Will Wilkinson is emerging as a writer to watch for me. He’s got a thought-provoking essay on Ron Paul in TNR. Sharp reasoning, terrific writing. He calls BS on Paul’s unwillingness to take a principled stand on immigration and his inability to acknowledge the selective enforcement of property rights needs to be redressed:
Nevertheless, it’s hard to say exactly what “justly acquired property” amounts to in a country built in no small part by slave labor on land stolen from indigenous people. How much of Thomas Jefferson’s property was justly acquired?
These issues get complicated fast. Most of us think there’s a sort of statute of limitation on the sins of our fathers, and for good reason. But it’s absolutely undeniable that the distribution of property and power in America partly reflects hundreds of years of constant and systemic violation of precisely those rights Paul claims to prize.
There isn’t any statute of limitation on inherited wealth, though, and that’s the trouble. I’m wrapped up thinking about a final report today, so I don’t have time to stop and work through these ideas. But’s a worthy ethical problem to spend some time thinking about.