What are the duties of wealth? First to improve the self, so as to be less coarse, vain, egotistical and grasping? Then to extend oneself and family wealth to those less fortunate? To undertake public service with an eye to those most in need? These are high ideals, not must discussed today, as AKMA reminds us, speaking of Jackie Kennedy:
Her life of privilege certainly made possible opportunities and
achievements to which she’d never have access had she been born with
similar gifts in rural Appalachia. At the same time, the braying golden
asses to whom the Tutor
so relentlessly directs our attention represent only one of the fruits
of aristocracy; and given the benefits of privilege, Jacqueline Kennedy
seems not only not to have wasted them, but rather to have extended
herself to make her advantages into benefits for everyone, the true noblesse exemplified by the philanthropists who hang around at GiftHub).
Ask not what your country can do for you, nor how your selfishiness works through the market for the greater good, but how you can be better and do better for some ideal higher than commerce. Who today will sound such a note, in our "ownership society"? Most of the givers here are not wealthy. What we have to give is what JFK invoked, patriotism expressed in a life of service to others, including those most in need. Can we once again rise as a movement for social justice for all?