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« Truce? | Main | Punishing Kim Jong-Il »

November 29, 2006

Who Really Cares ... Who’s More Charitable?

On "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is," I have to agree with Roberto: It's not a matter of political ideology. And the argument, I believe, is moot. Charitableness is not -- or should not be -- a contest. We know what Jesus said about that (which is not to be confused with some well-known people, like Gates and Buffett -- Warren, not Jimmy! -- who can't help but be spotlighted by media for their giving). So if someone like Sowell lines up his arguments simply to come up at the end with, "Nyah, nyah! We're more charitable [read holier] than thou!" -- I'm left with, "Who really cares?" to borrow the title of Brooks's book. That is not the point.

But if you know me, you know I tire of the label game. And personally in my own situation, so-called "liberals" have been more helpful than most so-called "conservatives." But those who have been helpful have that common denominator Roberto mentioned: religion.

Point: Forget labels. Just get out there and do the good that you can. God uses everyone -- sometimes despite their lack of faith in Him.

But another thing concerned me too about the original post: the idea of the "right way" to be charitable. (And now, there are some supposedly "charitable" works that I don't think are the "good" I refer to above -- everyone remember the inner-city campaign to pay poor women to be sterilized?)

By the issue of the "right way" to help, I mean debate over the large-scale work of government vs. the work of smaller non-profits/NGOs and individuals. It's another issue where I think in some instances (like poverty relief), we can have a both/and situation, not an either/or one. After all, in relieving poverty in nations whose governments are corrupt, small NGOs can't put the pressure on rogue leaders that governments can -- and that pressure by governments, that oversight, also allows those small ministries an entrance into potentially hostile countries to help the hungry and sick. (I've read that the acronym for Bono's group, DATA, stand not only for "Debt, Aids, Trade Africa," but also "Democracy, Accountability, Transparency for Africa.") So if you don't think efforts like the ONE campaign are an answer you can support, then support the small ministry or non-profit on the ground. But I still say don't dismiss those large-scale, government-involved efforts.

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Arthur C. Brooks controversial new book Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth about Compassionate Conservatism is the subject of my first ever vlog. Arthur C. Brooks website Other blogging about this book include: Atlas Shrugs... [Read More]

Comments

LAbriAlumn

If I'm not mistaken, the original point was that the argument of the Left that those who are opposed to State control of all of life, and thus also charity, are somehow uncharitable, is a false allegation.

That in reality those who believe in personal and ecclesiastical charity are in fact more charitable than their critics.

That those who believe that power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely are not actually hostile to charity, but rather to tyranny, and to the tremendous waste and harmful consequences of civil government charities as opposed to private charities.

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