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Hurricane Katrina

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The Wrath
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Can somebody define charity in a way that differentiates it from a purchase (specifically; a trade in which what you gain is of a higher value than what you give)? I've seen people here say that charity is not necessarily altruistic and that it can be done with self-benefiting ends. If that's the case, then what attribute of the concept "charity" requires that it have a different definition than any other type of trade?

Edited by Cole
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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.

(emphasis mine)

Right, that phrase "neutral act" referred to something else in my memory, I think. Definitely needs revision.

Ah, but you make a good point (the part I bolded), especially in light of tommyedison's very good points.

The basis on which anyone should donate anything is their expectation that the donee is a good person and will do good with it. And that good MUST exceed any alternate use that one has for the money or it is a foolish purchase.

Also, the basis of giving is the virtue of the donee, not the need of the donee.

Would you rather give to a more virtuous individual who needs it less or a less virtuous individual who needs it more? I'd be really curious to hear everyone's answer to that.

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Can somebody define charity in a way that differentiates it from a purchase (specifically; a trade in which what you gain is of a higher value than what you give)? I've seen people here say that charity is not necessarily altruistic and that it can be done with self-benefiting ends. If that's the case, then what attribute of the concept "charity" requires that it have a different definition than any other type of trade? 

 

I'd have to refer back to Inspector's reply to my post.

 

It's an exchange of material for spiritual.

The difference between a purchase (a trade of physical for physical) and charity (a trade of physical for meta-physical) is the reward for the trade.

If I purchase something, I'm trading money (or a service/good in case of a barter) for a good or service. I'm receiving a direct tangible physical benefit. I now have a pack of gum, a group of marketing consultants etc. That is clearly a trade. When I give $1 to buy a heart at the supermarket to support the National Cancer Society in memory of my father in law I have traded that dollar for a warm feeling (a physical feeling of warmth or metaphysical sensation of feeling right) knowing that my dollar is going towards helping potentially find a cure for cancer and that maybe someone including me may not have to go through the same hell he did. I find that inherently selfish.

Now where it becomes self destructive is giving to groups like the United Way, the Red Cross, or a million other groups who actually do some good they do so much bad stuff or are so horribly run that they override any metaphysical warm fuzzies you get. When I contribute to ARI, I get a newsletter and alot of emails in exchange for my donation. As I mentioned, when I die they will get a fair amount. But I view it as a fair exchange and even a bargain. For just $10 a month I'm getting Objectivism. Heck, that's less than what I pay for my sms usage. I've traded my money for a warm feeling of knowing that I am helping spread and support Objectivism.

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Would you rather give to a more virtuous individual who needs it less or a less virtuous individual who needs it more? I'd be really curious to hear everyone's answer to that. 

 

By example of the current topic, I contributed to effected coworkers to help them out. Since I know the kind of people we hire and having had some interaction with them in the past, I can say for sure they are more virtuous than your average guy sitting down the street at the Astrodome. Need wise, there are quite literally thousands of people in much more physical need than my coworkers but I made a contribution and helped out based on level of virtue and commonality.

I know that my money will go to much better use and will get more bang for the buck literally by doing that. In a way, I'm maximizing my gift based on morality of the receiver in order to make sure my money gets utilized to its max. So it's the same reason I would choose a high yielding money market over a low yielding one in a way but the performance is generated by the virtue of the recipient and the yield is realized in a metaphysical payment.

Actually, this could just about be a split topic on the morality of charity....Inspector has brought up some very good points.

Edited by scottkursk
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My wife and I gave a small amount, what we could afford to the Red Cross. I don't know why some of you hate the Red Cross. I didn't see any valid reason for it and I'm curious as to why so I can keep it in mind for the future.

The way I see it the best way to help these people out is through charity. If a huge Tornado ripped through my neighborhood and destroyed my home, other Americans would help me out through charity. So I see it as a trade.

Do I think NO should be rebuilt with taxpayer money, I do not but that is another issue.

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