I'm friends with an accountant who has told me some harrowing things, but none more so than what he has to say about charities. Most of the time, he says, he will see an organisation registered as a charity and know exactly what's going on. Most of these organisations are set up by criminals, and all of them are criminal in one way or another.
Look, they're tax-avoidance vehicles, pure and simple. There's no altruism, at least not at the top. They sucker in idealists to work for them at the bottom, and rake it in.
Charity these days is big business, and trendy too. But it's deeply wrong.
DK has written about this to an extent, but my point goes further than saying that some charities are fake because they take public money. They're all fake. End of story. As Milton Friedman has said, why is it inherently better to give money to charity that you could have used to better your own position, or that of your family? Or to invest in a worthy enterprise?
Let's put it this way. In the UK, charities reclaim the tax at the basic 20% rate, which due to the way the numbers work means they get 25% more than you donate (e.g. you give £50, the charity gets £62.50). Now, you might ask, whose money is that topping up the donation?
Why, it's the taxpayer, isn't it? And do you think it might be an open invitation to criminals and government cronies? The number of charities in the UK has exploded since New Labour took power. The people who benefit from this laugh at the masses who practice charitable giving.
And perhaps rightly so, because philanthropy is fine. Charity is not - it is too close to pity, and pity is a form of contempt. Charity is a religious concept, a synthetic one. As I wrote before, too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity.