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.
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.