Wednesday, January 05, 2005

The Anarchy of Altruism

Sure enough, we are accepting a National guilt for being the wealthiest nation and gleefully throwing money at the problem to redeem ourselves for the sin of wealth. 15 million was not enough

U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland suggested that the United States and other Western nations were being "stingy" with relief funds, saying there would be more available if taxes were raised.

So we offer 35 million lest we be unpopular, and the statement is revoked.

"The United States is not stingy," Mr. Powell said as the United States increased its initial package of disaster relief from $15 million to $35 million. "We will do more," he added during a round of morning TV interviews. "I wish that comment hadn't been made."

and what we have given is too random says some:

"The tsunami response so far demonstrates the US culture of giving in all of its profusion and confusion," says Larry Minear, coauthor of the book, "Charity of Nations," and an expert at the Feinstein International Famine Center at Tufts University.

So we beg to be forgiven, and private citizens offer their children's allowances and their own hearing aid money so we can boast a total of 163 million.

"I feel like our country has been such a bad citizen of the world in the recent past," Putterman says. "For a few minutes there, it looked like the administration was going to be pretty stingy, and I just felt like it was important for everyone to rally."

Now the total is 350 million, but then the AP analysis offers a word of caution: "US political leaders and analysts caution Americans shouldn't over-trumpet the American role, or risk a backlash.... While the United States may generate some goodwill among Muslims and blunt al-Qaida recruiting efforts, it will be squandered 'if the purpose of this is seen as political rather than humanitarian,' Bader said."

I suggest again we stop trying to buy favor and forgiveness, and that we reject the guilt that is unduly imposed upon us.

We don’t get thanks for liberating 50 million people with the blood and treasure of this nation, we get criticized, why would we suddenly become popular by feeding and clothing people in a region where Osama bin-Laden has opinion ratings that any American politician would give up his first born for?-The Bush & Clinton Tsunami Charity Tour – An Unnecessary Reality Show
[UPDATE] Now, as if to prove my point that it will never ever be enough, President Bush is seeking an additional $600 million (where do you think he's seeking that people? From your paycheck, that's where he's seeking it) To bring the grand total pledged in aid to a whopping $950 million. My my, aren't we the best now? Have we bought the world's love now? Surely for $950 million in taxpayers hard earned money we can buy the love and freedom of the whole wide world, can't we?
Andrew Natsios, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, told reporters Wednesday that the $950 million humanitarian pledge would represent "the most generous and the most extensive in American history for the U.S. government.

There is nothing wrong with giving to the relief effort in and of itself, and plenty of Americans are donating in appropriate ways, but to do it as an apology for something or out of guilt is very wrong.

"Do not hide behind such superficialities as whether you should or should not give a dime to a beggar. That is not the issue. The issue is whether you do or do not have the right to exist without giving him that dime. The issue is whether you must keep buying your life, dime by dime, from any beggar who might choose to approach you. The issue is whether the need of others is the first mortgage on your life and the moral purpose of your existence. The issue is whether man is to be regarded as a sacrificial animal. Any man of self-esteem will answer: 'No.' Altruism says: 'Yes'." -- Ayn Rand in Faith and Force: The Destroyers of the Modern World

To quote Robert Tracinski of TIA daily:

This is the real evil of our leaders' decision to give hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the tsunami victims. It is not that the aid is given, but that it is given on terms that surrender the individual's right to exist for his own sake

Distinguish good selfishness from bad selfishness
"Selfish" has two entirely different meanings. One is: "taking advantage of people against their will." The other is: "taking care of yourself and your family first and foremost and to whatever degree YOU deem appropriate." Obviously, the latter is a virtue, and the former is a vice. But if you fail to distinguish between the meanings you're prey to being suckered by con artists of either the deliberate variety* or of the more common unwitting, unthinking "disease carrier" kind. First they make you extremely fearful of ever being seen to take unwilling advantage of anyone, and then they twist it with the sneakiness of a magician and the cleverness of a lawyer to make you extremely fearful of ever being seen to take care of yourself and your
family first.

We are prone to sacrifice others when we are ready to sacrifice ourselves" -- Eric Hoffer, The Passionate State of Mind

The unstated premise of the doctrine of altruism is that all relationships among men involve sacrifice. This leaves one with the false choice between maliciously exploiting the other person (forcing them to be sacrificed) or being 'moral' and offering oneself up as the sacrificial victim." -- Jeff Landauer and Joseph Rowlands HERE

"Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money."-- Joseph Sobran


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