Bryan Caplan  

Trains versus Tulips

Scientific Consensus or Religi... Free Trade Equals Redistributi...

I just got back from a relaxing trip to the famous Vanderbilt mansion, the Biltmore, in Asheville, North Carolina. The mansion was constructed at the behest of George Vanderbilt, grandson of shipping and rail magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt. Biltmore is especially beautiful this time of year - they're having their Festival of Flowers, and there are tulips as far as the eye can see.

Still, it's striking to me that George Vanderbilt gets praised to the skies for his pet project. All he really did was spend a pile of his forebears' money. And how much credit goes to Grandpa Cornelius, the man who actually earned the family fortune? Virtually none. All I saw was one homely portrait.

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COMMENTS (6 to date)
Bruce Cleaver writes:

I'll second Bryan's enthusiasm for the Biltmore Estate. If you haven't been (I've gone three times now) you are missing out on a staggering experience.

ricardo writes:

And their wine cellars are a fine place to round off a visit.

chippy writes:

In this post, the spirit of Ayn Rand lives on!

Nevertheless, I find your belief in the idea that money can be "earned" to be hopelessly bourgeois, incorrigibly naive, but ultimately quite endearing.

Mcwop writes:

I also recommend that folks visit the Vanderbilt ocean home, the Breakers, in Newport, RI. In fact there are quite a few great mansions to check out there.

Phil writes:

See? We need a bigger inheritance tax!

Zac writes:

The American way.. its evil to make money, but noble and patriotic to spend it.

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