Wednesday, 15 December 2010

The Great Philanthropy Con

Barack Obama discusses philanthropy with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett” is the heading of a short article in today’s Telegraph.
I don’t doubt for one moment that both men mean well. Which is both a major problem and a source of hope.
Why is it a major problem? Because they are highly motivated, but just as misguided, in pursuit of their philanthropic aims, as they were in pursuit of their massive fortunes.
What’s motivating and misguiding them is the pursuit of social status, which of course is a very natural thing for “great apes” like ourselves to do. Only we are no longer in the natural, tribal, environment in which such behaviour evolved and was beneficial to individual and tribe survival and reproductive success, but in the very different, artificial environment of global civilisation.
Social status is inseparable from POWER. The more power an individual has, the higher their social status: thus its ability to intimidate and intoxicate, both of which are inimical to reason and rational behaviour. Power comes in different forms, but in the modern world by far its most important and versatile form is MONEY.
Bill Gates and Warren Buffet spent most of their lives intent on making as much money as possible, which they were pre-eminently successful at.
Once an individual has gained all the social status and recognition that successful money making affords, the only way of increasing social status and recognition even further (or of maintaining them at the most elevated level) is through philanthropy, i.e. spending a proportion of their fortunes on “good causes”, which benefit their TRIBE, which Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, judging by the projects they are supporting through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, see as humanity at large, whose most needy they want to help out of disease and poverty.
Significantly, this generally excludes ethnic Europeans like themselves, because they have no urgent need of their help, and because they don’t identify with them, but with all humanity, as their TRIBE, from which there is far more social status and recognition to be had. It fact, for ethnic Europeans to identify with their own race is considered evil, i.e. “racist”. So, to gain the elevated social status and recognition they desire they have no choice but to identify with some other tribe – and what more noble (and conveniently abstract) than all humanity?
What I’m trying to point out is the perverted (rationalised and unrecognised) Darwinian nature of all this, which, no matter how well meant, can ONLY lead – is leading! – to catastrophe.
Seeing all humanity as one’s TRIBE is considered the greatest virtue, while not doing so, if you are white, is considered “racist”. Thus, Bill Gates’ and Warren Buffet’s choice of “good causes”. Who doesn’t want to be considered virtuous and non-racist? And their vast wealth enables them to be far more so than others. They must be glowing with self-satisfaction: SUCCESS incarnate.
Only they didn’t see humanity, or any subdivision of it, as their TRIBE when they were MAKING their money. Then, society (largely comprising their own race) was first and foremost an ENVIRONMENT (of human resources and consumers), which they were intent on exploiting to their own perceived advantage, taking a much money from it as possible.
I’m not blaming Bill Gates and Warren Buffet for this situation. They didn’t create it, but have simply been eminently “successful” in exploiting it. And with everyone who is anyone praising and admiring them for doing so, how can they possibly doubt that they are two of the world’s most successful and virtuous men?

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