Imagine for a second you were born with immense inherited wealth.
"Some people are born on third base and think they've hit a triple."
When I first heard that italicized phrase used to describe George Bush senior in the late 80's, I snickered with self-righteousness. To this day, in the midst of an unthinking polemic rant, that stinging remark still slips off my tongue periodically.
But once reason returns, the only thing I know is that I really don't know how a privileged birthright would have shaped me. The noble Pat fancies himself an unmitigated philanthropist, giving it away as fast as his ancestors acquired it. This is who I flatter myself I'd be. But unless faced with those exact circumstances, how can I know who I would have become? More significantly, what have my actions so far in my unprivileged life said about my charitable instincts?
Another continuum, another bell curve. There are those who give nothing to others, to whom charity is a dirty word. There are those who give of themselves and their resources completely, to whom charity is a calling. And then there's me, on the bell curve again.