Wall Street Journal to charities: Suck it

 I really need to stop reading the WSJ – I really only do, I guess, to find out how the crazy people think – and I think it’s making me crazy.For example, yesterday the WSJ printed not one, but TWO anti-charity screeds. In the same edition. What do they have against charity? It’s not like it’s government and taxes or anything. It’s charity, you know, voluntary.
 Anyway, the op-ed page posted a commentary by one Kimberly O. Dennis: “Gates and Buffett Take the Pledge” about those guy’s challenge to America’s billionaires to get serious about philanthropy.

Ms. Dennis is the CEO of the Searle Freedom Trust. Right away, with the name “Freedom” in the business title, you can bet it’s about freedom for one type of person: rich.

The bottom line of her argument? Charity is a waste of time and money. Great business people will help humanity more by simply making money for themselves.

Here are some gems from the piece:

“Successful entrepreneurs-turned-philanthropists typically say they feel a responsibility to “give back” to society. But “giving back” implies they have taken something. What, exactly, have they taken? Yes, they have amassed great sums of wealth. But that wealth is the reward they have earned for investing their time and talent in creating products and services that others value. They haven’t taken from society, but rather enriched us in ways that were previously unimaginable.”
Good. Lord. That the US still has people who believe this and are willing to say this publicly does not bode well for our future. This is the epitome of the me-first mentality that pervades so much of “conservative” thinking. This is certainly not in the Christian tradition. This will divide the nation, perhaps irreparably.

Then we get this beaut – why, even if Mr. Gates does succeed in achieving his goals, we won’t be better off!

“Even if Mr. Gates makes progress in achieving his ambitious philanthropic objectives—eradicating disease, reducing global poverty, and improving educational quality—these accomplishments are unlikely to match what he achieved by giving us the amazing capability we literally have at our fingertips to access and spread information. The very doctors and scientists who may develop cures for diseases like malaria will rely on the tools Microsoft supplies to conduct their research. Had Mr. Gates decided to step down from his company and turn to philanthropy sooner than he did, they might have fewer such tools.”

Read that again. Are you shitting me? Eradicating poverty and disease and improving human minds are nothing compared to the next Windows application? Surely this person is not serious.

But she doesn’t stop there. No, she goes on to say that there have been absolutely no charitable advances as good for people as the cell phone and the birth control pill.

“Think about it for a moment: Can you point to a single charitable accomplishment that has been as transformative as, say, the cell phone or the birth-control pill?”

Good. Lord.

And the final peroration:

 “My point is simply that there is nothing inherently better or nobler about using one’s resources for charitable purposes than for any number of other ones. If anything, the marketplace does a better job of channeling resources toward where they are most valued, and of punishing failure.”

“But let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that businessmen are likely to achieve more by giving their money away than they have by making it in the first place”

We knew conservatives hated any kind of government that did anything except make the rich richer. Now we get to see an even darker side – they hate anything that actually helps anyone (other than other rich people, I assume). And all this is couched under the “market knows best” mantra.

But hey, let us eat cake: “Even buying a yacht creates jobs for yacht-builders.”Read the unbelievable mess here

 Then, in the weekender section, we get a screed against foundations. The thrust of this article is that they don’t give ENOUGH away; they should be forced to get rid of their money asap, essentially. Of course, once they are out of business, then we won’t have any pesky philanthropic meddling and why all those people and organizations who have been sucking at the charitable tit will just have to get back on the treadmill and work even harder for their rich overlords. Read it yourself.


1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

One response to “Wall Street Journal to charities: Suck it

  1. geoff

    nice post, steve. keep it coming.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s