Friday, July 21, 2006

Redemption

My better half regularly--out of the blue--challenges me to sort out the conflicting input she gathers weekly via Democracy Now, KPFA community radio, and the New Yorker. Sometimes she throws in NPR for good measure, usually when I'm busy throwing sticks for our poodle to retrieve from San Francisco Bay.

This week it had to do with the stable of right-wing apologists who've figured out there's a market for appearing to turn on their masters on talkshow TV and in their trite, over-hyped books. I pointed out the institutional culture that promulgates this anti-social behavior, to which she queried, "But what else is there?" A legitimate question, I'll admit, but surprising for someone who's hung around with me for 27 years.

Giving her the benefit of the doubt, I observed that these pundit academics, aka pseudo-intellectuals, had to sell their souls at the gate, and are just going with the flow of public opinion and philanthropic endowment. Which opened up a whole new can of worms.

Long story short, I remarked that while market-based philanthropy can be used for some good things, we needn't be lured into thinking the philanthropists themselves are necessarily good people. If they were, I said, they wouldn't have amassed such exhorbitant wealth in the first place.

This seemed to satisfy her for the moment.

2 Comments:

Blogger jrm said...

This week it had to do with the stable of right-wing apologists who've figured out there's a market for appearing to turn on their masters on talkshow TV and in their trite, over-hyped books

I'm sorry, Spartacus, I don't know what you mean by this.

3:19 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

I am shocked by your characterization of wealthy people who donate to charity. You contend that were they truly good people, they wouldn't have amassed such great wealth in the first place.

On what grounds can you defend this? The work of the capitalist and the entrepreneur is some of the most noble, in that he or she creates value for themselves and others through their work.

The only "social responsibility" for a wealthy person or a company is to produce profit for the shareholders, thereby creating money and value that can be distributed voluntarily and efficiently throughout the society as a whole.

Sure, not all philanthropists are necessarily good people, but your blanket characterization of wealthy people as bad people is completely unfounded.

2:15 PM  

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