The Paradox of Wealth
By: Thomas E. Brewton
Liberals are all for jacking the inheritance tax back to its former confiscatory level. Considering the frequency of left-wing liberal sons and grandsons of wealthy entrepreneurs, they might be better served by allowing wealth to pass down the generations.
An interesting question is whether growing up in families of great wealth inherently turns one toward liberalism, or whether education in Eastern prep schools and Ivy League liberal-socialist universities is the cause. The latter, of course, is greatly facilitated by the former.
Will the pattern so evident in the 1920s and 1930s be repeated with the scions of today’s newly wealthy families? Or was the source of moral degeneracy simply immersion in the emerging atheistic materialism of Ivy League schools at the beginning of the 20th century?
Ned Lamont, who is endeavoring to unseat Senator Joseph Lieberman in the Connecticut Democratic primary race, is an example of the inheritor of private wealth adopting socialism as his religion. He is the darling of the far-left wing of the Democratic Party and attracts support from all of its most radical elements.
An Associated Press article dated July 11, 2006, reports:
“After meeting Monday with Hartford ministers grappling with youth violence in Connecticut’s capital city, U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman extolled the virtues of faith-based initiatives.
“A young person who becomes a young person of faith accepts some very powerful truths that he or she is a child of God,” Lieberman, a Democrat and an observant Orthodox Jew, told reporters. He added that young people touched by religion are less likely to turn to violence.
“But Lieberman’s primary opponent, Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont, has criticized faith-based initiatives, especially those that involve the government giving religious groups tax dollars to provide public services.”
The Lamont family history, from great-grandfather down, provides a picture of the genesis of the Eastern liberal establishment.
Edward “Ned” Lamont, Senator Lieberman’s primary opponent, is the great-grandson of Thomas W. Lamont, a senior partner in J. P. Morgan and Co. from 1911 until 1943. Before the advent of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal in 1933, the Morgan firm was the most prestigious banking firm in the world, and Thomas Lamont became a very wealthy man.
The New Deal did its best to eviscerate the financial community in the process of debasing the dollar and promoting inflation as a nostrum to cure the Depression. But J. P. Morgan & Co. remained a major player in domestic and international finance.
Thomas Lamont was a devout Christian, and he and his wife raised their son Corliss Lamont as a Christian. Corliss, however, became an atheistic socialist after attending Harvard from 1920 to 1924 and receiving his PhD from Columbia University in 1928. His PhD thesis was devoted to denying the existence of God and life after death. This is hardly surprising, as he studied at Columbia under John Dewey, the high priest of socialist intellectualism.
Corliss Lamont’s son, Edward M. Lamont (Ned Lamont’s father) embraced his father’s liberal-socialism and passed his religious devotion to atheistic materialism along to his son. Like his grandfather, Ned Lamont is a product of Eastern prep schools and Harvard University, the leading edge of socialism in American education.
If Ned Lamont becomes the junior United States Senator from Connecticut, he won’t be any more liberal in social policies than Senator Lieberman, but my state will no longer be represented in the Senate by a believer in God.
This same pattern is manifest in the relative liberalism of Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.
Prescott Bush, the father of George H. W. Bush, was the son of an Ohio steel company president. He graduated from Yale in 1917, seven years before Corliss Lamont graduated from Harvard. Prescott Bush joined the American forces in the First World War as an artillery captain in France. Mr. Bush’s business activities culminated in a partnership in the Wall Street private banking firm of Brown Brothers Harriman & Company. In 1952 he was elected United States Senator from Connecticut, serving until 1963. He was a staunch supporter of President Eisenhower, who did not challenge the New Deal and Truman Fair Deal welfare-state, but sought to keep the Federal government role as modest as possible.
Senator Bush’s son George H. W. and grandson George W. both graduated from Yale, where all three were continually exposed to the religion of atheistic socialism. William F. Buckley, Jr. documented the dominance of socialism in “God and Man at Yale,” published in 1951, two years after George H. W. Bush’s graduation.
George H. W. Bush and William F. Buckley, Jr., are members of the last generation in which very few people were able to attend colleges and universities. The Eastern liberal establishment at the time was a small segment of the population for that reason, albeit extremely influential in national political councils.
Beginning with Bill Clinton’s Baby Boomer generation, very large percentages of the population have been inculcated with the crabbed religious beliefs of socialism, which have now infected nearly all institutions of higher education. The earlier pattern of inherited wealth funding the spread of socialism is no longer a significant factor, apart from the large endowments bestowed by liberal wealth.
The GI Bill at the end of World War II began Federal intervention in higher education. Creation in 1953 of the Department of Health Education and Welfare under the Eisenhower administration and President Johnson’s 1965 Elementary and Secondary Educational Act made the Federal government a major financier of education. They also have placed the Feds in position as arbiters who can prevent teaching the religious and moral traditions of Western civilization, the foundations of the Declaration of
Independence and our Constitution.
Thomas E. Brewton is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. His weblog is THE VIEW FROM 1776 (www.thomasbrewton.com).
Thomas E. Brewton is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.