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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Robbin' Givin's

The two conservative writers that everyone loves most to hate are Ann Coulter and Tucker Carlson. Various rationales will be offered by their detractors, but you and I know the truth; it's because they're so darned good-looking. And it does not help that they can both write, are quite witty, and have mastered the rare art of being a likeably wry conservative on TV.

As you may have gathered, I love 'em both, and for all the same reasons. Plus Ann has a super-special place in my heart for the amazing behind-the-scenes legal work that she did to assure Bill Clinton's impeachment, as told very dramatically in Isikoff's book (the title of which eludes me on three hours of sleep).

But Tucker is wrong today in his column on when he says that 'we don't give (charity) so that others will feel good about us, we give so that we can feel good about ourselves'. Brrr. What a sentiment!

One can't help hearkening back to the Talmud (Bava Batra 10b) and its attack on the governments of its time: "All the charity and assistance that they expend is a sin because they do it only for self-aggrandizement... they do it only to maintain political viability... they do it only to feed their egos... "

Giving is not a form of therapy. Giving is not a disguised form of taking - whether taking credit or taking self-satisfaction. Giving is about caring for the other. You give "of" yourself. You give "to" others. Any receiving of good feeling on your part is a secondary process, a tangential outgrowth. (Philosophy students will recall that Bishop Butler clarified this point in the 1800s to deflect the critics who said that philanthropists are not admirable since giving charity makes one feel good.)

If our giving is anything less than that, then we have a long way to go before we can appreciate an Abraham running out during his post-operative rehabilitation at age ninety-nine to invite dusty wayfarers in for some of his best delicacies.

(I still love Tucker, and I hope he appreciates that this is a gentle nudge offered in a spirit of friendship and respect.)

1 comment:

S. T. Karnick said...

Well said, Jay. I agree completely.—STK