Charity or Entitlement

Dave Killion — June 10, 2011

I found out that this letter to the editor was published when a nice retired woman phoned me last night to tell me what she thought of it. That was a first for me, and I can’t understand why she cared what I thought nor why she thought I would be interested in her opinion. That aside, I wasn’t doing anything important, and decided to hear her out. The core of her view was that charity was belittling to the recipient, and that a properly organized society would have no need of it.

I was a little befuddled, but after some discussion I asked if she thought resources given through the private sector were charity, but resources distributed by government were not. She acknowledged that that was what she was saying, but hadn’t realized it until I pointed it out and might have to reconsider her position. We chatted a bit more, and then wished each other goodnight.

Strange as her argument sounded to me at first, I think that many of the people who benefit from the welfare state view what they receive from the state as an entitlement, and would be shocked that anyone thought they were receiving charity.

Comments

G says

Very interesting article. It is interesting to me that someone would prefer receiving something that obviously is not voluntarily given to a gift someone has given voluntarily.

If charity is belittling to the recipient, is that not also saying it is belittling to those who give their time and resources voluntarily trying to build a better community and help those in need? I hope not.

And, if someone does feel belittled by receiving charity for whatever reason, know that you still have something to offer to others to help – whether it be your time, your resources, your energy, your heart or your smile. If you feel in debited, you can pass the good karma on.

— June 10, 2011

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