“The demonization of wealth in this country is mind-blowing. A country built on both freedoms and commerce.”– Alec Baldwin
I believe in redistributing my wealth. I feel a moral obligation to share what I have with others. It makes me feel good to share. The benefit of that good feeling more than compensates for the money.
But I don’t feel that anyone is entitled to my wealth. And if someone that felt entitled should ask me for money, the answer would be “no.”
There is a difference between believing in a moral obligation to share one’s wealth and believing in socialism and communism. The difference is the difference between freedom and coercion. The mandated (forced) redistribution of wealth is not a moral but a political activity. The moral action is neither paying taxes nor favoring government-mandated redistribution, but the unforced sharing of wealth.
In a recent blog, my friend Bob Bly talked about the growing “demonization” of wealth and tells a good little story about entitlement.
Should the Less Wealthy Be Entitled to Your Wealth?
“This demonization of wealth and success in America is nothing new….
“But is it right?
“What some people are calling the ‘maldistribution of wealth’ in this country is causing a growing number of Americans to criticize… and in some cases rally against… capitalism and the free markets.
“Which in turn is fostering a growing sense of entitlement – expressed in programs and even laws that would essentially require the people who have money to be made to give it to people who do not.
“I bring this up not to get into politics, but as an excuse to tell you a personal story which I believe also contains a worthwhile point and lesson in it.
“Years ago, I got an email from an angry freelance writer. She said I had stolen her intellectual property by using, without her permission, a large portion of a magazine article she wrote, in a book of mine published several years ago.
“And she demanded I send a sum of money to avoid prosecution.
“I had a hard time imagining me doing what she accused me of, as I never deliberately use other people’s material in my books unless I have their signed written permission to do so.
“So I dug up the project files… a bit of a panicked search, on my part, because without it, my goose was cooked… and sure enough, the permission form, with her signature, was right there.
“When I told her I had her signed permission form, she said I was lying and did not believe me.
“I offered to fax it to her and did so immediately.
“Minutes later, she emailed again, saying she didn’t remember signing my permission form, and she would never give permission for her material to be used by another author unless she was paid.
“I pointed out that in fact she HAD given permission without asking for money – which is somewhat common.
“Her next email said I was being unfair. Why? Because I was ‘rich’ and she was ‘poor’ – and therefore I could afford to pay the sum she was now asking for, even though I had agreed to no such thing.
“Her final email once again asked me to pay her, for the sole reason that she ‘needed the money.’”
– Bob Bly