Fortezza, Umilitade, e Largo Core - Courage, Humility, and Largeness of Heart.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

An Ethic of Responsibility: The Estate Tax Debate

There are some that believe that we should sell our possessions and become homeless ourselves; Jesus himself calls for us to sell our possessions and follow him (Mk 10:21; Lk 12:33; 18:22; Mt 19:21) but I know that money equates to power and the ability to be heard within society. Chuck Collins is an example of one that takes the ethic of responsibility further than I feel comfortable with, yet he was able to maintain his power, voice, and influence.
Chuck Collins, the great-grandson of Oscar Mayer and a Unitarian Universalist, at the ripe age of 26 gave the entirety of his birthright “to foundations and groups that he knew needed funding”[1] believing it to be an important step on his journey towards creating a more just society. An article from 2003 covers his defense of the Estate Tax by starting with his early life experience, the source of his authority. Discussing his early life experience working in disadvantaged communities, such as Appalachia, we see how Collins arrived at the decision to give away his inheritance. Collins is a “radical meritocratist”[2], operating out of a responsibility ethic, who believes that each generation should start out fresh instead of inheritance allowing those of less quality to end up in positions of power based solely on the merits of their forefathers.