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Rory
Post  Post subject: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Sat Mar 14, 2015 9:39 pm
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[MODNOTE] The following posts were split from the "Who is the king of the USA?" thread: topic1788.html [/MODNOTE]

I bet if you polled all of the seriously rich people the majority of them are not philanthropists in a big way - you don't get rich by giving away money to causes with no prospect of reciprocation. So perhaps the self-made millionaires and billionaires will be more generous because they are more capable of empathising with those experiencing financial difficulties - more so than family money types. Also you have to look at the proportion of income or wealth dobated to charity e.g. a working class person who donates £1,000 per year of their £10,000 salary is more generous than a rich person who donates £1,000,000 of their £1,000,000,000 income - although the latter will receive more attention and public praise because the amount donated is greater even if the proportion (of income) donated is less when compared with the former.

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Falconer360
Post  Post subject: Re: Who is the King of the U.S.A.?  |  Posted: Sat Mar 14, 2015 11:12 pm
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Rory wrote:
I bet if you polled all of the seriously rich people the majority of them are not philanthropists in a big way - you don't get rich by giving away money to causes with no prospect of reciprocation. So perhaps the self-made millionaires and billionaires will be more generous because they are more capable of empathising with those experiencing financial difficulties - more so than family money types. Also you have to look at the proportion of income or wealth dobated to charity e.g. a working class person who donates £1,000 per year of their £10,000 salary is more generous than a rich person who donates £1,000,000 of their £1,000,000,000 income - although the latter will receive more attention and public praise because the amount donated is greater even if the proportion (of income) donated is less when compared with the former.

A million dollars is still a million dollars. If the museum that I worked at was given a million dollars, I wouldn't care if that was 1/10 of the donor's income or 1/100 of it. It's still a kickass donation.

As for who is really more generous, you do hit in on the head. But does that really matter to a charity or a non-profit? If you give the $1,000 donor more recognition than the $1,000,000 donor, then the millionaire will be less likely to give that much again. At least in the US, most charities and organizations have different levels of recognition for donors based on the amount that is given as an incentive to get wealthier contributors to donate even more.

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: Who is the King of the U.S.A.?  |  Posted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 1:31 am
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But by publically praising donors on the basis of the amount donated rather than the proportion of income donated you only give the rich ("kings of the USA") a further false sense of moral superiority which in turn breeds a false sense of entitlement. It's allowing one good to turn into one evil.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Who is the King of the U.S.A.?  |  Posted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 4:40 pm
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This all seems nonsequitur and a bit like forcing ideological preconception to negate the net positive and public good being done. For what purpose, though? Having money does not ipso facto render one evil, no matter what percentage is/is not donated to charity.

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: Who is the King of the U.S.A.?  |  Posted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:03 pm
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Depends on the definition of evil - sometimes inaction is as harmful as negative action. To use an example cited on a Forum I once frequented - imagine that an innocent is tied to train tracks in such a way that they cannot escape, and suppose a train is guaranteed to run the person over in 15 minutes. You know about the situation and are available to assist the trapped person. So, do you help them?

If you don't help them then despite it not being you who originally tied them down, you are responsible for that person's death. By way of analogy, the rich and powerful are responsible for the suffering of the impoverished if they do not provide assistance, because it is within their reach to provide practical financial help and also to overhaul the broken political and economic systems in the long term.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Who is the King of the U.S.A.?  |  Posted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:14 pm
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Rory wrote:
Depends on the definition of evil

I really don't think it does, but I respect your opinion on the matter all the same.

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: Who is the King of the U.S.A.?  |  Posted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 12:43 am
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Of course it does - if you say 'being rich does not ipso facto render one [term]' then the accuracy of that statement will depend upon the meaning of the term - until you define the term it could mean anything, it could mean 'monied' (in which case the statement would be inaccurate).

In cases of morality it does not make sense to make claims with reference to absolute truth so the most that you can say is that you disagree with my opinion that the absence of assistance from rich to poor represents a moral ill.

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scoobydoo1
Post  Post subject: Re: Who is the King of the U.S.A.?  |  Posted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 2:37 am
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I think this line of discussion on morality is worthy of a thread of its own since it does not really tie into the OP.

Rory wrote:
Of course it does - if you say 'being rich does not ipso facto render one [term]' then the accuracy of that statement will depend upon the meaning of the term - until you define the term it could mean anything, it could mean 'monied' (in which case the statement would be inaccurate).

In cases of morality it does not make sense to make claims with reference to absolute truth so the most that you can say is that you disagree with my opinion that the absence of assistance from rich to poor represents a moral ill.

It is a stretch to argue that Amoral being Immoral, since the implications are that the mere awareness of plight confers responsibility onto those who receives the information. Car manufacturers are aware that automobiles are causing much mangled limbs, orphans, and deaths. Yet they continue to churn out their products. A two-pronged approach to this line of discussion is to determine where the responsibility for the plight resides, and whether the much hailed personal freedoms are the cause for such "evils"


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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: Who is the King of the U.S.A.?  |  Posted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:28 am
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Responsibility lies first and foremost with those uniquely or exclusively in a position to provide assistance. For example, if I had just witnessed a hit-and-run RTA and there is nobody else around to help then it is my duty to attend to the victim and call for an ambulance. The impoverished generally are impotent when it comes to initiating socioeconomic change - as evidenced by the stubborn continuation of poverty. Mass union-led and civilian strikes and demonstrations may have some influence but those uniquely in a position to provide assistance are the rich and powerful - wealthy individuals, private companies, governments and politicians. The way in which they could help is to change our electoral system from FPTT to PR or to increase the minimum wage or improve working conditions. Most of them don't bother because it is not in their private interest to do so.

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scoobydoo1
Post  Post subject: Re: Who is the King of the U.S.A.?  |  Posted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 9:01 am
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Rory wrote:
Responsibility lies first and foremost with those uniquely or exclusively in a position to provide assistance.

In a resource related situation, that remains contentious.

Rory wrote:
For example, if I had just witnessed a hit-and-run RTA and there is nobody else around to help then it is my duty to attend to the victim and call for an ambulance.

For this specific example alone, I would agree.

I concede that it may be my responsibility to call for an ambulance, and would go as far to say that I may be needed to attend to the victim myself till help arrives. Would it also be my responsibility pay for the medical expenses for the victim; simply because I am aware of his/her plight? Would I also be my responsibility to provide for the the families of the victim should he/she not survive; simply because I am aware of their plight?



If the mere awareness of the plight of the less fortunate confers responsibility, every single man, woman, and child who chooses to spend money on things such as cinema tickets, a mocha latte, branded apparel, fruit branded cellular phones, and even toilet paper ought to withhold their "immoral" expenses and focus their resource (however plentiful or slight) on those who are less fortunate that themselves. Why build lavish skyscrapers, houses, and airport terminals when less - would have suffice? This is after all the point of this line of discussion isn't it? That I would be deemed immoral (opposed to amoral) because I am now "responsible" simply because I am aware, and that I now am no longer the allowed to choose where my resources are channeled to for whatever purpose I "used to" see fit, by way of knowledge of the plight of those who may be less fortunate than myself, and societies "branding" of whether I am "good or evil", moral or immoral, is what I value?

So much for personal freedoms. :|

* I think this off-topic topic would make for an interesting discussion (perhaps in the philosophy subforum?). Can we perhaps split it from the the "King" topic?


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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: Who is the King of the U.S.A.?  |  Posted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 7:13 pm
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Of course it would not be sensible to assist others to the extent that, as the giver, you become impoverished. That would not be solving the problem - only transferring it from one person to another. But the wealthy have the means to give in a way that does not significantly harm or change their own lifestyle for the worse but which does deliver substantial benefits for the impoverished. Ultimately it comes down to where you think social responsibility ought to begin and end.

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scoobydoo1
Post  Post subject: Re: Who is the King of the U.S.A.?  |  Posted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:39 pm
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Rory wrote:
Of course it would not be sensible to assist others to the extent that, as the giver, you become impoverished. That would not be solving the problem - only transferring it from one person to another.

That isn't the extent I was speaking of. Being deprived of "cinema tickets, a mocha latte, branded apparel, fruit branded cellular phones, and even toilet paper" (well perhaps not toilet paper) wouldn't render one impoverished. Although, all the monies spent on such things by every single person on the planet would significantly improve this lives of those less fortunate - wouldn't you agree? Any form of excess spending for goods and services beyond that of basic necessities would be by default considered evil and/or immoral by that standard.

Rory wrote:
But the wealthy have the means to give in a way that does not significantly harm or change their own lifestyle for the worse but which does deliver substantial benefits for the impoverished.

Correct. You have written a factually correct and accurate statement, but did not conclude it.

I have the means to give in a way that does not significantly impact my lifestyle and that also delivers benefits for those less fortunate. Therefore, I... ?

Rory wrote:
Ultimately it comes down to where you think social responsibility ought to begin and end.

That is the question.


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billvon
Post  Post subject: Re: Who is the King of the U.S.A.?  |  Posted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 9:32 pm

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Rory wrote:
But the wealthy have the means to give in a way that does not significantly harm or change their own lifestyle for the worse but which does deliver substantial benefits for the impoverished.

And they do. About a quarter trillion dollars in philanthropy comes from US citizens every year, primarily from the wealthy.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Who is the King of the U.S.A.?  |  Posted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 3:02 am
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scoobydoo1 wrote:
I think this off-topic topic would make for an interesting discussion (perhaps in the philosophy subforum?). Can we perhaps split it from the the "King" topic?

Agreed and done. Couldn't attend to it sooner due to a massively busy day at work. Cheers.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Who is the King of the U.S.A.?  |  Posted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 3:21 am
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Rory wrote:
Of course it does - if you say 'being rich does not ipso facto render one [term]' then the accuracy of that statement will depend upon the meaning of the term - until you define the term it could mean anything, it could mean 'monied' (in which case the statement would be inaccurate)

So, you're using an uncommon definition of evil, one where an absence of charity or lack of philanthropy can be conflated with it? I cannot say I've ever seen evil described so loosely, but okay.

To be clear, I think a quality argument can be made that those of means ought to do more to help those less fortunate, that this is the basis of a moral society rooted in group survival. We help each other, and those who can help more do. We have no quarrel there.

The problem, of course, is where the boundaries get drawn and who gets to draw them? At what point does it transition from choosing a different approach than you would to full blown evil?


"A wealthy man is simply one whose income is at least one hundred dollars more per year than the income of his wife's sister's husband." ~ H. L. Mencken

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Gnostic Bishop
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 3:10 pm
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Any who accumulate large sums of wealth do so by talking advantage of the markets and labor. That is the only possible place where wealth can be gained.

To compliment those who do take advantage of those/us, when they return some of that gain is like thanking the thief who shops in your store after robbing you.

So in terms of your question, I would think that yes, if one does not return some wealth back to those who provided it would be immoral.

The absence of charity is evil.

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Falconer360
Post  Post subject: Re: Who is the King of the U.S.A.?  |  Posted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 4:25 pm
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Rory wrote:
Responsibility lies first and foremost with those uniquely or exclusively in a position to provide assistance. For example, if I had just witnessed a hit-and-run RTA and there is nobody else around to help then it is my duty to attend to the victim and call for an ambulance.


I'm just going to play the asshole here and point out that in every first aid training I've had, they inform you that if you witness an accident or come upon one, you are only responsible to do what you feel comfortable doing. So you do not actually have to attend to the victim. You can simply call for an ambulance if you so choose to.

Also in regards to your other posts, I agree with Inow that you are defining evil more loosely than normally. You also seem to frequently focus on the morality of a subject (in several threads), sometimes equating immorality with amorality.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 8:56 pm
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Gnostic Bishop wrote:
Any who accumulate large sums of wealth do so by talking advantage of the markets and labor.

What about folks who inherit it, or win a lottery? What about people who work hard, maximize savings, and minimize expenditures?

The problem with statements made in the absolute is they're always wrong... (do you see what I did there?)

Gnostic Bishop wrote:
So in terms of your question, I would think that yes, if one does not return some wealth back to those who provided it would be immoral.

Define "some wealth." After all, everyone returns at least some percentage of what they earn through various taxes.

Gnostic Bishop wrote:
The absence of charity is evil.

This strikes me as largely rubbish. A person is not the same as Hitler if they don't give a dollar to the guy standing on the street corner, and I think we all know that.

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billvon
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 10:43 pm

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Gnostic Bishop wrote:
Any who accumulate large sums of wealth do so by talking advantage of the markets and labor. That is the only possible place where wealth can be gained.
To compliment those who do take advantage of those/us, when they return some of that gain is like thanking the thief who shops in your store after robbing you.

More like thanking the man who stopped to help you when you had a flat. Your company didn't have to give you a job - but they chose to do so, and you benefit from their decision.


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Gnostic Bishop
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2015 4:11 pm
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Quote:
iNow wrote:
Gnostic Bishop wrote:
Any who accumulate large sums of wealth do so by talking advantage of the markets and labor.

What about folks who inherit it, or win a lottery?


What of them?
They would not be included in my statement directly but their funds still originally came from someone or a company taking advantage of labor or markets.

Quote:
What about people who work hard, maximize savings, and minimize expenditures?


They are taking advantage of their labor and the markets that help them to maximize savings, and minimize expenditures.

Quote:
The problem with statements made in the absolute is they're always wrong... (do you see what I did there?)


Sigh.

Where else other than markets and labor can wealth be generated?

See what I did there?

Quote:
Gnostic Bishop wrote:
So in terms of your question, I would think that yes, if one does not return some wealth back to those who provided it would be immoral.


Thanks.

Quote:
Define "some wealth." After all, everyone returns at least some percentage of what they earn through various taxes.


Enough so reverse the entrenchment and cast creating conditions spoken of in this clip.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzQYA9Qjsi0

Quote:
Gnostic Bishop wrote:
The absence of charity is evil.

This strikes me as largely rubbish. A person is not the same as Hitler if they don't give a dollar to the guy standing on the street corner, and I think we all know that.


True but if one of the 1% passes by a poor man in his city and does not take the steps to eliminate those poor in his city, while sitting on the means that he can lose without causing him harm, then he is no better than Hitler.

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Gnostic Bishop
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2015 4:17 pm
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billvon wrote:
Gnostic Bishop wrote:
Any who accumulate large sums of wealth do so by talking advantage of the markets and labor. That is the only possible place where wealth can be gained.
To compliment those who do take advantage of those/us, when they return some of that gain is like thanking the thief who shops in your store after robbing you.

More like thanking the man who stopped to help you when you had a flat. Your company didn't have to give you a job - but they chose to do so, and you benefit from their decision.


??

Were you hired by any company at any time because they wanted you to profit?

Or were you hired because they wanted to profit from whatever skill set you have?

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DL


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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:06 pm
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Billvon,

Your argument rests on the assumption that employment is always beneficial for the employee. This is not always the case. There are people who work part time hours or on a zero hours contract at minimum wage who would be financially better off on the dole. Not to mention that most types of jobs that pay the minimum wage are excessively physically demanding and even damaging leading to premature death that is preceded by chronic health problems. And the work is generally not intellectually or emotionally fulfilling. Then the profits of that labour are fed up the economic food chain never to be seen again by the labourer.

What is there to be grateful for?

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:24 pm
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Gnostic Bishop wrote:
True but if one of the 1% passes by a poor man in his city and does not take the steps to eliminate those poor in his city, while sitting on the means that he can lose without causing him harm, then he is no better than Hitler.

Every poor person in the entire city? Which city are we talking about? That seems like a lot and like pretty poor financial advise in terms of ones own personal security.

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Gnostic Bishop
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2015 11:15 pm
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iNow wrote:
Gnostic Bishop wrote:
True but if one of the 1% passes by a poor man in his city and does not take the steps to eliminate those poor in his city, while sitting on the means that he can lose without causing him harm, then he is no better than Hitler.

Every poor person in the entire city? Which city are we talking about? That seems like a lot and like pretty poor financial advise in terms of ones own personal security.


That is why I qualified the answer. But yes, every poor in every city.

The point is, and you have seen that graph showing the wealth distribution and how top heavy it is, that if the super rich in the West are so short on morals that they can walk over the poor and ignore them while sitting on their billions in disposable income, then they are not fit to be in the positions of power over us that they enjoy.

If the rich West cannot walk its moral talk then we are not fit to demand that other less developed countries do more for human rights.

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DL


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 12:38 am
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What you frame as an issue of morality, I view as an issue of economic policy that requires centralized action.

We can implement policies that allow healthcare and food and housing to be available to all citizens and we can do so with only marginally higher taxes (and shifts of defense spending away from jets and carriers and tanks more toward tech and networks). We can implement training and jobs programs so people can earn for themselves and make infrastructure investments and offer subsidies for childcare while parents are away at work and improve education so we grow from the middle out and can sustain it in the long-term.

These all strike me as a far more effective approaches than trying to guilt wealthier people into directly doing more for others with whom they share no particular kinship or giving handouts to everyone with standing at an intersection, and they all start with smart legislation from elected officials who are listening to the will of the masses and working toward the good of our children.

I guess what I'm saying is this... Perhaps if you (and others) stop framing this as an attack on the rich as if you are a bunch of petulant teenagers and instead frame it as a mature discussion about potential ways to improve our collective futures then perhaps real progress could be made and the lives of millions improved. However, if you start by calling those who happen to have more money than you immoral or evil without knowing anything more about their character or circumstances then we get nowhere.

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kojax
Post  Post subject: Re: Who is the King of the U.S.A.?  |  Posted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 1:49 am
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scoobydoo1 wrote:
Rory wrote:
Of course it would not be sensible to assist others to the extent that, as the giver, you become impoverished. That would not be solving the problem - only transferring it from one person to another.

That isn't the extent I was speaking of. Being deprived of "cinema tickets, a mocha latte, branded apparel, fruit branded cellular phones, and even toilet paper" (well perhaps not toilet paper) wouldn't render one impoverished. Although, all the monies spent on such things by every single person on the planet would significantly improve this lives of those less fortunate - wouldn't you agree? Any form of excess spending for goods and services beyond that of basic necessities would be by default considered evil and/or immoral by that standard.

n.


Redistribution of wealth is not the same as redistribution of income. If you donate all your existing money to charity, that's just a once-off effect. Temporary, and the benefits will soon forgotten.

What is needed if we want to reverse the trend toward consolidation is to redistribute the incomes. It needs to be continual. Worker wages need to go up. In effect, what is really happening right now is the rich are managing to pay themselves more and more, but pay the workers who work for them less and less.

As things consolidate more and more, they gain "market power", which amplifies their ability to negotiate a lower and lower wage for the workers who serve them, which consolidates things further, which gives them more "market power."

It's a feedback loop.


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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 8:12 am
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The feedback loop cannot be sustained indefinitely - eventually workers, en masse, will suffer to such an extent that they prefer life on welfare and public services and the fabric of life as we know it will shut down. And/or there will be actual physical class warfare, rioting, looting, general anarchy and a failed irretrievable nation state.

Taxation is one option but it makes no sense to tax the working poor further in order to redistribute those taxes among the working poor. Economic fortunes have polarised so significantly that taxation has to be increased on the wealthy if society is to survive. Luckily Labour are proposing just that, with: a mansion tax on properties above £2 million to fund the NHS, an end to the 'non-dom' rule, crackdown on hedge funds/multinationals who avoid corporate tax, and the 50p rate of taxation for high earners.

Personally I used to give 50p-£1 per homeless person on the street and I would limit this to a maximum of twice daily. Since my financial position has become precarious I have stopped this but will restart it once I am in a better place financially. If I can afford to do that then the rich (millionaires) should be able to do that x 1,000.

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Gnostic Bishop
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 12:37 pm
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iNow wrote:
What you frame as an issue of morality, I view as an issue of economic policy that requires centralized action.

We can implement policies that allow healthcare and food and housing to be available to all citizens and we can do so with only marginally higher taxes (and shifts of defense spending away from jets and carriers and tanks more toward tech and networks). We can implement training and jobs programs so people can earn for themselves and make infrastructure investments and offer subsidies for childcare while parents are away at work and improve education so we grow from the middle out and can sustain it in the long-term.

These all strike me as a far more effective approaches than trying to guilt wealthier people into directly doing more for others with whom they share no particular kinship or giving handouts to everyone with standing at an intersection, and they all start with smart legislation from elected officials who are listening to the will of the masses and working toward the good of our children.

I guess what I'm saying is this... Perhaps if you (and others) stop framing this as an attack on the rich as if you are a bunch of petulant teenagers and instead frame it as a mature discussion about potential ways to improve our collective futures then perhaps real progress could be made and the lives of millions improved. However, if you start by calling those who happen to have more money than you immoral or evil without knowing anything more about their character or circumstances then we get nowhere.


All good suggestions that would cost more in management than the return.

Why not just a decent wage level that would do all you suggest without new government departments.

You saw the huge discrepancy and inequality we live under thanks to the rich who are keeping the minimum wage as low as they can.

Any who look ate that hockey stick graph on wealth should recognize how immoral the rich are and I think if more of us acted like petulant teenagers, the rich might recognize their immorality.

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DL


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Gnostic Bishop
Post  Post subject: Re: Who is the King of the U.S.A.?  |  Posted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 12:39 pm
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kojax wrote:
scoobydoo1 wrote:
Rory wrote:
Of course it would not be sensible to assist others to the extent that, as the giver, you become impoverished. That would not be solving the problem - only transferring it from one person to another.

That isn't the extent I was speaking of. Being deprived of "cinema tickets, a mocha latte, branded apparel, fruit branded cellular phones, and even toilet paper" (well perhaps not toilet paper) wouldn't render one impoverished. Although, all the monies spent on such things by every single person on the planet would significantly improve this lives of those less fortunate - wouldn't you agree? Any form of excess spending for goods and services beyond that of basic necessities would be by default considered evil and/or immoral by that standard.

n.


Redistribution of wealth is not the same as redistribution of income. If you donate all your existing money to charity, that's just a once-off effect. Temporary, and the benefits will soon forgotten.

What is needed if we want to reverse the trend toward consolidation is to redistribute the incomes. It needs to be continual. Worker wages need to go up. In effect, what is really happening right now is the rich are managing to pay themselves more and more, but pay the workers who work for them less and less.

As things consolidate more and more, they gain "market power", which amplifies their ability to negotiate a lower and lower wage for the workers who serve them, which consolidates things further, which gives them more "market power."

It's a feedback loop.


20/20

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DL


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kojax
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 12:46 pm
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Rory wrote:
The feedback loop cannot be sustained indefinitely - eventually workers, en masse, will suffer to such an extent that they prefer life on welfare and public services and the fabric of life as we know it will shut down. And/or there will be actual physical class warfare, rioting, looting, general anarchy and a failed irretrievable nation state.


History doesn't really bear that prediction out. Or well, not all of it.

In the middle ages, the peasant class lived essentially hand to mouth. It seems the feedback loop stopped at the point where the peasants would physically die if they were pushed to accept any lower a return on their labor. The nobility had to allow them enough for bare subsistence, or they'd lose their labor force.

And rioting happened sometimes, but the riots were easily put down. The peasants didn't have access to effective weaponry.

So, if you look at history, it appears we are headed toward another medieval era. That's where the feedback loop will likely terminate. It's already getting there in the USA. The largest expense most poor people face these days in the USA is rent. The landowners are becoming the new nobility - again.


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scoobydoo1
Post  Post subject: Re: Who is the King of the U.S.A.?  |  Posted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 12:46 pm
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kojax wrote:
Redistribution of wealth is not the same as redistribution of income. If you donate all your existing money to charity, that's just a once-off effect. Temporary, and the benefits will soon forgotten.

What is needed if we want to reverse the trend toward consolidation is to redistribute the incomes. It needs to be continual. Worker wages need to go up. In effect, what is really happening right now is the rich are managing to pay themselves more and more, but pay the workers who work for them less and less.

As things consolidate more and more, they gain "market power", which amplifies their ability to negotiate a lower and lower wage for the workers who serve them, which consolidates things further, which gives them more "market power."

It's a feedback loop.

Would you like to take a stab at the thread question? This being the philosophy subforum, the verdict of which hangs on the definition of evil being used here.

Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?


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Gnostic Bishop
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 2:00 pm
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumptuary_law

Do we need a rich class that is more intelligent in their expenditures or have all of us lost our common sense?

What was that car worth in our latest speed movie? 4 million?

The U.S. also had a law on how poor the rich could keep their surfs but I have lost the link.

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DL


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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 4:20 pm
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To address the subthread title - you would first need to define 'evil' and then you would need to specify the parameters of 'charity'. Charity could be the donation of 5k from somebody earning 30k to somebody earning 20k or it could be the donation of £1 from a billionaire to a homeless person he passes on the street. I would not regard the former as evil for not engaging in this particular form of 'charity' because both have sufficient means of survival being well-salaried. I would regard the latter as immoral (I don't find the term 'evil' useful in this context) and especially if the incident were representative of their general response to the impoverished. My point is, it depends on context and extent. Is pink a good colour? It might be in the subtle hues of a blushing bride but not in the middle of a freshly cooked piece of fried chicken. I really don't know where I'm going with this :lol:

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kojax
Post  Post subject: Re: Who is the King of the U.S.A.?  |  Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:32 am
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scoobydoo1 wrote:
Would you like to take a stab at the thread question? This being the philosophy subforum, the verdict of which hangs on the definition of evil being used here.

Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?



Sure. Why not?

I define evil as behavior which, if a person exhibits it, they thereby become my enemy. Taking out a gun and robbing me, for example, would make a person my enemy.

Having a lot of something valuable and not giving it to me doesn't make a person my enemy. For example, if a beautiful woman refuses to date me on the basis that she thinks I am not handsome enough, that doesn't make her my enemy. I would basically be a creep if I thought of things that way.

A rich person refusing to donate money to me also doesn't make them my enemy. If they hire punks to beat me up, that would make them my enemy. If they "black ball" me from an industry by using their influence to prevent businesses from hiring me, that might also make them my enemy. If they pollute the air so badly that I get cancer from the byproducts, that would also make them my enemy.

But simply refusing to share doesn't.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:42 am
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Thought we were discussing evil. When did enemies become a relevant variable?

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:08 am
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kojax,

Your definition of 'evil' fails to meet the contextual flexibility required by the question. The problem with the labels 'evil' and 'charity' is that they are static. If you are to judge the character of a person it makes sense to analyse as many of their thoughts, intentions, actions and inactions as you possibly can. As such an isolated event may be 'immoral', 'moral' or 'amoral' but alone it would not be sufficient to fairly judge a person's entire character.

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kojax
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 12:06 am
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What is the sense in which they are static?

Do you mean evil in the Christian sense? That which defies the Christian code of morality? I guess the Bible is static.

Or do you mean things which defy another code of morality? Do you mean that which is against the law? That which opposes an overlord like Ghengis Khan's personal code of conduct? That which defies your own code of conduct? That which defies my code of conduct?

Surely you don't mean that which contradicts society's collectively agreed upon morals. There is no such thing. Society has quite a lot of disagreement within its self, about that topic.


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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 7:41 am
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Well, my own personal definition of evil would be, 'that which is characterised by the intention and/or deliberate implementation of acts (speech and actions) to inflict unnecessary suffering upon another - inluding the failure to intervene to alleviate the suffering of others where this is reasonably possible, and especially where one has a unique ability to do so.'

My point about the term 'evil' being static is that, that is the nature of the common usage of the term. People tend to label actions or individuals as 'evil' in the absolute sense without considering the contextual variation under which those actions might take place or the variation of intentions, actions and inactions by any one individual.

I still prefer the term 'immoral' to 'evil' because the latter is muddied in the public consciousness by the use of that term in Christianity to refer to extreme acts of violence including genocide. Also the former reminds us that there is a moral framework being used somewhere in the judgement equation - so any qualification of that judgement is only as good as the moral framework being used.

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Gnostic Bishop
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 11:15 am
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kojax wrote:
What is the sense in which they are static?

Do you mean evil in the Christian sense? That which defies the Christian code of morality? I guess the Bible is static.

Or do you mean things which defy another code of morality? Do you mean that which is against the law? That which opposes an overlord like Ghengis Khan's personal code of conduct? That which defies your own code of conduct? That which defies my code of conduct?

Surely you don't mean that which contradicts society's collectively agreed upon morals. There is no such thing. Society has quite a lot of disagreement within its self, about that topic.


It may be that there is such an agreement on a moral code. At least for 70% of us.

At least on our main 5 points. It is quite better than what religions offer which should not surprise anyone.

http://blog.ted.com/the_real_differ/

Regards
DL


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Gnostic Bishop
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 11:18 am
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Rory wrote:
Well, my own personal definition of evil would be, 'that which is characterised by the intention and/or deliberate implementation of acts (speech and actions) to inflict unnecessary suffering upon another - inluding the failure to intervene to alleviate the suffering of others where this is reasonably possible, and especially where one has a unique ability to do so.'

My point about the term 'evil' being static is that, that is the nature of the common usage of the term. People tend to label actions or individuals as 'evil' in the absolute sense without considering the contextual variation under which those actions might take place or the variation of intentions, actions and inactions by any one individual.

I still prefer the term 'immoral' to 'evil' because the latter is muddied in the public consciousness by the use of that term in Christianity to refer to extreme acts of violence including genocide. Also the former reminds us that there is a moral framework being used somewhere in the judgement equation - so any qualification of that judgement is only as good as the moral framework being used.


The base of our law uses the term mens rea, Latin for evil mind or intent and without it there is not conviction of an offender.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mens_rea

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DL


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kojax
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 12:15 pm
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Rory wrote:
Well, my own personal definition of evil would be, 'that which is characterised by the intention and/or deliberate implementation of acts (speech and actions) to inflict unnecessary suffering upon another - inluding the failure to intervene to alleviate the suffering of others where this is reasonably possible, and especially where one has a unique ability to do so.'


So I guess we have to figure out what is and isn't "necessary" suffering. A lot of rich people have donated large amounts of money to causes, only to see it accomplish little or nothing in the way of helping.

For example during the Ethiopian famine in the early 80's, quite a lot of money was made available to provide shipments of food to the country, which were then intercepted by corrupt government officials, stolen, and then resold on the open market before it could reach the starving.

There is also the "give a man a fish" vs. "teach a man to fish" issue. Really if you want to do permanent good in the world, you need to focus on redistributing incomes, not accumulated wealth. A wise philanthropist who had gotten the money by being good at business (and who is therefore, presumably extremely skillful at business), would keep the money, but use it to set up businesses that provide livelihoods to the poor.

If you are extremely skillful at business and you give your money away, odds are it will arrive in the hands of someone who isn't as skillful at business, and that it will therefore do less good in their hands.


Quote:

My point about the term 'evil' being static is that, that is the nature of the common usage of the term. People tend to label actions or individuals as 'evil' in the absolute sense without considering the contextual variation under which those actions might take place or the variation of intentions, actions and inactions by any one individual.


That's because most Europeans come out of a theocratic historical background.

In the Middle Ages, evil was whatever the church said it was. So European culture is accustomed to the idea of using that as an absolute standard of right and wrong.

But, I think i can agree with you about the causing of unnecessary suffering. The problem is that different groups assign different values to suffering. For example, some groups see euthanasia as a terrible crime, even though it is intended to alleviate suffering.


Gnostic Bishop wrote:
kojax wrote:
What is the sense in which they are static?

Do you mean evil in the Christian sense? That which defies the Christian code of morality? I guess the Bible is static.

Or do you mean things which defy another code of morality? Do you mean that which is against the law? That which opposes an overlord like Ghengis Khan's personal code of conduct? That which defies your own code of conduct? That which defies my code of conduct?

Surely you don't mean that which contradicts society's collectively agreed upon morals. There is no such thing. Society has quite a lot of disagreement within its self, about that topic.


It may be that there is such an agreement on a moral code. At least for 70% of us.

At least on our main 5 points. It is quite better than what religions offer which should not surprise anyone.

http://blog.ted.com/the_real_differ/

Regards
DL


According to Gallup poll, 77% of Americans identify themselves as Christian. Naturally people who follow the same invisible man in the sky would tend to agree about what is "evil", and that "evil" is whatever their invisible leader doesn't like.

But that places us back at my definition of "enemy". If you follow an invisible man in the sky, then probably his enemies are your enemies.


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Gnostic Bishop
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 1:15 pm
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kojax wrote:
Rory wrote:
Well, my own personal definition of evil would be, 'that which is characterised by the intention and/or deliberate implementation of acts (speech and actions) to inflict unnecessary suffering upon another - inluding the failure to intervene to alleviate the suffering of others where this is reasonably possible, and especially where one has a unique ability to do so.'


So I guess we have to figure out what is and isn't "necessary" suffering. A lot of rich people have donated large amounts of money to causes, only to see it accomplish little or nothing in the way of helping.

For example during the Ethiopian famine in the early 80's, quite a lot of money was made available to provide shipments of food to the country, which were then intercepted by corrupt government officials, stolen, and then resold on the open market before it could reach the starving.

There is also the "give a man a fish" vs. "teach a man to fish" issue. Really if you want to do permanent good in the world, you need to focus on redistributing incomes, not accumulated wealth. A wise philanthropist who had gotten the money by being good at business (and who is therefore, presumably extremely skillful at business), would keep the money, but use it to set up businesses that provide livelihoods to the poor.

If you are extremely skillful at business and you give your money away, odds are it will arrive in the hands of someone who isn't as skillful at business, and that it will therefore do less good in their hands.


Quote:

My point about the term 'evil' being static is that, that is the nature of the common usage of the term. People tend to label actions or individuals as 'evil' in the absolute sense without considering the contextual variation under which those actions might take place or the variation of intentions, actions and inactions by any one individual.


That's because most Europeans come out of a theocratic historical background.

In the Middle Ages, evil was whatever the church said it was. So European culture is accustomed to the idea of using that as an absolute standard of right and wrong.

But, I think i can agree with you about the causing of unnecessary suffering. The problem is that different groups assign different values to suffering. For example, some groups see euthanasia as a terrible crime, even though it is intended to alleviate suffering.


Gnostic Bishop wrote:
kojax wrote:
What is the sense in which they are static?

Do you mean evil in the Christian sense? That which defies the Christian code of morality? I guess the Bible is static.

Or do you mean things which defy another code of morality? Do you mean that which is against the law? That which opposes an overlord like Ghengis Khan's personal code of conduct? That which defies your own code of conduct? That which defies my code of conduct?

Surely you don't mean that which contradicts society's collectively agreed upon morals. There is no such thing. Society has quite a lot of disagreement within its self, about that topic.


It may be that there is such an agreement on a moral code. At least for 70% of us.

At least on our main 5 points. It is quite better than what religions offer which should not surprise anyone.

http://blog.ted.com/the_real_differ/

Regards
DL


According to Gallup poll, 77% of Americans identify themselves as Christian. Naturally people who follow the same invisible man in the sky would tend to agree about what is "evil", and that "evil" is whatever their invisible leader doesn't like.

But that places us back at my definition of "enemy". If you follow an invisible man in the sky, then probably his enemies are your enemies.


For sure.

Before you start to believe that those 77% are actual believers, note that in Finland, 95% claim to be Christian but only about 4% ever step into a church.

Christians, like their priests, tend to lie about their beliefs.

Regards
DL


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 2:11 pm
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Let's try to leave religion bashing out of this, please. The discussion is about charity and various people of means choosing whether or not to engage it in, also what those choices say about their character and morality.

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Gnostic Bishop
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 2:44 pm
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iNow wrote:
Let's try to leave religion bashing out of this, please. The discussion is about charity and various people of means choosing whether or not to engage it in, also what those choices say about their character and morality.


Religious hierarchies tout themselves as being all in for the poor while enriching themselves and their religions.

To remove them from the equation, being the biggest liars about charity, would be hypocritical as what I sais says a lot about their character and morality.

That aside. I had my say and was do going to bash them further.

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DL


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 4:22 pm
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Discussion of Christianity and sex has been split >> topic1808.html

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wegs
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Sun May 15, 2016 5:25 am
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I don't think evil is something you can easily or readily define, but you just sort of know it, when you come across it. But, if there were a way to definitively define it, it wouldn't be lack of charity, rather lack of compassion and empathy, which could lead to lack of charity, soon enough.


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Falconer360
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Sun May 15, 2016 5:19 pm
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wegs wrote:
I don't think evil is something you can easily or readily define, but you just sort of know it, when you come across it. But, if there were a way to definitively define it, it wouldn't be lack of charity, rather lack of compassion and empathy, which could lead to lack of charity, soon enough.

I think I can agree with that. I've always felt that evil was in the eye of the beholder much like beauty. What one person deems evil behavior might be deemed necessary and justifiable by the perpetrator of the evil actions.

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wegs
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Mon May 16, 2016 1:48 am
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Falconer360 wrote:
wegs wrote:
I don't think evil is something you can easily or readily define, but you just sort of know it, when you come across it. But, if there were a way to definitively define it, it wouldn't be lack of charity, rather lack of compassion and empathy, which could lead to lack of charity, soon enough.

I think I can agree with that. I've always felt that evil was in the eye of the beholder much like beauty. What one person deems evil behavior might be deemed necessary and justifiable by the perpetrator of the evil actions.

That's probably true. The road to hell is paved with.......


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shlunka
Post  Post subject: Re: Is an absence of charity the same thing as evil?  |  Posted: Mon May 16, 2016 1:49 pm

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billvon wrote:
Gnostic Bishop wrote:
Any who accumulate large sums of wealth do so by talking advantage of the markets and labor. That is the only possible place where wealth can be gained.
To compliment those who do take advantage of those/us, when they return some of that gain is like thanking the thief who shops in your store after robbing you.

More like thanking the man who stopped to help you when you had a flat. Your company didn't have to give you a job - but they chose to do so, and you benefit from their decision.
I've never been to a job interview where compassion was involved. Not sure how appreciative I'd be if the man who stopped to help happened to be the same person that refused to pay me a living wage. But I certainly agree that your analogy works in fields of high competence/high competition where wages are great.

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