Friday, September 18, 2009

False Altruism

Talifaitasi W. Satele


We should be wary of folks who preach that we should live our lives in service of others. I say that because they usually don’t practice what they preach. Syracuse University professor Arthur Brooks notes in his book, “Who Really Cares”, that “people who believe it’s the government’s job to make incomes more equal, are far less likely to give their money away” to charities.

Not only do altruists not follow their own ideology to a tee, their rhetoric is often inconsistent. Some try to pass themselves off as advocates of the least fortunate amongst God’s Children, but they won’t extend that same compassion to their brother if he is branded an illegal immigrant. Nor if their brother is of a different race or of a certain income level.

Moreover, altruists contribute almost nothing to the actual welfare of the people they claim to want to help. Most supporters of the minimum wage, for example, don’t provide jobs to anybody nor could they show us how to provide living wages to our people. And some of altruists’ ideas actually harm the general welfare such as price controls or trade restrictions.

All altruism does is provide rhetoric for those who want to sound like they care when they really don’t. So until an altruist provides public access to his own private home, we should take his philosophy with a grain of salt.

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