ilona the pest

insecurity + narcissism = awesome!

Sunday, December 17, 2006


there's a great article in The New York Times Magazine by the philosopher peter singer about the moral duty to give to charity, specifically to alleviate poverty. the unavoidable conclusion is that it's immoral to spend money on luxuries when that money could be used to save lives. of course, most people in this country who can afford to (including me) do engage in that kind of immorality, all the time. but just because everyone does it doesn't mean it isn't wrong.

my friend james is on the right track with his "10 over 100" pledge - sign up here! - trying to persuade people to commit to giving away at least 10% of their annual income in excess of $100,000. if everyone did that, it would be a huge improvement over the amounts most people currently give - but it also seems like a rather low bar. the rich can afford to give way more than 10%. and even people who earn under $100,000, like me, should be able to stretch to give away 10%.

in sum: we didn't do anything to deserve all this wealth and comfort. and other people do deserve (and don't have) basics like food, clean water, and health care. is that disparity okay with you, or are you going to do something to help fix it?


  • At 12:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I donate about 10% of my gross income per year, but not to charities, but rather to people that I know that are needy. I don't get tax deductions, I don't care. i've gotten some people out of some pretty bad circumstances. My only worry is that they're becoming dependent upon me, and I'm trying to figure out how to not let that happen. On another note, is it wrong for an in shape, physically active guy to want the same in a woman? Or am i some kind of shallow pig? What would she do while I'm at the gym or riding a bicycle or jogging?

  • At 8:24 PM, Blogger wt said…

    I think charity is great, but I disagree that I don't deserve my money and that other people do.

    Most of us engage in careers that are fairly demanding and intellectually strenuous to get our money. Being a lawyer pays a lot because it's not easy to be a good one. Otherwise everyone would do it and get rich quickly.

    As for people in poverty, it's one thing to pay for education, food, and shelter (which the government does currently). But it's unclear to me why I have an obligation (moral or otherwise) to take the money I earned out of my wallet and give it to someone else who didn't do anything for me.

  • At 8:28 PM, Blogger wt said…

    It's not that you're shallow for wanting a woman who is in shape, Anon.

    It's that you're shallow for finding an excuse for calling yourself an in shape and physically attractive guy.

  • At 7:02 AM, Blogger ilona said…

    As for people in poverty, it's one thing to pay for education, food, and shelter (which the government does currently).

    the "government" (ours or any other) doesn't do a very good job of providing food, education, shelter, or health care for the billions of people living in extreme poverty in other parts of the world. if the government took care of this kind of thing, that would be great. but we can't just rely on the government, or wait around until everyone else chips in their fair share. it's our individual responsibility as members of the human community to mitigate needless suffering.

  • At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ilona, does that same needless suffering mitigation apply to the millions and millions of sexually frustrated men that women won't touch because either they're ugly, poor, or have no game?

  • At 4:13 PM, Blogger ilona said…

    um. i don't think "sex with people who don't want to have sex with you" is an inalienable right. anyway, there are plenty of lonely, less attractive women. lower your standards and quit whining.

  • At 6:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You're a cool girl. Seriously.
    pud is a lucky guy.

  • At 12:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    10% over 100K

    What a concept!
    Oh wait, the church thought of it first, it's called a tithe(=tenth).

    Thankfully we have seperation of church and state.

    Support progressive taxation.
    Pay attention to what your representatives in congress are doing.
    Talk about politics with your friends and coworkers. Don't take OUR democracy for granted. And don't believe that the principles of trickle down economics are no longer an influence. Support small business. Start your own business. Walking solves more than you think, including lessoning poverty.

  • At 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The world is not so simple.

    Take the organ donor example. Let's say they were taking the 9 year old and using him as an organ donor.

    What about the rights of the people who his organs were going to save?

    Doesn't he have an obligation to save others using his organs?

    This is all a stupid argument.

    There is a simple difference between selling a kid for their organs and buying a new TV.

    In one case, YOU ARE BUYING A NEW TV


    That's the difference.

    If you can't understand that basic difference, the situation is hopeless.

    When I buy a new TV or a Ferrari, NO MONEY IS DESTOYED IN THE PROCESS.

    I am giving my money to someone else. They can go and give that money to a charity if they want. The money ISN'T LOST.

    These kind of stupid statements are always made by someone looking for a handout for themselves, family or friends.

    Or they just want a feeling of moral superiority.


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