Robert M. “Bob” Weekley, who died of pancreatic cancer in February 2015 at age 72, was an enthusiastic champion of the benefits of freedom to human flourishing. In 2010, he wrote,
I personally give to a variety of causes … but I think my giving to free-market groups is the most important because it preserves the very foundation upon which all wealth is created, which in turn enables all the other philanthropies to continue to exist.
Here’s why he wrote that check:
If someone else is willing to do all the work, I should be willing to write the check.
If the people who have benefited from this marvelous economic machine and legal system won’t contribute to help save it, who will?
There are four things you can do with your money when you have been fortunate enough to create a large amount: 1) spend it, 2) give it to your children, 3) give it to the government, or 4) invest it in a good cause. Of the four, the last is the most important and long lasting.
When we accumulate wealth earlier in our career, we usually continue to work to make even more. Later in our career, we would be wise to invest some of it to make a better country.
At the end of the day, which of the things we’ve done in our life will have the most lasting positive impact? One of the most important is to help preserve and enhance the legal and economic system that has been the cause of our nation’s health and prosperity, and which prior generations have provided for us.
Giving money today allows several benefits: personally seeing the money used effectively, feeling satisfaction, and gaining some recognition. Giving money tomorrow, after we’re gone, allows none of these.
Wouldn’t you rather decide today where, when, and how to most effectively spend your money for a better society, rather than have someone do it after you’re gone, and without your insights, values, and judgment?
If we’re investing to provide our children with the education they need to prosper in the future, we best also invest to insure a future that allows them to reap the benefits. It also sets a good example for them to follow.
Of the options of time, talent, and money, I should at least give some money.
I personally give to a variety of good causes—religion, education, health, the arts, politics and philanthropy, but I think my giving to free-market groups is the most important because it preserves the very foundation upon which all wealth is created, which in turn enables all the other philanthropies to continue to exist.