And if you died before paying it off, would it become your baby’s obligation?
I think most of us would answer those questions with a resounding “No way!” As well we should. We are not and should not be slaves to the past – slaves to actions we never took and for which we had no possible means of consent.
On September 6th, 1789, in the very first year of the US Constitution, Thomas Jefferson endorsed precisely this conclusion in a letter he wrote to James Madison:
I say, the earth belongs to each of these generations during its course, fully and in its own right. The second generation receives it clear of the debts and encumbrances of the first, the third of the second, and so on.
For if the first could charge it with a debt, then the earth would belong to the dead and not to the living generation.
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