It’s Tuesday, So Give Us Some Cash

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If you have email, you know that there is something in this world called Giving Tuesday. Since 2012 it’s happened on the Tuesday after the weirdly named Black Friday. It’s an occasion for “charities” and “nonprofits” to guilt you into putting money in their trough, and it’s backed by the usual corporate and “charitable” elites. As Giving Tuesday’s Wiki entry says,

Reception of Giving Tuesday has generally been positive, with a large number of organizations, including Google, Microsoft, Skype, Cisco, UNICEF, the Case Foundation, Save the Children, and others joining in as partners. Giving Tuesday has been praised as an antithesis of consumer culture and as a way for people to give back.

Of course, the idea that by getting you to give them money instead of spending it on yourself, or deciding for yourself where to spend your charitable cash, big corporate charities are combating “consumer culture” is no more logical than the idea that a guy who robs you on the street is trying to restore you to the simple life of the poor. And the notion that when I give to a cause I like, or, heaven forfend! to a person I like, I am giving something back . . . that piece of effrontery is almost unspeakable. If Microsoft ever gives me something, I will consider giving something back. So far, it hasn’t. Oh no. Distinctly not.

I expected ARI’s message to be somewhat like the comments I wrote above — bottom line: keep your money!

And speaking of effrontery — how insolent is it to imply that an amorphous something called society gave me something that now I need to give back . . . to UNICEF, or any other self-designated organization, the distinguishing characteristic of which is that it never had anything remotely to do with me?

I would expect my unfavorable view of organized “giving” to be held by many people, especially the good people at the Ayn Rand Institute. Most readers of this journal are well acquainted with Rand’s belief in the form of rational self-interest she called “selfishness.” So when I received an email from ARI designating the Sunday after Thanksgiving as Selfish Sunday, I expected ARI’s message to be somewhat like the comments I wrote above — bottom line: keep your money! Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Selfish Sunday was just another occasion for giving — only this time to give to the Ayn Rand Institute, so it could give Ayn Rand books to high school students.

What’s the difference between giving to the United Nations Foundation for the prospect of a brighter future, and giving to the Ayn Rand Institute for the prospect of a brighter future?

So what’s the difference between Giving Tuesday and Selfish Sunday? ARI’s email explained that Selfish Sunday is “our way of inviting you to consider spending just $5 to help the Ayn Rand Institute in its fight for a better culture, for your sake.”

Uh . . . OK . . . But on Giving Tuesday itself, ARI went further. It sent out emails trying to replace “Giving Tuesday” with “Trading Tuesday”:

That’s how we’ve renamed “Giving Tuesday” — to emphasize Ayn Rand’s trader principle: mutual exchange to mutual benefit. And today, just $5 allows the Ayn Rand Institute to supercharge your money’s power. . . .

Will you trade us a bit of money for the prospect of a brighter future?

So, again: what’s the difference between giving to the United Nations Foundation (an originator — natch! — of Giving Tuesday) for the prospect of a brighter future, and giving to the Ayn Rand Institute for the prospect of a brighter future?

Good question.

Now, if ARI said, “The difference is that we’re doin’ good stuff and the rest of them are doin’ bad stuff, so we hope you can give us some money, sometime,” that would be swell. You can say that at any time; you don’t need to wait till Stupid Sunday or Tiresome Tuesday. But the notion that when you give to ARI you’re either giving to yourself or doing a deal . . . that ain’t so swell. No, not at all.




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Comments

Mervin Gaye

The phrase “giving back” isn’t inherently wrong. As with slavery reparations, the problem is the wrong people are on the giving and receiving ends.

The blind person up the street, the bums in Seattle, Bill Gates, taxpayers, and Donald Trump have given me nothing so I can’t give them anything back.

I’d gladly give back to Washington, Jefferson, and Madison, or Edison, Watt, and Bell, or Mom and Dad — but that’s an impossibility. So instead I’ll strive to build on what they built and teach the next generation to do the same.

Fred Mora

I wish the ARI said "For $5, you can buy a slice of these teenagers' mindset. In that slice, we hope we will inject some principles that will help them grow up into rational, mind-your-own-business adults. Now compare and contrast with what the media and academia want to turn them into, namely rabid, gullible activists hellbent to destroy you for your own good."

And don't think you can afford to wait. Soon, none of these kids will be even taught to read past the vapid, one-line slogans that pass for critical thought in high school these days. Look, we are already pushing our luck trying to get them to crack open the intimidating 1100-page Atlas Shrugged. In a few years, they'll need an audiobook version for the back of a cereal box. So this is truly a limited-time opportunity. Don't wait until they start 'redistributing' your wealth with firebombs!"

Heck, reading this would probably have convinced me to fork out a $50 check. In the spirit of selfishness, I suggest they hire me as a copy writer.

Michael F.S.W. Morrison

From Trivia Today (and I didn't know this):
The name “Black Friday” originated in Philadelphia, when it was coined by the Philadelphia Police Department in 1966 to describe the chaos caused by massive traffic jams, car accidents and congested sidewalks that resulted from the shopping day after Thanksgiving. Contemporary use of the term now refers to it as the point in the year at which retailers begin to turn a profit, thus going from being "in the red" to being "in the black". Since 2006, there have been 11 deaths and 108 injuries as a result of Black Friday events.

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