Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Charity? Humbug! (Doug Casey)

Doug Casey has an interesting take on charity:

Simply put, I don't believe in philanthropy or charitable giving — at least not the ordinary kind.

Charitable giving and the concept of charity itself are among the stupidest and most destructive humbugs stalking Americans of good will today. Warren Buffett's bequest of $31 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provides an excellent opportunity to discuss the harm done in the name of charity and the confusion that surrounds the topic.

If you have the money to invest, you'll almost certainly die with some assets; maybe a lot. But how should you dispose of them? This is definitely a "hot button" subject, combining aberrations from the very topics that are most susceptible to irrational thought: money, family, politics, and religion.

I wasn't surprised to hear of Buffett's bequest. He's said for years that he would only leave a comparatively token sum to his family. But in my view, this cements him in the "Idiot Savant" roll call of rich guys, although not as solidly as the intellectually brain-dead, ethically vacant, and unintentionally comical Ted Turner, he of the billion dollar bequest to the United Nations. And although I haven't included Bill Gates on that list in the past, he definitely belongs there for his huge bequest to his own foundation. (And also for the spineless way he responded to the government's antitrust suit against Microsoft back in 1998. If it had been my company, I would have transplanted it to a friendlier clime — and paid for the move with just a couple of years' tax savings.)

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