Selfishness in Charity Donations

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Selfishness in Charity Donations

Postby Darth Wong » 2012-09-21 05:29pm

Personally, I'm tired of the way Christians crow that they give more to charity, and it turns out the charity they're giving to is their own church. If you donate to something you use yourself, that is a pretty weird form of charity.
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Re: Romney Releases Tax Returns

Postby Crossroads Inc. » 2012-09-21 05:34pm

Darth Wong wrote:Personally, I'm tired of the way Christians crow that they give more to charity, and it turns out the charity they're giving to is their own church. If you donate to something you use yourself, that is a pretty weird form of charity.


Of course they don't see the world like that.
they see "The Church" (for the most part) as a Devine infallible organization that will save the world from wickedness and make good moral people out of everyone. Who cares that most of it goes to the operational cost of churches and organizational costs instead of actually helping the poor...
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Re: Romney Releases Tax Returns

Postby Sea Skimmer » 2012-09-21 05:51pm

Well, the Mormons also centrally control all funding, to a really silly extent, my mom bought a used car from a local Mormon church a few years back and the paperwork had to be mailed to Salt Lake City just to have a signature added. So sure, its his own church in that he is Mormon, but it isn't like that money is all cycled right back to the building he attends each Sunday.
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Re: Romney Releases Tax Returns

Postby Alerik the Fortunate » 2012-09-21 05:57pm

I will give the Mormons this: they do take care of their own poor. I believe I have in-laws who became Mormon after the support they received being taken in by Mormons.
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Re: Romney Releases Tax Returns

Postby Darth Wong » 2012-09-21 05:58pm

Sea Skimmer wrote:Well, the Mormons also centrally control all funding, to a really silly extent, my mom bought a used car from a local Mormon church a few years back and the paperwork had to be mailed to Salt Lake City just to have a signature added. So sure, its his own church in that he is Mormon, but it isn't like that money is all cycled right back to the building he attends each Sunday.

Not directly to that particular building, but as you say, it's all one big organization. It's still his own church in the larger sense.
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Re: Romney Releases Tax Returns

Postby Darth Wong » 2012-09-21 06:00pm

Alerik the Fortunate wrote:I will give the Mormons this: they do take care of their own poor. I believe I have in-laws who became Mormon after the support they received being taken in by Mormons.

Yes, they do support a lot of positive activity, but there are often strings attached. The Mormons contribute a lot of funding toward the Boy Scouts of America, for example, but there's an unwritten Faustian bargain: the Scouts must conform to Mormon beliefs. That's why they kick out gays, lesbians, and atheists. The Mormons effectively took over the Boy Scouts of America by donating to them.
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Re: Romney Releases Tax Returns

Postby Sea Skimmer » 2012-09-21 06:05pm

Darth Wong wrote:Not directly to that particular building, but as you say, it's all one big organization. It's still his own church in the larger sense.


Its still better in that respect then the way most Christian denominations are run in which funding is collected and controlled locally and might be used for little but maintaining the building. Course that mechanism also happens to be half my employment right now, but then the building is also used for blood drives and as a senior center and a theater, none of which are directly connected to the congregation besides its religious functions.

You could also say anyone who had a blood donation or been housed after a storm or fire shouldn't give to the Red Cross; though I happen to be not a fan of the Red Cross anyway, but that runs in the family because of how they acted in Vietnam.

One can go pretty far questioning peoples choice of charity, like say, how would you judge someone who donated money to help treat a cat kids set on fire, instead of donating to a rape shelter? I'll take anything over rich people holding onto every dime they have as more then a few do.
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Re: Romney Releases Tax Returns

Postby Darth Wong » 2012-09-21 06:16pm

Sea Skimmer wrote:
Darth Wong wrote:Not directly to that particular building, but as you say, it's all one big organization. It's still his own church in the larger sense.


Its still better in that respect then the way most Christian denominations are run in which funding is collected and controlled locally and might be used for little but maintaining the building. Course that mechanism also happens to be half my employment right now, but then the building is also used for blood drives and as a senior center and a theater, none of which are directly connected to the congregation besides its religious functions.

You could also say anyone who had a blood donation or been housed after a storm or fire shouldn't give to the Red Cross; though I happen to be not a fan of the Red Cross anyway, but that runs in the family because of how they acted in Vietnam.

I'm not saying people should not give to organizations they use themselves. I'm saying they shouldn't get high and mighty about how charitable they are when they're doing it.

A cancer survivor who gives to cancer research is not as charitable as a person who has never had cancer, and still gives to cancer research.

One can go pretty far questioning peoples choice of charity, like say, how would you judge someone who donated money to help treat a cat kids set on fire, instead of donating to a rape shelter? I'll take anything over rich people holding onto every dime they have as more then a few do.

I never said it was a bad thing to give to charities where some selfish motive also exists. It's still a good thing, but it does not reflect nearly as well upon the giver's moral fibre as he may think it does.

If I donate money to my local park, that's still a good thing. It's still a net-positive for society. But if I brag that this is "charity" and makes me a really generous person, than I think that's rather dishonest.
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Re: Romney Releases Tax Returns

Postby Alerik the Fortunate » 2012-09-21 06:35pm

Darth Wong wrote:
Alerik the Fortunate wrote:I will give the Mormons this: they do take care of their own poor. I believe I have in-laws who became Mormon after the support they received being taken in by Mormons.

Yes, they do support a lot of positive activity, but there are often strings attached. The Mormons contribute a lot of funding toward the Boy Scouts of America, for example, but there's an unwritten Faustian bargain: the Scouts must conform to Mormon beliefs. That's why they kick out gays, lesbians, and atheists. The Mormons effectively took over the Boy Scouts of America by donating to them.


While we might prefer that they give regardless of affiliation, from their perspective the strings are not conditions, but a positive good in themselves, by adding to the total virtue in the world. They may be objectively wrong and doing unnecessary harm, but it doesn't impinge on the quality of their motivations per se.

This comes up again today, though. Basically, there is less social penalty to avoiding information that would force you to make a costly ethical choice based on the likely effects of your actions on others than results from making an immoral selfish choice if you did have the information. That applies both to church charity, and more specifically to Romney's returns. Everything he's written seems about plausible deniability: his offshore accounts (which are very secretive but may be an order of magnitude larger than his domestic accounts) are managed without his knowledge with the implicit understanding that his returns would be maximized and taxes minimized. That is the fiduciary duty of his agents, and need not be discussed. As long as attention can be diverted from them, he never has to admit to what they imply about his effective tax rates even if everything is absolutely legal to the finest point of the law, which he repeatedly emphasizes. Bonus points for associating himself emotionally with law and obedience thereto in the minds of his supporters.
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Re: Romney Releases Tax Returns

Postby Sea Skimmer » 2012-09-21 06:54pm

Darth Wong wrote:If I donate money to my local park, that's still a good thing. It's still a net-positive for society. But if I brag that this is "charity" and makes me a really generous person, than I think that's rather dishonest.


I don't see any dishonesty if your donations are still very large overall and not overwhelming going to your own Church. It seems the average for people making 10 million and up in the US is 6.2% donated, while in the last two years Romney donated 16.4%, with 13.45% for the 20 year average. In 2011 about 25% of his donations went to his church. In 2010 it was more like 50%, apparently this is more typical of him. Still, even 50% going to the Mormon Church out of 13.45% of income means 6.725% going to everything else, still placing him ahead of other rich people in donations. All the more so since plenty of other rich people donate lots of money to churches they attend. Sounds fine enough to me.
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Re: Romney Releases Tax Returns

Postby Bob the Gunslinger » 2012-09-21 08:15pm

Alerik the Fortunate wrote:I will give the Mormons this: they do take care of their own poor. I believe I have in-laws who became Mormon after the support they received being taken in by Mormons.


Only if you're up on your tithes. I know a family of mormons who needed help and the church told them to pay their tithes (several years' worth, which they were too poor to do) first.
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Re: Romney Releases Tax Returns

Postby Phantasee » 2012-09-21 08:31pm

Darth Wong wrote:A cancer survivor who gives to cancer research is not as charitable as a person who has never had cancer, and still gives to cancer research.

Wait wait wait, if they already survived their cancer, how are they being less charitable than someone who never had cancer? If my family gives to cancer research, general and specifically leukemia, are we less charitable than the neighbours because my sister had leukemia?
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Re: Romney Releases Tax Returns

Postby Mr Bean » 2012-09-21 08:47pm

Phantasee wrote:Wait wait wait, if they already survived their cancer, how are they being less charitable than someone who never had cancer? If my family gives to cancer research, general and specifically leukemia, are we less charitable than the neighbours because my sister had leukemia?

Yes, because you are giving to a charity for a disease that can affect you. My own family for example when I donate to Alzheimer charities that is with the implicit understand that I want there to be a fucking cure for Alzheimer by the time it could affect me as it has affected my Great Grandmother, Grandmother and now recently possibly my Mother.

When I donate money to come with a cure for sickle-cell anaemia or Hunington disease those are purely charitable donations as I don't know anyone who is at risk for that nor is at risk for myself.

Likewise when I donate to fight Ebola, because fuck It I want an Ebola cure in case I get Ebola. When you donate to fight diseases it's not charitable as people don't tend to donate to diseases they can't get or are not afraid of.

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Re: Romney Releases Tax Returns

Postby Block » 2012-09-21 09:27pm

Mr Bean wrote:
Phantasee wrote:Wait wait wait, if they already survived their cancer, how are they being less charitable than someone who never had cancer? If my family gives to cancer research, general and specifically leukemia, are we less charitable than the neighbours because my sister had leukemia?

Yes, because you are giving to a charity for a disease that can affect you. My own family for example when I donate to Alzheimer charities that is with the implicit understand that I want there to be a fucking cure for Alzheimer by the time it could affect me as it has affected my Great Grandmother, Grandmother and now recently possibly my Mother.

When I donate money to come with a cure for sickle-cell anaemia or Hunington disease those are purely charitable donations as I don't know anyone who is at risk for that nor is at risk for myself.

Likewise when I donate to fight Ebola, because fuck It I want an Ebola cure in case I get Ebola. When you donate to fight diseases it's not charitable as people don't tend to donate to diseases they can't get or are not afraid of.

That's an incredibly cynical way to look at it. Some people give because they don't want others to suffer through what they did, or because they feel empathy for others going through the ordeal they survived. That doesn't make someone less charitable.

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Re: Romney Releases Tax Returns

Postby Mr Bean » 2012-09-22 12:12am

Block wrote:That's an incredibly cynical way to look at it. Some people give because they don't want others to suffer through what they did, or because they feel empathy for others going through the ordeal they survived. That doesn't make someone less charitable.


It's cynical but true, people don't donate lots of money to little unpopular diseases, you can take the average charitable giver and determine which disease will get their donations depend on what they fear the most or what they are most at risk of. Cynical but true, if you or those you care about are not at risk for Lou Gehrig disease your not going to think to donate money to fight the disease because your not going to think about it when it comes time for deadly disease donation day.

To put it bluntly there are a shit ton of diseases, conditions and syndromes out there. The ones your at risk for are the ones you know about or the ones friends and family have gotten.

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Re: Romney Releases Tax Returns

Postby Phantasee » 2012-09-22 02:02am

She had childhood leukemia. I'm not likely to get it,since I'm well last childhood. We donate to cancer research for the reasons Block said, so others don't suffer like she did.

Just because you're a cynical fuck doesn't mean everyone else is.
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Re: Romney Releases Tax Returns

Postby Block » 2012-09-22 02:08am

Mr Bean wrote:
Block wrote:That's an incredibly cynical way to look at it. Some people give because they don't want others to suffer through what they did, or because they feel empathy for others going through the ordeal they survived. That doesn't make someone less charitable.


It's cynical but true, people don't donate lots of money to little unpopular diseases, you can take the average charitable giver and determine which disease will get their donations depend on what they fear the most or what they are most at risk of. Cynical but true, if you or those you care about are not at risk for Lou Gehrig disease your not going to think to donate money to fight the disease because your not going to think about it when it comes time for deadly disease donation day.

To put it bluntly there are a shit ton of diseases, conditions and syndromes out there. The ones your at risk for are the ones you know about or the ones friends and family have gotten.

I agree with you about the ones you know about usually being the ones someone you know is at risk for, it's just human nature, plus it's hard to find out about NGOs and charities unless you know the issue exists, but I don't know that something like that makes the act of giving less charitable, as long as you're not just doing it for the credit.
Something I really like is that the Combined Federal Campaign acknowledges this and actually puts out a big pamphlet every year about the various charities(hundreds) you can give to through them, how much of your donation goes directly to the research or people being helped, and gives little blurbs on the history of each organization. There's even a general fund you can give to that distributes money to multiple charities.

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Re: Romney Releases Tax Returns

Postby Mr Bean » 2012-09-22 08:34am

Phantasee wrote:She had childhood leukemia. I'm not likely to get it,since I'm well last childhood. We donate to cancer research for the reasons Block said, so others don't suffer like she did.

Do you plan on having children, does she? Does anyone else in your family on having kids someday. One of the greatest risk factors to get Childhood Leukemia is having a family member with the condition and that goes between generations. Your children and your children's children have a statistically significant much larger chance to develop this because of your sister suffering the disease.

Phantasee wrote:
Just because you're a cynical fuck doesn't mean everyone else is.

That might be true, but your deluding yourself, the donations were to a diseases that will affect your loved ones. Block got it, why don't you understand the simple concept that people spend money fighting the conditions and diseases they know about because they are the conditions and diseases either yourself or the ones they care about can/have suffered from?

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The Combined Federal Campaign is a great thing, but most civilians are not required to go to a room once a year and hear about how great it is so they don't know about it. Don't get me wrong as I said the CFC is a great thing for real genuine charitable contributions. And the reason I made my largest donation to charity to date (Damn you Seeing Eye Dogs of Florida and your box of puppies)

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Re: Romney Releases Tax Returns

Postby Phantasee » 2012-09-22 10:36am

Mr Bean wrote:
Phantasee wrote:She had childhood leukemia. I'm not likely to get it,since I'm well last childhood. We donate to cancer research for the reasons Block said, so others don't suffer like she did.

Do you plan on having children, does she?


She died.
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Re: Romney Releases Tax Returns

Postby Mr Bean » 2012-09-22 11:15am

Phantasee wrote:
She died.

So your saying that you have zero fear that your own children will suffer the same fate and that your donation to Leukemia research was totally motivated by detached motivation of the promotion of the greater good?

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Re: Romney Releases Tax Returns

Postby Channel72 » 2012-09-22 12:08pm

Donating money towards curing a disease that has affected your family isn't necessarily motivated by fear or self-preservation. I've donated towards Parkison disease research because someone in my family has it, but I have absolutely zero fear of ever getting this disease. I donated more out of awareness than fear, and because the idea of people slowly degenerating bothers me.

As for cancer research - almost every fucking family has a case of cancer. I don't know anyone who doesn't have someone in their family who got cancer at some point. By your standards, it would be impossible to ever donate to cancer research, and have it count as sufficiently "charitable" to you. I'm not saying anyone should ever be bragging about how charitable they are, but it's absurdly cynical to assume that people donate towards cancer research simply because they're afraid of getting cancer. For one thing, most people are pretty much aware how unlikely it is that their personal donation will be the factor that actually leads to a cure in time to save them from cancer anyway.

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Re: Romney Releases Tax Returns

Postby Channel72 » 2012-09-22 12:26pm

Sorry for the double post - I wanted to incorporate this into the above post, but my edit time limit ran out.

Anyway, the reality is that most people donate to one cause or another not because they are afraid, but because they are aware of a problem which exists outside of their sphere of influence and expertise, which they are helpless to rectify. Donating is simply a way to feel that you're doing something. But let's face it, unless you've got millions to donate, it's not like your tiny donation is going to do much to actually cure any disease. But people donate anyway because at least it is some way of contributing towards solving a problem which they are otherwise incapable of addressing. So if you have to be cynical about it, at least say that donating is just a way to "feel good about yourself". I'll agree with that, even if I still find it a bit too cynically reductionist. But saying that fear of actually getting a disease is a significant motivator is beyond ridiculous.

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Re: Romney Releases Tax Returns

Postby Phantasee » 2012-09-23 11:39am

I'm young, single, and don't know what I'm doing beyond the next two months. No, I don't fear my children will have cancer because I don't even know when I'm getting married.

Also what 72 said. You're an idiot, Bean.
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Re: Romney Releases Tax Returns

Postby Mr Bean » 2012-09-23 08:53pm

Phantasee wrote:I'm young, single, and don't know what I'm doing beyond the next two months. No, I don't fear my children will have cancer because I don't even know when I'm getting married.

So how much have you donated to fight Parkison disease? how much have you donated to fight Alzheimers or Creutzfeldt–Jakob? Don't even try to pretend the donations were picked simply to increase the greater good. Someone you cared about suffered horribly and you sought to avoid the same fate happening to someone else you cared about.

That's the point Phant, you can try and pretend but your donation was selfish in nature. You did not donate to fight a disease you donated to fight something that had affected you personally. Even if your actions were selfish good will still come of them. But you can't accept that, your donations have to be purely for the greater good with no selfish attachments what so ever. Otherwise your less than you think you are. Your not a good person for donating to fight a disease that has hurt you Phat. That IS the point of what was said on the last page. Donating to help yourself is not an act most would call selfless. Accept that fact Phat.

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Re: Romney Releases Tax Returns

Postby Phantasee » 2012-09-23 10:06pm

Jesus, you're a fucking cunt.
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