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Hurricane Katrina

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The Wrath
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Inspector, I understand a lot of your sentiments. However, not everyone trapped in New Orleans deserved their fate. Some people were old, ill and unable to leave on their own power.

Others, all though economic status is not an excuse for complete innaction, were just too poor to find a means out, in part because the evacuation of the city was poorly executed.

And a lot of the money donated will go towards helping those who did have the sense to leave, and who still have lost everything they worked for.

Edited by Captain Nate
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Nate, such innocent people surely do exist, but the important points are that:

1) You must be extremely careful not to let sentiment overwhealm your reason and if you are going to donate, you have a responsibility to make sure your money is not feeding one of those parasites. If you can't be sure that your money isn't helping scum, then don't donate.

2) Your money is already being expropriated and you must be careful not to sanction this by saying, "No, that's not enough of my money. Here is some more."

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Nate, such innocent people surely do exist, but the important points are that:

1) You must be extremely careful not to let sentiment overwhealm your reason and if you are going to donate, you have a responsibility to make sure your money is not feeding one of those parasites. If you can't be sure that your money isn't helping scum, then don't donate.

The only way to do that would be to travel to Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama myself, interview people and then grant specific amounts of money or resources to those I deem deserving. Such an act is not only inefficient and prohibitively expensive, but also against my own interests for the time and effort required.

I could help far more deserving people by donating to a reputable organization to handle it. Is there a possibility of parasites recieving aid? Yes. But it would be far worse if no worthy people recieved aid because of worries about a few freeloaders.

2) Your money is already being expropriated and you must be careful not to sanction this by saying, "No, that's not enough of my money. Here is some more."

True, but the opposite argument could be made too. By not donating, I could send the message that Americans are not willing to act without government coercion to respond to emergency situations.

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The only way to do that would be to travel to Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama myself, interview people and then grant specific amounts of money or resources to those I deem deserving. Such an act is not only inefficient and prohibitively expensive, but also against my own interests for the time and effort required.

I could help far more deserving people by donating to a reputable organization to handle it. Is there a possibility of parasites recieving aid? Yes. But it would be far worse if no worthy people recieved aid because of worries about a few freeloaders. 

Quick response here: I would consider it worse if a parasite got one dime than if ten innocents went without aid. Nobody "deserves" or "has a right to" my money so it's no loss if nobody innocent gets any. But it IS a loss if a parasite gets any.

And good point with going yourself being the only way to be sure. That is true. So don't donate.

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When I get the urge to donate to causes like this, I write the check to ARI instead.

I figure that while everyone is donating to the current catastrophe, I will do my part to help lessen the tragedy of the next one.

A noble thing to do, if you can spare the cash. But as a note to everyone, always make SURE you can actually spare it! Selfishness starts with the self, after all! :)

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words

If any of the government's current functions are justified, then disaster relief will be near the top. The residents of New Orleans have paid their taxes and are entitled to demand a level of support far in excess of what they have received. The government collects billions of dollars every year, and its incompetence in reacting to one of the worst American disasters of the century is disgraceful.

Edited by Hal
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Quick response here: I would consider it worse if a parasite got one dime than if ten innocents went without aid. Nobody "deserves" or "has a right to" my money so it's no loss if nobody innocent gets any. But it IS a loss if a parasite gets any.

And good point with going yourself being the only way to be sure. That is true. So don't donate.

That is absurd and disrespectful as well. It is MORE IMPORTANT to recognize the GOOD than it is to harm the EVIL.

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Others, all though economic status is not an excuse for complete innaction, were just too poor to find a means out, in part because the evacuation of the city was poorly executed.

What I’m hearing you say here is that the government is responsibly for some aspect of your lives. Correct me if i'm wrong or I missed your meaning. If you’re standing in a road with a car racing at you, are you going to wait for the government to create an escape plan to save you? I’ve argued this point with several other people and the greatest response was “that’s ridiculous, this was a natural disaster, this was different.” Different how? Because it happens on a larger scale? At what point do you stop being responsible for your own wellbeing and the government steps in to hold your hand.

The point I’m trying to get at here is that the people elected these officials; they made the choice and voted. If they where concerned about they’re safety and that of the others around them then they should have taken more of an interest or made more noise in the creation of an efficient evacuation plan. Instead they sat back and just assumed that some one else would think about it for them. You’re free to make any choice you want, but you’re not free of the consequences of that choice.

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How is it a compromise if you accidentally help some evil people while trying to help some good people?

Now, if even the good people are saying that you HAVE to help the evil people, it is their right to demand your assistance because they are evil, then you're talking about a compromise on principle. But if you are upholding the principle that only the good deserves aid, then it doesn't matter whether you can personally ensure that no evil people profit.

It does behoove you to at least pay attention to the proportion of evil vs. good people involved; at a certain point you are not doing more good than harm. This is why I won't donate to the Red Cross, regardless of who it is helping. (Or claims to be helping. Bleh.)

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That is absurd and disrespectful as well.  It is MORE IMPORTANT to recognize the GOOD than it is to harm the EVIL.

While I agree that it is more important to recognize the good than harm the evil, I think you are mistakenly applying that principle.

Charity is a neutral act. The only way that giving to those people could be "the good" would be if they deserved it by right. They don't.

This is held up against the idea of sanctioning evil, which is the only source of evil's ability to exist. There's a major difference between the moral status of harming vs not harming evil and SANCTIONING it.

It's not helping the good vs harming evil; it's a basically neutral or minor act vs. SANCTIONING evil.

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It does behoove you to at least pay attention to the proportion of evil vs. good people involved; at a certain point you are not doing more good than harm.

That's a major part of my point! The majority of people trapped down there are NOT innocent or good. Have you read the TIA article? Have you watched the zillions of interviews-on-the-streets? How about the reports of armed gangs, looting, rape, murder, etc? What does all that tell you about how much evil there is down there?

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That's a major part of my point! The majority of people trapped down there are NOT innocent or good. Have you read the TIA article? Have you watched the zillions of interviews-on-the-streets? How about the reports of armed gangs, looting, rape, murder, etc? What does all that tell you about how much evil there is down there?

The gang violence, looting, rape and murder are a small segment of those who stayed, whereas most aid will be going towards the majority who left, and the minority who stayed, yet were not involved in criminal activity.

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Charity is a neutral act. The only way that giving to those people could be "the good" would be if they deserved it by right. They don't.

This is held up against the idea of sanctioning evil, which is the only source of evil's ability to exist. There's a major difference between the moral status of harming vs not harming evil and SANCTIONING it.

It's not helping the good vs harming evil; it's a basically neutral or minor act vs. SANCTIONING evil.

In the context you indicated, this could be applied to anyone, anywhere, at any time, unless you weirdly believe that there will be no bad guys in any significant group of people. Better watch how you spend your money in general - maybe somebody who works for the store steals goods on the side and you're helping to support him indirectly by keeping the store going with your purchases!

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In the context you indicated, this could be applied to anyone, anywhere, at any time, unless you weirdly believe that there will be no bad guys in any significant group of people. Better watch how you spend your money in general - maybe somebody who works for the store steals goods on the side and you're helping to support him indirectly by keeping the store going with your purchases!

This form of evaluation applies to GIVING not to TRADING.

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Another point often missed with giving is that it must properly be an evaluation of the following: do you, yourself have a use for the money that would be MORE SELFISH? What will benefit yourSELF more: the well being of some stranger... who you don't know, will never know, who may or may not be the scum of the earth, who has done nothing to earn or deserve your money... or YOU spending it selfishly on a movie with your sweetheart, a car wash, or a fine steak dinner?

Personally, I can't afford a car wash, a fine steak dinner, or a movie with my wife. Medical school is expensive! But if I could, I would buy those things and not give my money to strangers who have done nothing to earn it.

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This form of evaluation applies to GIVING not to TRADING.

The same principle holds - you are stating that you don't wish to donate any money *because* it's worse in your view that some small amount might benefit a bad guy than any amount benefiting a good guy. Why does it change because it's a trade? The moral principle doesn't apply to trades? Why not?

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The same principle holds - you are stating that you don't wish to donate any money *because* it's worse in your view that some small amount might benefit a bad guy than any amount benefiting a good guy. Why does it change because it's a trade? The moral principle doesn't apply to trades? Why not?

In a trade, I am concerned primarily with the intended beneficiary: me. I will grant that I would refuse to trade with a truly evil person, even if the price was tempting.

GIVING on the other hand, is primarily a factor of the value of the person or persons you are giving to. A gift is a way of saying: "you earned this, you deserve this," or perhaps, "you will know better than me how to spend this."

In a trade, if the man I traded with gives that money to someone who gives that money to someone who gives that money to a bad person, that's not my responsibility. I didn't give it to the bad person and I couldn't be expected to know it would go there. On the other hand, if I give it to a charity to distribute on my behalf, then I AM responsible for who that charity gives it to. I had better be sure they're going to put it in the right places. If I can't be sure this will be the case, I had better damn well not give to that charity. What, you say? It's too hard to check up on them? Too bad; don't give then.

Or just give to the ARI. Or spend it on YOURSELF dammit!

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In a trade, I am concerned primarily with the intended beneficiary: me. I will grant that I would refuse to trade with a truly evil person, even if the price was tempting.

GIVING on the other hand, is primarily a factor of the value of the person or persons you are giving to. A gift is a way of saying: "you earned this, you deserve this," or perhaps, "you will know better than me how to spend this."

In a trade, if the man I traded with gives that money to someone who gives that money to someone who gives that money to a bad person, that's not my responsibility. I didn't give it to the bad person and I couldn't be expected to know it would go there. On the other hand, if I give it to a charity to distribute on my behalf, then I AM responsible for who that charity gives it to. I had better be sure they're going to put it in the right places. If I can't be sure this will be the case, I had better damn well not give to that charity. What, you say? It's too hard to check up on them? Too bad; don't give then.

Or just give to the ARI. Or spend it on YOURSELF dammit!

I would argue that there is no such thing as GIVING per se and that even a gift is an exchange. While the exchange may not be readily apparent, there is something. If I give my fiance a surprise bouquet of flowers that I don't care for but I know she'll love and I personally think is frivolous, it is a recognition of something she values. So by giving her flowers I am recognizing her contribution and value to me. And I get that warm fuzzy feeling knowing I made her happy. And no, I am not making some double entendre.

The same applies to giving to fellow coworkers who lost all in the storm. I've only exchanged a handful of emails in the past with them so you couldn't say that I have a particularly close relationship with them. However, by not only giving them money but leading a fund raising drive at work to help them out, I got the same warm fuzzies that I would with my fiance. If you want to look deeper, you could say that I gained some sort of second hander clout inside the company (that I honestly couldn't care about and given my company's decided lack of politics it wouldn't matter a hoot anyway) but I also know that we have a very tightly knit company. We tend to pull together in times like this and in the Iraq war when it came to helping out people. I know that if the same thing happened here in Houston, and it could, my co-workers would be there to help me get back on my feet. Also, I know that by giving some assistance to my coworkers will help them get back to work quicker and will help our corporate profits which will most definitely help come my bonus time.

Still, almost all of us were insured and have high paying jobs unlike most of the people you see on tv. Having lost everything myself in tropical storm Allison a few years ago I know that you still have a huge outlay of capital and having people that are close to you, and people you didn't know were close to you like co-workers volunteer to help is a bonus. At the time it happened I was pretty much on my own which I didn't really mind but a kind word would have meant alot.

The examples I'm citing are much more direct and specific that giving to the Red Cross, which from my earlier posts I'm very much opposed to. As a Houstonian, I know that we as a city are laying out some coin allowing the refugees use the dome etc but I know that we will in the end get an infusion of new blood in the city. We have a massive need for people to work and for the most part the refugees are willing to work. So Houston will benefit from their labor. Also Houston is getting a great deal of press coverage so the value of just getting the cities name out there can be calculated but that is beyond me. We have a large convention and tourist business and right now the mindshare Houston in getting around the country and the world for that matter is good. We've gone from that hot and humid as hell city with no trees to that really friendly city that the locals have been telling people forever it's like.

So while we are "giving away" alot of thing like the use of an unused stadium and, for the most part, private charities and then volunteers time and effort. In return we are getting some seriously good press and in the long run we'll benefit the city. Most of the people will eventually go back but the ones that want to work will stay and good, we can use them. What ticks me off is how much federal money is going to go and rebuild the city so that it can happen all over again the next hurricane.

And I'm in 100% agreement with you about giving to ARI. But it isn't giving as we do get so much from them in return. Actually it's one of the best bangs for the buck you can get. Plus, you don't actually have to "give" anything to ARI to contribute. You can do as I did and put them as beneficiaries on one of your life insurance or 401k plans etc through the Atlantis Legacy.

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...  if you are going to donate, you have a responsibility to make sure your money is not feeding one of those parasites. If you can't be sure that your money isn't helping scum, then don't donate.

...  by what principle is anyone here giving their money away?

It is better to sell goods or services than to give them. And better to sell at a high price than at a low price.

It is better to loan money than to donate money. And better to loan it at a high interest rate than at a low rate. And it is better to loan it to someone who is likely to repay than to someone who is likely to default.

If you are going to give help, it is better to give it to those who will use it to enhance their capabilities than to give it to those who will waste it or use it to do harm.

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Charity is a neutral act.

No it isn't. If you donate to an organization (say a Cancer society) because you want see a cure for Cancer, then it would be a good act since you are working for your selfish interest.

If on the other hand, you donate to say Africa even if it doesn't concern you in anyway, it would be bad.

The only way that giving to those people could be "the good" would be if they deserved it by right. They don't.

I don't think so. To paraphrase Miss Rand, if you see a man drowning and you can help him without sacrificing yourself, it would be good to help - it would involve respect for human life. Of course, you would not be immoral if you did not help him.

The same principle applies to the hurricane victims.

Edited by tommyedison
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