Socialism and Philanthropy

The same arguments that hold against socialism in the commercial sphere, also apply with equal or greater force, I think, in the world of charity and philanthropy.

A competitive free “market” of benevolent organizations ensures that I remain in charge of my charitable giving. If I learn or suspect that the ABC Foundation is abusing its donors’ trust, with its executives living in luxury while its purported beneficiaries receive scant aid, I can choose to withhold my donations from ABC Foundation and give instead to the better-reputed XYZ Foundation.

Entrusting charitable functions to the Government risks shielding those functions from scrutiny, and deprives the “donor” – that is, the taxpayer – of any direct control over how his or her funds are to be used. This is not to say that the Government should never attempt to “do good”, but it is to say that this is a slippery slope.

Socialism appeals to idealists who harbor a sincere and laudable desire to “make the world a better place”. The correct path to this goal is through liberty, not tyranny.