Charity is a Cold Gray Thing

Twitter has brought this picture. I’ve been saying this for years, but this guy captures this sentiment in a succinct and clear way.



4 thoughts on “Charity is a Cold Gray Thing

  1. Vladimir says:

    IMHO the quote gets it entirely backwards: as taxes is a loveless, impersonal, cold black governmental hole, that sucks in huge amounts of money, wastes large portion of it on simply sustaining itself, mismanages another good chunk, spends most of it on things that have nothing to do with helping the ones in real need. Whereas most charities are way more efficient and the lion share of the proceeds is actually reasonably well targeted towards achieving stated goals, whatever segments of the sick, poor or otherwise disadvantaged they serve.

    I don’t recall that very generous characters like Gates or Buffet have been known to write large gift checks to the Treasury preferring instead to act thru the foundations.

    So, I am hard pressed to see the logic of the statement…

    • Charities tend to be vanity or self-aggrandizement projects, as demonstrated recently by John Paulson who donated $400mln to Harvard. I’d rather have a faceless government to disburse help, even with inefficiency and bureaucracy, but without pretense and fanfare and preferences.
      Also, I question the manner in which the money, that is being given out so wantonly on such undeserving project as a university that is flush with cash, was acquired: Is one parting with such an amount so easily came into it possession with a similar ease? And who was on the other end?
      Also, a government doesn’t require its name to be put on the building along with the donation. Recipients of government help, while lowly, lazy burden on society in your view, don’t have (at least in theory) to bend over backwards to come into the good graces of the giver, unlike the foundations who depend on the whims of billionaires.
      Indeed, how many billionaires donated money, anonymously, to say, students who got scammed by the for-profit colleges or underwater homeowners? The generous givers seem to be too oblivious to more worthy causes than foundations, right-leaning think-tanks and elite universities – all of those hardly in need of donations.

      • Vladimir says:

        Using exceptions(Harvard donation, the true nature and purpose of which, by the way, you seem to misunderstand as well; I believe about 80% of Princeton students study for free, partially thanks to those foundations) and fact-twisting can always be relied on to fit anybody’s argument in an attempt to negate a world of good voluntary donations make. Your argument, as such, remains entirely unconvincing and weak ( how does a plaque on a building make a donation unworthy, why bring this fact in at all? Do named hospital wings not treat the sick? ).
        I, personally, like millions of others ( possibly you as well ) regularly donate to Salvation Army and genetic disease research foundation in addition to whatever other good causes touch my heart. If I recall right, Americans are one of or the most charitable nation and calling that a loveless thing compared to the black wasteful taxation hole will remain a nonsensical if catchy phrase.

  2. What don’t I understand about the Harvard donation? What facts do I twist?
    There’s nothing wrong with the kind of charity that you described, where millions of people donate small amounts of money every year, doing their part. If you noticed I have a problem with:

    1. The idea that charity will cure all ills. Too many praises for charities coming from certain quarters are simply an excuse to gut the government and social services. It’s the notion that government is bad and private interests are good, therefore let’s just cure social ills with charity. But charity is elective and unstable. What are those in need supposed to do if Wall Street has a bad year, or if everyone is interested in breast cancer or genetic diseases, but not in schoolchildren who don’t have lunch money or underwater homeowners. Some charities are sexier than others, so some will receive more money from the wealthy crowd than others. What are the unpopular causes supposed to do?

    2. It’s not that university donations are wrong. It’s that there are millions causes out there that are more in need of support, especially now. Who’s gonna manage those priorities if the donors don’t?

    3. Paulson’s donation comes with a clause where the recipient school has to carry his name. If it’s all about magnanimity, couldn’t he make it anonymously?

    4. And finally, on a meta-level, it’s the idea that taxes should be cut, wages frozen, regulations relaxed, pension funds raided to allow guys like Paulson to make more money so that they can then ride in on a white horse and claim to help with the very people they fleeced. Maybe if it wasn’t for his day job, people wouldn’t need that help after all. They create a need and then they try to monopolize the cure. Worse, they don’t even disburse the cure to those on whose backs they made those millions. They give it to their pet projects.

    That’s why charity, as it exists now, is a cold, gray, loveless thing.

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