Wednesday, December 22, 2010

True Charity Doesn’t Foster Dependency.....

I’ve always had a hard time understanding the "do-gooder" impulse.

In my experience virtually all humans are motivated by self-interest, even if it is the motive to feel important, or needed, or powerful...and no situation delivers more of that sort of feeling of importance and power over others (of being “needed”) than that of "the helper".

No impulse has been more abused either. (Jeffrey Dahmer is said to have been motivated by the desire to create a group of "devoted and dependent zombies") Most politicians and career bureaucrats elicit the same impulse in seeking to “improve” (by micromanaging) the lives of others.

It's always easier for each of us to see the other person's flaws, in fact it's often easier to see our own faults when they’re projected onto others.

Personally, I don't believe we're here (in this life) to "help" others, but instead to develop and perfect ourselves.

The crux of Jesus' message was "Treat others as you'd want to be treated yourself", and since most of us wouldn't want to be treated as helpless victims, we probably should refrain from treating others that way ourselves.

Why do so many self-professed "Christians" overlook Jesus admonition that "Before you would remove the (splinter) from your neighbor's eye first remove the (plank) from your own"???

Truly "helping" a poor person isn't feeding, housing &/or clothing them, but teaching them how to do those basic things for themselves.

The fact that most of the human "help" offered comes in the form of directly doing for others what they must learn to do for themselves shows that most "helpers" aren't ready to, or prepared to really help others.

Take the case of Haiti, for instance. Haiti has had a lot of systemic problems and it’s had them looooong before this past summer's earthquake.

Consider that Chile was struck with an even powerful earthquake a few months later and neither needed nor accepted much international aid.

Even the other nation that shares the SAME island with Haiti, the Dominican Republic, is far more economically viable, more productive, prosperous and less corrupt than Haiti.

The problem with giving alms (money, food, supplies) to places like Zimbabwe and Haiti is the same problem witnessed thousands of times when poor people win he lottery - within a scant few years most are even poorer (even more in debt) than before they won.

Giving a poor man a meal makes the giver feel generous, kind, even important/needed, and it does at least temporarily sustain the poor man, but it ultimately leaves the poor man much WORSE OFF than before. Not only hasn't he learned how to sustain himself, he's begun being conditioned to believing that he can be, even "should be" taken care of by others.

That's NOT real "help"...that's NOT virtuous charity. It’s inculcating dependency in order to make yourself feel powerful, benevolent and needed...and there’s no virtue in that.


Skunkfeathers said...

Merry Christmas, JMK. And a true Christmas message for the authors of dependency. No worse gift can be given.

JMK said...

Merry Christmas to you too SF!

You're right about dependency being the "worst possible gift" is bondage, for both the dependent/control AND those who would control or be depended upon.

Seane-Anna said...

"GIVE a man a fish and you feed him for a day. TEACH a man to fish and you feed him for a life time."

The Chinese had this figured out millenia ago, so what the heck's wrong with today's "compassionate" liberals? Great post, JMK. Hope you had a merry Christmas and will have a blessed new year!

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