CHARITY IS AS CHARITY DOES
I keep hearing that liberals are uncharitable compared to conservatives and their Christian allies. Here they go again!
I contribute to many charities, but most of the causes I contribute to are those whose goals are to extend democracy to people normally shut out from full participation in our democracy, to end poverty forever and to build a just society in which charity will not be called "charity" but "justice". The society liberals envision will no longer require charity as it’s been understood since as far back as capitalism first created an impoverished class. When we’ve achieved that in America, then, perhaps, we can reach out to places like Iraq without so much hypocrisy clinging to our deeds.
Conservatives and Christians, on the other hand, don’t mind charity at all. Their charitable aims are to use other people’s distress in order to build up their church attendance.
PART OF SOMETHING BIGGER
How often have I heard Christians speak of being a part of something bigger than themselves? And I’ve heard that from military and other sacrificial types who are into obliterating themselves in order to escape who they are. The human animal is a selfish species. If the human animal were not selfish, she would have long ago ceased to exist as a species. I don’t know what to make of people who want to be part of something bigger than themselves. If I could imagine ants or termites who had consciousness, I’d imagine that "groupiness" is what they want because that’s what they have. They’re part of a greater whole, their lives sacrificed to group purposes.
I guess there must be something different about me because I never fit into the ant hill mold. In the military, I came to resist authority and eventually it caused me some minor troubles. Some people can be bees, I guess, but some can’t, and there’s no shame in either. Not that I don’t do things sometimes for other people, but I’m always honest enough to realize that I do things for others because it makes me feel good and I want to. Any sacrifice I make is entirely for me and not for others. In fact, those who I’ve met along the way who feel some sort of duty to be part of something greater than themselves, usually are codependent types who, eventually, deeply resent the things they do for others. My goodness gracious sakes alive, who hasn’t met the long suffering type and found them unpleasant to the max? I suggest that If you’re going to be unselfish, make sure you get a big selfish pleasure out of it, otherwise, you’ll regret and resent everything you do.
WILL THE REAL WILL STAND UP?
In Will’s latest column (Newsweek, May 10, 2004, p.102), he writes, “You, valued reader, probably can barely imagine how unlike many—actually most—of your fellow Americans you are. Here you are reading a news magazine which is a minority taste. Stranger still, you are reading the back page, a habit that is, in the eyes of most Americans, weird.” Will goes on to charge that there are so many things that would surprise us literate types.
How little Will truly knows us “elitist types”, another word his nonreaders throw at us. George doesn't realize that among us literate people are men like myself with advanced degrees who read widely and steadily and who are machinists and laborers and who, unlike Will, have hobnobbed with the proletariat all our lives. Speaking for myself, I damn well do know the ignorance arising in American life among the blue collar men I work with, the ignorance that throughout history has been a hallmark of conservative eras which allow for the dominance and enrichment of the arrogant rich and their snobbish, elitist, boot lickers like George Will.
My questions are. Does Will also mock himself in what he says? And why does Will continue to throw in his lot with the conservatives who are taking advantage of the uninformed opinions of the proletariat? I invite him down into the trenches with me, if he has the courage to stand with the mass of men in their quiet desperation against the economic forces which are overwhelming them. If he hasn’t the courage to do it, then may his own words flay him alive.
“I have already given two cousins to the war and I stand ready to sacrifice my wife’s brother.” —Artemus Ward