Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
It’s that time of year. I’m receiving exhortations to Give Back such as this one from TCF Bank. They annoy me.
Why this time of year, particularly? The message doesn’t explicitly link December to Christmas to Jesus Christ and thence to a duty of Christian Charity, because that would be overtly religious and might offend someone. But if my obligation to Give Back isn’t a religious obligation, from whence does it arise? And if it is a religious duty, what if my religion takes a different view and why are you imposing your religion on me?
How much am I obligated to give back? 10% More? Is it a progressive obligation – the more I make, the greater percentage I must give? Give to whom? My church or mosque or synagogue, because it’s a religious obligation; or some do-gooder group so I can purchase a bit of vicarious virtue? Does ‘shopping locally’ count as ‘giving back’ if I shop at a nearby big box retailer because the little stores were closed by decree of King Herod . . . I mean . . . Governor Walz?
I dislike the modern fetish of using Christmas to promote social causes rather than remember Christ. I prefer the old method of soliciting donations for charitable causes:
‘At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge,’ said the gentleman, taking up a pen, `it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and Destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir. . . A few of us are endeavoring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink,and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?”
That pitch appeals to me. So do the bell ringers at the Salvation Army kettle. That’s why I never pass one without dropping a buck in the bucket. I made a special point of withdrawing $20 in ones, just to have them on hand. Because they don’t engage in silly virtue signaling, they quietly help people in need.
1000% on board re the Salvation Army. I never pass one of them without dropping in a buck or five (or at least I never pass ’em twice – I grab cash and break the bill on the way out).