Perhaps the title of this post is a little harsh as the stupidity is not particularly profound. As a matter of fact, the stupidity that Think Progress displays in this Twitter posting from November 20th is completely common.
First off, this is what we’d call a fallacy of false dilemma. The idea that believing in hard work and individual merit and believing in inheritance rights are mutually exclusive is ridiculous on its face. But there’s a much greater ignorance at work here.
The support of hard work and individual merit is actually stems from a support of free markets, as those two principles are keys success in such an economic environment. The bedrock of the free market is property rights. The adoption of a 100% inheritance tax would, to any thinking person, be a fundamental violation of property rights, as it assumes that upon death ones property reverts to state ownership rather than as they might have chosen to divvy it up while they were alive.
Understood this way, rather than being an indication of cognitive dissonance as Think Progress suggests it is, the belief in hard work and merit actually precludes the belief in a 100% inheritance tax.
Note: Before someone else points it out; yes, I’m well aware that assuming Think Progress’s tweets are generated by something other than a rhesus monkey mashing a keyboard with his fists is dangerous.