This post has been sitting in my “draft” box for quite some time because I just don’t seem to see it as complete. I don’t want to insult people who think differently on this subject but I want to get my point across as to the potential harm being privileged might cause. Complete or not its time has come to move it to a daily post.
I want to admit upfront that I am prejudiced on this topic. When I find that a person has pretty much had a free ride in life I become very skeptical about their successes and accomplishments. Maybe this is due to my having to earn my own way for so much of my life. Maybe it is jealousy, who knows. I am one to believe that adversity builds character and when it is absent privilege dominates a person’s attitude.
When I was ready to go to college I applied for hardship scholarships but found out that since my mother who abandoned me when I was ten went on to marry a pretty rich guy I did not qualify for them. My mother had no inclination to help me with college as she didn’t see anything in that for her. I did manage to borrow $200 from her once because I was panicked that my tuition payment was late. When I finally earned enough to pay her back the check I sent was quickly cashed. I understand now why that happened. Narcissism is totally about self, there is just no room for others in a narcissist’s mind.
Getting back to the topic at hand, some people probably think I mean when I say “free rides” are people like the current Oval Office occupant who was given a “mere $4 million” (equivalent to $40 million now) to start his way in the world. Yes, he and people like him are absolutely included in this list but I go beyond that to other categories.
Many parents think they are giving their children a headstart in the world by providing for all their needs. But that often leads to a lack of empathy for others. Having to earn your own way breeds humility and empathy for those who are worse off than we are. Privilege too often breeds contempt which often manifests itself in looking down on others. The irony is that the privileged are more likely to demand that if people cannot pull themselves up by their bootstraps then it is their own fault.
I just hope that all those parents out there who are giving their kids a free ride in life are also giving them strong lessons in empathy for others who don’t have the advantages that have been given to them.
On another topic in this area, I am very much in favor of the inheritance tax or “death tax” as my opponents like to call it. Prior to income taxes that was one of the primary ways to fund the government. In my humble opinion, inherited money probably ruins more lives than it helps and the recently passed tax legislation will only make this problem worse. Inherited wealth should at least be counted as income to the recipient and taxed at that rate.