(I'll award a Guest Post, max. 500 words, to the first person who
identifies the common phrase acronymized in the title of this piece.)
Jeff Jcaoby's post of today --
-- makes some interesting points, but concludes with a stunning display
of moral numbness:
"No one expects Brown to give the shirt off his back, or even to tithe
-- to give the tenth off the top that for many Americans is automatic.
Yet a well-heeled Republican senator who believes in the efficacy of
private action surely ought to be able to part with at least the same
fraction of his income as the average poor giver does."
I immediately focused on the "surely ought to be able" bit. Here's why:
"For Warren and Brown -- for most of us -- it's easier to criticize
other people's standards than to faithfully measure up to our own. In
the quest for votes, politicians will say just about anything to
convince us they are worthy. The road to moral integrity isn't paved
with campaign sound bites, though, but with admirable behavior."
So Senator Brown is well to do. That is, he makes a nice salary -- all
United States Senators do -- and has considerable assets already.
Therefore, he "surely ought to be able" to give more to "charity" than
he does at present.
But should he?
Unwise charity has done a great deal of harm, mainly by persuading its
recipients that if they choose not to carry their own weight, others
will carry them.
For best results, charity should be:
-- Kept strictly local, so its effects can be monitored;
-- Given to persons whose troubles are not of their own making;
-- NEVER given in cash, always in sustenance goods (i.e., food,
clothing, or shelter).
Anything else undercuts the drive to regain one's self-sufficiency.
Weakening individuals' willingness to provide for themselves and meet
their own, freely undertaken responsibilities is ANYTHING BUT "admirable
behavior." In fact, it's more usually a way to pat oneself on the back
-- or to curry favor with uncritical types who equate "charity" with
Not your best column, Mr. Jacoby.