[ExI] libertarians and inheritance

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Mon May 11 06:01:08 UTC 2009

Damien wrote

 > ...all this is self-evident. It has nothing to do with the
 > point I raised, which is that if giving tax-sourced money
 > to the lazy poor is held to be wrong *in part because* it
 > corrodes the moral character of the recipients (among other
 > reasons why it's wicked and damaging),

glad you're coming around on that

 > then giving money to the children of the rich might do
 > just the same damage,

I must completely agree. Who wouldn't? Only those
ignorant, I assume, of the actual histories of
what happened to most people who inherited vast

The true libertarians don't have any mixed feelings
here (not being consequentialists). They sees it
simply as a violation of property rights, pure and

As somewhat of a consequentialist, I agree that
you have raised a valid question. If I am trying
to weigh the long-term consequences of each
policy, I must investigate the tradeoff between

A. the wasted talent, energy, and work of those
    who merely inherit wealth (in most cases)


B. the diminished incentive of those who earn big
    fortunes, who know that when they're gone it
    will all be "for nothing" (at least nothing
    that concerns them personally).

Even if I had a clear idea how to weigh A against
B, the current times are changing too quickly to
allow much validity to such a judgment. So I
(very weakly) guess that probably the use of the
money should be left to the discretion of those
who earned it (and were motivated to do so in
part by the benefit they anticipated their
beloved children would receive), and kept out
of the hands of government bureaucrats, who
tend to use any excess monies to destroy the
foundations of wealth-creation.


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