers" who feel less class-bound and entidaled, than able and determined to scale and perch atop the ladder of opportunity. Each generation gets to try and fin for itself within a relatively fluid system of social and economic mobility, especially as currently constituted.
Funny. "Shell B. Foote"
Shelby Foote, in his Civil War series and book featured our plantation as the Yankees used it as a headquarters. I have pictures taken by them, and they are something to behold.
National Geographic did a piece about the plantation and its two sister plantations years ago. I cherish it. The Dodge family bought one of the plantations for a 'shooting' "lodge". haha. Ted Turner has one there, too. Old/new wealth.
Buddy - that sixteen miles was nothing. The original King's Grant was 45 thousand acres from Murrell's Inlet to near Savannah. It was broken into 25 plantations. It's a neat history. The house was built in 1820. And there are Mexicans at this moment picking tomaters on the farm part. They work their butts off! 300 acres of tomatoes..... hot sun.