Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Immorality of Charity

[People] find themselves surrounded by hideous poverty, by hideous ugliness, by hideous starvation. It is inevitable that they should be strongly moved by all this … Accordingly, with admirable, though misdirected intentions, they very seriously and very sentimentally set themselves to the task of remedying the evils they see. But their remedies do not cure the disease. They try to solve the problem of poverty, for instance, by keeping the poor alive; or, in the case of a very advanced school, by amusing the poor. But this is not a solution: it is an aggravation of the difficulty. The proper aim is to try to reconstruct society on such basis that poverty will be impossible. And the altruistic virtues have really prevented the carrying out of this aim … The worst slave-owners were those who were kind to their slaves, and so prevented the horror of the system being realized by those who suffered from it, and understood by those who contemplated it … Charity degrades and demoralizes … It is immoral to use private property in order to alleviate the horrible evils that result from the institution of private property. It is both immoral and unfair.

– Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism

No comments:

Post a Comment