Monday, January 18, 2010
Charity: Answer of Distractor?
Ok, when I was in undergrad I did a philosophical paper on the pros and cons of charity, and I have felt the need to do it again (not sure why...). Essentially my major concern with charity is that people use it as a solution rather than a temporary fix. Charity is good. I am a strong supporter of charity and the good people that contribute both time and money to them. However, I am concerned that people look at charity as a solution to society's ills without actually addressing the problems. They will donate to a charity that gives clothes to the very poor, petition the city to start a homeless shelter, or help donate money to a person in the hospital paying for medical bills. These are all good things, the problem comes when the concern stops there. I am afraid that far too many people would rather give to charity and forget about the problem than actually examine the societal structures that cause and perpetuate these problems. Will there ever be a fix for all the worlds problems? Likely not. Will there ever be a time when people do not want for anything? Likely not. Will there ever be a time when there is no economic hardship? Likely not. We can only hope for a better, but not a perfect world. However, if we do not try to look as the societal flaws that can lead to homelessness, crushing poverty, a lack of quality medical care, and so on, then we are falling desperately short in fulfilling our responsibilities to those who are most vulnerable in our world. Chairity is good for doing what it does best, alleviating immediate suffering. However, charity cannot solve the larger disparities, only self reflection (on a personal, local, national, and global level) and change can.