Compassionate, fair, and conservative?

September 4, 2013

The American Enterprise Institute's Arthur Brooks is well known for trumpeting the morality of free markets. Writing in The Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin uses a recent monologue by Brooks to underscore the importance of conservatives talking about helping the poor and bringing greater fairness to society: I’ve written about Brooks’s view, namely that to win the public debateconservatives need to hook into the values of compassion and fairness shared by nearly a hundred percent of the electorate. This doesn’t mean changing conservative views; it means explaining why conservatives’ views are more compassionate and fairer than the liberal welfare state. The implications of Brooks’s argument (essentially, tell voters that you are for them, not the things that you are against) are both philosophical and pragmatic. As for the latter, it’s no secret that Mitt Romney lost the “cares about people like me” question in the 2012 campaign by a 20 to 80 margin, or that his...

Why profits and social good are not at odds

August 28, 2013

Writing in Forbes, Vivek Wadhwa argues that profits, entrepreneurship, and social good are not incompatible: Why should poor people receive the most obsolete technologies—when their lives can be impacted the most by advances in technology? Should my education and talent be used to make rich and powerful corporations even more so—or to help those in need? These are questions that Alfredo Zolezzi agonized over after achieving early success as a scientist and entrepreneur. Then he read a United Nations report that said that 884 million people are without access to safe drinking water and that 1.5 million children under five years of age die each year as a result of water- and sanitation-related diseases. This pushed him over the edge. He knew this was something that technology could easily help fix—though no one had done anything about it. Zolezzi decided to stop working on products for the oil industry and to instead repurpose his oil-extraction technology to eliminate...

Is all charity created equal?

Are donors who give to inner-city missions worthy of higher praise than donors who give to the opera? That’s the central question examined in two competing columns recently published by Philanthropy Journal. In the first column, author Eric Friedman argues that philanthropy should be, principally, about helping the poor: Is philanthropy about helping those in need or pursuing the personal passions of the donor? If it is the former, then shouldn't a central tenet be to try to provide the most help possible? In this case, such donor-driven strategies should be widely regarded as failed philanthropy. Being honest is not just about not lying but also requires a certain level of frankness. Not every good cause is equally good, and not every donor is equally deserving of praise. As long as the philanthropic community views those who donate millions to their favorite opera houses to be as generous as those who help the poorest people in the world, there is a lack of honesty. We...

Salvation Army of Wake County opens new shelter

August 12, 2013

Categories: Humanitarian

Over the weekend, the Salvation Army of Wake County opened a new facility — The Judy D. Zelnak Center of Hope — on Capital Boulevard to better serve the community. Check out the video! ...

For whom are the liberal arts?

July 26, 2013

That's the question asked by Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill in this blog post in Philanthropy Daily: The late Earl Shorris had a radical answer to that question: the liberal arts are for those of all socioeconomic backgrounds, including those who are poor. This is a quite radical assertion. Traditionally, a liberal arts college education was a privilege of the economic elite, or at least of the upper middle class. In the United States, the GI Bill made liberal arts education the province of the middle and even working class—although accompanied by the expectation that a liberal arts education should lift graduates out of the working class at least into the middle class—that is, a liberal arts education is for those who come from, or aspire to, the upper socioeconomic classes. In his posthumously published book (Shorris died last year), Shorris describes how he pitched the liberal arts course he designed for poor people to prospective students: “You’ve been...

Free enterprise is the most ‘effective altruism’

July 15, 2013

Anne Bradley and Jay Richards — two scholars at the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics — argue in this column against the notion of philanthropy as the greatest form of altruism. Instead, the greatest altruism is produced by businesses in the free-market economy. They explain: “Effective Altruism” encourages young and old to pursue the jobs that earn the highest paycheck for the sole purpose of giving most of their income away philanthropically.  This treats philanthropy as if it were the only, or at least the most effective, way to act altruistically—that is, for the benefit of others. It also implies that business pursued for its own purpose is morally suspect. In reality, the primary way widespread poverty is alleviated is with plain vanilla factors such as business, hard work, property rights, a reliable dispensation of justice, and enterprise. The Gates Foundation has saved an estimated 5 million lives thus far. But we rarely hear of the countless lives...

Ben Carson: America must be virtuous to remain free

July 1, 2013

Dr. Ben Carson began — and ended — his speech on the evening of June 27 by referencing a quote attributed to the French political thinker and historian Alex de Tocqueville. “America is great because she is good,” de Tocqueville said. “If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” Spring boarding off that sentiment, Carson encouraged an audience of 700 at a fundraiser for Upper Room Christian Academy (lead by John Amanchukwu) to defend and renew virtue, civil discourse, and the free-market economy in the United States. “Let us seize the opportunity to truly be good, so that we can hand off to our progeny a great nation,” Carson said. Carson, the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University, wowed the crowd gathered at the Raleigh Convention Center in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina. The speech was the headline event for the URCA’s scholarship fundraiser, which generated $250,000 toward giving low-income students an...