Sunday, April 4, 2010

Private Charity

To give of one's life to another is the ultimate expression of love. We venerate the gift of the life of Jesus of Nazareth to mankind in the Christian church, we institutionalize the giving of the rest of ones life to another in marriage, and we honor the giving of one's life to save the lives of ones comrades with posthumous awards and glorification.

Ones property, the fruits of ones labor, is a physical manifestation of the effects of ones life as lived up to this point in time. The giving of one's own property to another is, in effect, the giving of part of one's life to that other person, and it is a deep expression of love worthy of praise. I believe it is the proper way to express the natural impulse to help our fellow man. I also believe it is the most effective and efficient way to do it since the two people to whom a gift has the most value are the giver (who has given a part of his life to earn the gift) and the receiver (whose life will be improved by the receipt of that gift). Because these are the two people who assign the highest value to the gift, it is reasonable to assume that they alone have the highest motivation to make that the most efficient use of that gift. This is why I assert that private charity is the most efficient means to the the uplifting of humankind, and that it holds even if you have a utilitarian point of view.

Since I believe that the fruits of ones labor belong exclusively to ones self, I can also see no moral justification for any charity other than private, voluntary charity. In fact, I believe that anything non-private cannot truly be charity, and that to redefine charity such that it may apply to non-private means muddles the definition to the point of incoherence.

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