Contrary to popular media-myth, people can be opposed to government entitlements and still really care about the poor and downtrodden. We care so much that we want to help them in ways that are effective and practical and real. My personal observation of most of those who want to use government force to armtwist their neighbors into giving to their own pet charities is that they also feel really bad about the poor, and they feel so bad about the poor that they are nearly frantic to do something, just anything so that they can stop feeling bad. It’s not deliberate, it’s not consciously selfish, but the end result is that the main goal of their active compassion is to feel like they are doing something so that they can stop feeling bad. If you real goal is feeling better rather than meaningful help that doesn’t cripple the recipients, then it doesn’t matter as much if the money for charitable donations is ineffective, counterproductive, or even (as in the case of a lot of foreign aid) stolen or misused and the poor never receive it, because at least they’ve done something, and thus have achieved the real goal of feeling better.
Somehow, it’s cold and hard hearted to actually want to see donations result in improvements in the lives of the poor. I have a different goal. I want to do something that will help make things better, not make them worse. We cannot pretend that it doesn’t matter if the aid we send to Africa is stolen before it reaches the poor, because our goal is to help the poor, not to stop feeling bad. I can’t pontificate about how the dollars I might give a person asking for money on the street go to a con-artist or somebody who really needs a meal, because my goal isn’t for me to get brownie points for giving, it’s to help somebody else in the best way possible with my limited funds.
Granny Tea has a friend from Viet Nam. He still has family there who live in extreme poverty. He says that he gets tired of people who just want to throw money at the problem, because his relatives don’t use money, and don’t really have many things to spend it on. It takes all of their time every single day just to get enough food to eat for that day. So he bought them a small herd of livestock. I forget now whether it was goats or cattle. He bought them five animals so that they can breed the animals and build up their herd slowly, adjusting to their increasing wealth gradually.
The Headmaster’s favorite charity is Ghana Missions, a group that combines missionary work with traveling medical clinics and providing a new well to villages that have no pure water source. For 4,500 dollars they can put in a new well. How many wells could rich celebrities and politicians give to the people of Ghana?