Charity is Selfish

I try to give 10% of my income to charity.   I don’t succeed every year, but I do try.

I don’t give because I’m generous.  I give because I’m selfish.

If you give to charity, you are too.

I’m not talking about people who give to charity strictly for the tax deduction, though that is selfish too.   I’m referring specifically to the people who give to charity out of the goodness of their hearts.

If I give a thousand dollars worth of clothes to a homeless shelter, I get a warm fuzzy feeling knowing that I helped people stay warm.

If I send $100 to the Red Cross for whatever terrible disaster happened shortly before I made the donation, it makes me feel good to have contributed to saving those lives.

The put-the-inner-city-kids-on-a-horse thing we do?  Makes me happy to get those kids into a positive situation.

Donating blood?  Yay, me!  I’m saving lives!

While it’s nice to help other people, that’s not the ultimate reason I’m doing it.  I do it because it makes me feel good about myself to help other people, particularly people who–for whatever reason–can’t help themselves.

That’s the basis of altruism.   It’s not about helping others, it’s about feeling good about helping others.

The truly selfish, the evil dogooders, are the ones who want to raise taxes to give it away as “charity”.   They get to feel like they are doing something and helping others while not actually contributing themselves and, at the same time, stealing that warm fuzzy feeling from the people who are providing the money to start with.

Evil.

Charity has to be done at  a personal, local level or the benefits to the giver are eliminated while the benefits to the receiver are lessened.  Bureaucracy doesn’t create efficiency.

For the record, if it’s taken by force, by tax, it isn’t charity.  Charity cannot be forced.   Forcing charity is, at best, a fraudulent way for petty politicians, bureaucrats, lobbyists, and activists to feel they have power over others.

Again, evil.

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  • 10 comments

    Comments

    1. This reminds me of the episode of Friends when Phoebe tries to do selfless acts without feeling good. Have you seen that? It was impossible for her not to feel good.

    2. I thought of the same thing as Michelle. Nothing in this world is completely selfless. Luckily, some selfish acts do a lot of good for other people too.

    3. That’s what’s great about charity, when you’re giving on your own accord: you can do something that makes you feel good, and it makes others feel good as well. It’s a win-win, which is the beauty of it – even if there’s self-interest involved, which is human nature in many cases anyway.

    4. I doubt any good act, charity or otherwise, is truly selfless. There’s some type of benefit or emotional satisfaction form it.

    5. I don’t think it is possible to stop ourselves from feeling a benefit from something. Nothing is truly selfless but trying to be I think is what counts. If we all spent more time thinking about and helping others instead of ourselves the world would be much better off.

    6. I want to get involved in some kind of charity for this very reason. Sure helping other people is great, but the emotional reward you get is even better. Do you still try to donate 10% to charity if money is tight?

    7. Charity bets the alternative (stealing from others)… You’ll never make me feel selfish from giving to others 🙂

      Not raising taxes… I agree evil (just in itself) lol

    8. Charity bets the alternative (stealing from others)… You’ll never make me feel selfish from giving to others 🙂

      Now raising taxes… I agree evil (just in itself) lol

    9. I donated platelets on Saturday, and I did it to help people with cancer, or premie babies or anyone who needs them. I also did it for the warm fuzzy feeling, and also the quiet time I could spend with my Kindle 🙂

    10. That’s a really interesting take on charity. The title is provocative, and the main reason I took the time to read.

      I agree with you. When we give it does warm our hearts. I think it makes us more complete as well.

      And as for the government taking by force to redistribute, you are correct. That isn’t charity. That’s coercion (by any name).

      There is a great book I read a few years ago called “Who Really Cares” which is an exhaustive look at charity in the USA. It is very revealing.

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