Friday, March 4

Our Weekly Podcast - The Professional Left

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  1. When your discussion turned to charitable foundations and the Medicis, I realized I'd like to hear you discuss the nature of charity. As a journalist, I have found most public gestures by corporations or local sacred cows to be as you describe, a means of buying a good name in service of future profit or inflated esteem. In my salad days, I donated anonymously and directly to several charities without allowing such organizations as the United Way to handle it. And I never have taken a tax deduction on my charitable giving because to benefit from being charitable when I had the means to be so seemed to violate the very nature of charity. Any thoughts on the matter? I always enjoy the podcasts.
    Fred W. Harris

  2. Thanks Fred. It's like what Jesus said about tithing. They have their reward. You're I guess what they'd call a Matthew 6 giver?

    And now that I think about it, I've never taken a deduction for the church donations I've made. It feels in violation of the separation of Church and State, doesn't it?

    Maybe you should be able to deduct donations to those organizations that pay taxes. So if a church runs a day care center, they have a separate foundation for that, and you give there, you get a deduction. A check in the plate on Sunday? to fund the service? No.

    Thanks for writing you've given me something to think about.


    Fran / BG

  3. Dear Fran,
    Well, yes. I am an agnostic, and no one is required to justify his faith to me. I am, however, a student of world religions with about 10 linear feet of primary and secondary texts to prove it. That is what makes the Westboro business so painful (the SCOTUS decision was correct, in my view). I don't say that charitable giving of the type I practice anonymously would abrogate the need for government support in any number of ways. Quite the contrary. I am a liberal sexagenarian, born during the Truman administration, who was fully conscious from the late 1950s on and, I think, my views as a liberal sit on a bit of a broader historical pedestal than the younger claque one finds on TV and radio and, yes, on the Internet. I'm embarrassed nowadays by the increasingly frequent fundraisers that pop up on PBS and NPR and the lead-ins to their programming have become commercials on allegedly commercial-free media. It seems increasingly obvious to me that, if the charitable motive is pure, as your Matthew 6 citation attests, then we wouldn't be hearing how some fast-food joint will donate 5 percent of a day's take for their lousy hamburgers so a few poor children can have a pair of gloves for the winter. This doesn't even come up to tithing level for one day, but local news outlets, especially in smaller markets, blather on editorially and subtly slant their coverage to make it seem as though the poohbahs who lead United Way campaigns are Christ come again. It offends my sense of morality.
    Anyway, I'm also interested in your Harvard Divinity School remark, because I am an alumnus of the College, Class of 1974. You're correct, the experience has a vague feeling of distance from the real society about it, moreso now, perhaps, than in my day, when the police dogs still showed up in Harvard Square on the rumor of a rumble.
    Kind regards,
    Fred W. Harris

  4. Hi! First time listener here, started off kinda slow but once you guys had a drink things started rolling. :P

    Why do the rich hate us so? Such contempt for the common person and their real life concerns?

    That's disappointing about Harvard Divinity; personally I approach religion experimentally. I test and see for my self what works for me, contradictions be damned!

    Thanks for highlighting how shit actually works in manufacturing, people don't know how stuff actually works. They only hold abstract ideas and buzzwords in their brains.

    Germany can do it, why can't we?

    American looks like garbage and is in disrepair. Everything is going to start falling apart, is this the plan? What would be the point? All this money in the right wing think tanks, they obviously know what the real ramifications of what they are doing!! Why?

    Sorry for all the questions?


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