A non-partisan journal of the left.

The Narcosis of Charity

Sun 23rd Dec 2012

Last night I decided to watch the news like most do and had to grit my teeth. An article was being reported on the large scale charitable work of a food bank in Morecambe. This is twenty-Twelve, and people still have to suffer the humiliating patronisation of claiming free food as a result of this poisonous and self-eating economy. This ideological practice gave me, as it would give most people, an understandable amount of anger.

However, what interested me most about the report was the charitable workers' response to this situation. They all seemed jolly about their work. The charity itself is a sign of human conscientiousness but the situation itself is not that of a jolly one. Our communities should not be happy about these situations, they should be furious.

Hundreds of people queuing in the street for food are not festivals of good will, it is a representation of this country's neglecting of people. One woman spoke of her absolute righteous joy of seeing these peoples' emergence to be fed. I argue that her deed is good, proper and righteous but by no means a happy one. In a paradox, this is a selfishly altruistic act.

If we are to look deeper into the social impact of charity, though it is a good thing on a simple level, it is damaging to our entire consciousness of the economy. There should be no need for charity within this century. The act of charity itself no longer appears as a selfless act, it is a carnival act in which people masquerade for attention.

Just look at the 'Movember' movement for example. As the rich to poor gap has widened, the amount of 'wacky' charity events has risen to absolve people’s guilt of their failure to act for the social good. How many Red Nose days will be needed to end poverty? If an answer was given, then perhaps charities could work towards that improbable target.

To Quote Oscar Wilde from The Soul of Man Under Socialism, 'the worst kind of slave-owners were those who were kind to their slaves.' With regards to what I am writing about, this may seem a little far away, but the principle remains that charity is not to satisfy the self, it is to help those who should not suffer in the first place. I am sure that woman is now satisfied with what little she has done to help. Her charity for the year is now over and so the inequality can continue as we all appear to be assisting one another, just as that cup of coffee tastes that little bit better when half a penny of it goes to the impoverished farmer.

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