We should be rewarded for what we do

The heart of this idea is that there is an ideal view of our maturation process from being born until we are adults. As we age, we are more and more responsible for our actions. If we perform actions that are good in the eyes of society, then we are rewarded. If we perform actions that are bad, then we are punished.

It seems like a fairly simple concept that most people would agree with: If it do something good, then reward me. If I do something bad, then punish me. None of us like to be punished, but we are apt to accept it as how things need to be if we are to live together in a society. What really makes people angry is to see that some actions for some people are treated differently than for other people. Unequal treatment is often treated as unfairness. However, society often creates roles that justify unequal treatment so that unequal treatment becomes the norm and even those being treated poorly accept it.

Beyond unequal treatment for similar acts, there is the glaring exception to treatment for acts which is inheritance. This involves many aspects, some of which are quite familiar. The receipt of an inheritance of wealth when an ancestor to someone dies is a very common example that everyone is familiar with. None the less it is still reward for being born as a descendant of that person and nothing else.

Less common aspects of inheritance involve having dedicated and loving parents as opposed to mean and neglectful or absent parents. We all wish that every child could have the first type and not the second, but that is often not how it works out.

Societal inheritances can span many different areas like agreements between groups of people that are long dead and perpetuate power differences that were in place at the times of the agreements. When war and conquest allow the capture of land and the signing of treaties ceding that land, then the decedents of the warring parties are bound to live by these terms (even though they may not have even been born at the signing of the treaty).

Colonialism is a great example of inheritance of a complex set of rules and relationships between two sets of people that even persist beyond the end of the colonial era. Countries were created during the colonial era that had little to do with ethnic boundaries at the time of their creation and more to do with the jockeying of imperial powers. Traditional economies were totally destroyed and the colonized population’s economies were integrated into the colonial power’s economies. Even after independence, the formerly colonized population’s economies were still dependent on their former colonizers. Much of Africa today is still organized around cash crops and resource extraction just like they were during colonial days. These patterns still prioritize the needs of outsiders over the needs of local people.

During the colonization process, some groups of people were made to be elites by the colonizers to do their biding which set up either continued dominance by those groups or resentments that could during into wars or even genocide. The Rawandan genocides roots go back to the elevation of the Tutsi’s over the Hutu’s when it was a Belgian colony. These “ethic” differences persist long past when these distinctions were first made.

So as you can see inheritance covers a lot of topics. Some of us in life are privileged by our inheritances and some of us are drowned by them. If you are an orphan in a poor area of a poor country, you are literally drowned by it. If you are born the child of Bill Gates, you have privilege beyond reason. Each child enters this world as a wonder of possibility and beauty. Each one everywhere deserves as much of an equal chance at life as any other and there is no moral argument that I can think of to justify anything else.

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