Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Do Objectivists give to charity?

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

Do any true Objectivists give to charity? What kind of charity? Why or why not?

Also can one be for capitalism and also be an altruist? Like for instance someone who believes they should sacrifice their own happiness for other people but also respect other peoples rights to live free from physical force?

Edited by Solid_Choke
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do any true Objectivists give to charity? What kind of charity? Why or why not?

Well, I'm not sure what a "true" Objectivist is, but I do. I prefer charities that

a. require recipients to give of their own effort in order ot receive benefit (e.g. Habitat for Humanity)

b. give to survivors of those who were working in some capacity to protect of defend me (such as soldiers)

c. serve as vetting agencies for other charities (e.g. The United Way)

d. cancer charities (I'm a cancer survivor)

I only give of what I consider, my surplus, and don't feel it a duty to give in any way.

Also can one be for capitalism and also be an altruist? Like for instance someone who believes they should sacrifice their own happiness for other people but also respect other peoples rights to live free from physical force?

No. Not and live consistently.

Someone who believes they should sacrifice their own happiness, implictly believes the right of others to use physical force on them. They may refrain from initiating physical force on others, but they are lambs waiting for slaughter by the first person who will use their belief in self-sacrifice against them.

At some level, they enable initiators of physical force, by not standing up for themselves.

(Note: a long time ago, when I was a teen-ager, I was a Christian and a pacifist. It was exactly this principle that I had to work through for myself to break myself of the idea that one could favor capitalism and altruism simultaneously. Thank goodness for Rand... :( )

Edited by KendallJ
Link to comment
Share on other sites

ARI falls under some people's definition of a charity but then there have been other threads about it being "non-profit." If you consider that a charity, then yes I contribute to it.

Also, I volunteer and contribute money to a local rabbit rescue organization. But, I don't consider it an act of sacrifice. My wife and I really like rabbits and have them as pets. So, we foster rabbits that are abandoned or literally thrown away and turn them into loving social pets. It's not because we have a sense of duty. Quite the contrary, we both gain a great deal of value turning domestic but somewhat feral rabbits into gentle house pets. Plus they are fun to watch. Plus, there are other threads about the value of pets.

So yes, I do contribute time and money to a charity, but it's far from a personal sacrifice. If we didn't enjoy doing the job, we wouldn't do it. Sure, my wife says she derives her pleasure is helping bunnies. It's just her Catholic way of saying she gains a great deal of satisfaction helping rabbits the same as I do.

Now if she decided to run a wild boar rescue and domestication thing, then that would qualify as a sacrifice. But then again, she'd never do it because boars bring no pleasure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do any true Objectivists give to charity? What kind of charity? Why or why not?

In addition to various non-profile organizations working to advance Objectivist ideas (ARI, the Anthem Foundation), my wife and I make charitable donations for private disaster relief incidents (e.g. Katrina relief, 9/11 relief, earthquake disaster relief, etc). These are targeted donations to assist people who have been harmed by events totally outside their control; the private-sector equivalent of a safety net. I make occasional contributions to the Disabled American Veterans, and to the United States Shooting Team.

We also donate blood. (Well, I did until they told me to stop.)

None of this is sacrificial to us; we value the goals of the organizations to which we donate money and want to see them advanced, and we can afford the donations. In fact, I don't think of what I do as donating to charity; I think of it as investing in my values.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No. Not and live consistently.

Someone who believes they should sacrifice their own happiness, implictly believes the right of others to use physical force on them. They may refrain from initiating physical force on others, but they are lambs waiting for slaughter by the first person who will use their belief in self-sacrifice against them.

At some level, they enable initiators of physical force, by not standing up for themselves.

And if you do stand up for yourself (requires the use of force to counter the government's use of force against you), you are then labeled a terrorist. What a dilemma.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's not so much the labeling as a terrorist that's the problem. It's more the being shot and/or spending a long time in jail. Not much of a dilemma for me.

That depends on how badly the government is violating your rights. If it's a minor thing like a traffic law you don't like, that's one thing, but let's say it's something that affects your very ability to survive, then it becomes a different situation entirely.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

not necessarily?

Are you asking a question or challenging the premise?

Implicitly, means that one implies the other. By accepting one, you accept the other. However, you may not claim to, and there may be situations where you don't act that way. If you live consistenly by the premise of altruism however, there will come a day and an argument that is put to you that will cause you to fail to stand up to initiation of force because the initiator is claiming your duty to sacrifice yourself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was a challenge, I suppose.

You could have similarly said that a pacifist can't be a capitalist.

I suspect that you mean is that a person couldn't simultaneously be a consistent altruist and a 100% capitalist... which I'd kinda agree with.

But (without knowing exactly what constitutes a 100% altruist or a consistent capitalist), I think what Solid_Choke meant was could one be a consistent capitalist and, say, a 10% altruist. To which, I would think the answer would be: yes.

Or not?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But (without knowing exactly what constitutes a 100% altruist or a consistent capitalist), I think what Solid_Choke meant was could one be a consistent capitalist and, say, a 10% altruist. To which, I would think the answer would be: yes.

Or not?

They could be a 90% Capitalist, meaning they would be a 100% Capitalist 90% of the time... for what that's worth if you happen to catch them during the 10%.

Ever listen to Rush Limbaugh?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

As a person who has worked in the Charity and Fundraising Sector for six years I can let those that don't know that 'most' charities these days don't just give out hand-outs, but create the enviroment and give the skill/knowledge so people can carry themselves out of poverty etc.

Edited by deviadah
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do Objectivists give to charity? I am sure some do, and some don't. There isn't anything wrong to give to charity, per se, and I am sure there are many Objectivists who do give to charity (like myself). It is good to give to charity when it brings you value. What that value is, one has to know it. However, I am sure there are various Objectivists who don't give to charity, and there isn't anything wrong with it as well.

Now, Deviadah, you say that most charities don't give hand-outs but, to paraphrase, a hand up. Even if thats true, a person shouldn't have to give to charity unless they find that it brings them some type of value, and helps them out (usually indirectly). Are you implying that most people should give to charity?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Donating money can be a value if the money is not needed to gain/keep another (higher) value.

There are some things that there is a value to be gained by donating money to them, as I see it:

  • Scientific researches that are expected to bring improvement to man's life within the lifetime of the donator.
  • In a country with an ideal government, there is a value to be gained by giving charity to organizations that educate orphans, The value is that this reduces the crime rates (which would be the positive result of uneducated youth), it can possibly give some good minds the means to develop products that will eventually make the donator's life better.
  • Donate to organizations that give shelter for disabled people, and people who are unable to work at that time of their life (or at all). Not having rotting corpses in the streets would undoubtedly improve life and reduce diseases.

There are probably more, but those are all I could think of.

As for myself: I don't give to charity organizations because at this point of my life most of the money I use is not mine (parents pay for my education).

I give money and help to people who are in trouble because of something out of their control. For example: a kid that lost his wallet and needs money to take the bus home, or needs to make a phone-call home from my cellular, or someone who got injured on the street and needs some medical help (my part would be calling someone who can give it).

I consider those things to be charity as well.

In the future, I am going to give to charity, but only after I have everything that I want, and still have extra money.

Edited by ifatart
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Generally speaking no, but there are certain charities that I would be willing to donate to if I have some extra cash and if I feel like it. I certainly do not consider it my duty or obligation. I'd donate to things that I consider worthwhile or to organizations that have helped me (e.g. veterans, cures for diseases, boy scouts/girl scouts (b/c I was a scout), etc). On two occasions I've also given money to a homeless person. The ONLY reason I did so is because in each case they were kids and minors basically aren't capable of making good choices (if it was an adult I probably would not have given him anything).

There are certain organizations that I would NEVER donate to, however. Any welfare-like program or any organization that tries to lay a guilt trip on me. In those cases they typically cite altruism as their reason for existing, which obviously contradicts Objectivism.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also can one be for capitalism and also be an altruist? Like for instance someone who believes they should sacrifice their own happiness for other people but also respect other peoples rights to live free from physical force?

No.

If you're a personal altruist, meaning, you believe that you should sacrifice your own happiness to some other cause, then this other cause demands that people like you sacrifice their own happiness to it. All other people are "like you," because there is no fundamental difference in the relationship between you and this cause and the relationship between anybody else and this cause. All other people should sacrifice their own happiness to this cause. You believe in universal altruism. Universal altruism is the logical conclusion of personal altruism.

Once you've reached a belief in universal altruism, a belief that the highest principle of ethics is that it is morally right to sacrifice and morally wrong not to, that sacrifice is demanded from everybody, you stop believing in rights of others, because others' rights cannot trump the highest principle of ethics. There is no longer any ethical principle against forcing others to sacrifice; but a strong ethical principle for it. You are not a capitalist.

The idea is that personal altruism (altruism for you) naturally leads to universal altruism (altruism for everybody), and that universal altruism is fundamentally incompatible with rights, which are principles deriving from the morality of egoism.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now, Deviadah, you say that most charities don't give hand-outs but, to paraphrase, a hand up. Even if thats true, a person shouldn't have to give to charity unless they find that it brings them some type of value, and helps them out (usually indirectly). Are you implying that most people should give to charity?

Well if the charity you give money to works to support, improve, such areas that you yourself think are important to you - then give to it. For instance enviromental problems is important. In fact it would be out of interest to yourself to support such groups that try and save nature and stop pollution. It doesn't matter what you want to do with your life and what values you have etc if you don't have a planet/world to do them in. In this case it would be egotistical to support such a charity because it will help your own world.

Edited by deviadah
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is, of course, assuming that there is a major problem and that these groups actually do something about it... I have yet to be convinced of either.

That there is a problem is not an issue I would like to discuss. You are entitled to your opinion, but there are hundreds of examples of how organisations have managed to stop and/or change enviromental crimes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For instance enviromental problems is important. In fact it would be out of interest to yourself to support such groups that try and save nature and stop pollution.

Hardly. "Nature" does not need saving. While it is certainly a violation of my rights if I am specifically damaged by the emissions of some entity, "pollution in general" is a laughable concept.

Nice thread about it here.

I can see deviadah, that while you profess an affinity for Rand, you disagree with a good many of her ideas.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hardly. "Nature" does not need saving. While it is certainly a violation of my rights if I am specifically damaged by the emissions of some entity, "pollution in general" is a laughable concept.

Nice thread about it here.

I can see deviadah, that while you profess an affinity for Rand, you disagree with a good many of her ideas.

Well it's more that we probably needs to be saved from nature. And who is to say who agrees more. In the end it is all about how you interpret her ideas. Remember that Atlas Shrugged, for instance, is fiction with ideas within. She says so herself that the End of her work is the story.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...