Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bullshit or Not: Thomas Jefferson Edition

There's an old sketch film called Amazon Women on the Moon and one of the bits is a parody of the old Leonard Nimoy show, "In Search Of..." called, "Bullshit or Not?" with the tagline "Bullshit or not? You decide." It's a line I like so much that I've stolen it for an irregular series of posts.

In honor of Thomas Jefferson's birthday yesterday, let's play with a quotation from this Founding Father,

"There is a debt of service due from every man to his country, proportioned to the bounties which nature and fortune have measured to him." --Thomas Jefferson to Edward Rutledge, 1796. ME 9:354
So, does everyone owe a debt of service to his or her country and community? If so, is it like a progressive tax increasing with one's bounties or do we all have the same obligation to give back? Why should your reward for hard work give you an increased obligation? What forms could this service take? do accidental services count, for example, one often hears the argument for regressive tax breaks in the form of an argument that the wealthy create more jobs and therefore simply by being rich and doing what rich people do, they are doing their part.

As usual, feel free to leave anything from a single word to a dissertation. So, TJ, bullshit or not?