The Daddy State

When those who rant against The Nanny State are pressed about what they’d like to see instead, they often point to philanthropy as their preferred model of social progress and uplift. Proven, effective, and – most of all – voluntary, they’d offer. The billionaire Giving Pledge, in which ultra-wealthy individuals promise to give more than half their loot to ‘good causes’ after they die, hit the headlines earlier this month to the usual cooing from those fulminating against progressive taxation. See? The rich can redistribute their wealth without the state doing it for them. The rich aren’t just rich – they’re generous too!

Which is why it was so nice to see The Economist, of all places, write about a recent UC Berkeley study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology on how being rich makes you systematically less generous. Actually, the authors of the study note that

lower class individuals proved to be more generous, charitable, trusting, and helpful compared with their upper class counterparts. Mediator and moderator data showed that lower class individuals acted in a more prosocial fashion because of a greater commitment to egalitarian values and feelings of compassion.

On the bright side, the study showed it was possible to foster traits of generosity and compassion among the rich through things like imaginative writing exercises. Perhaps when Bill Gates called his friends asking them to change their last wills and testaments, he opened with “imagine you’re broke and hungry”. Of course, noblesse oblige is hardly a solution to social problems – much less noblesse à volonté – as The Guardian and Peter Wilby have noted. But what, exactly, should you call it when billionaires get to set the terms on which they acquire wealth and give it away, of what counts as a good cause and what an unworthy one? Don’t call it the Nanny State, because this isn’t about governments hectoring anyone to do the right thing. It’s about a few men deciding what’s good not just for the country, but the world. Call it patriarchy. Call it the Daddy State.

9 Replies to “The Daddy State”

  1. Oh, how I wish we could move beyond “Father knows best”. Most times it’s actually Mama knows best. Daddy has either screwed it up and/or left the premises. Mama is all too often left holding the bag, the children and the farmwork, if there’s a field left to farm.

    You think being manipulated by one person’s philanthropic largesse is ugly, you ought to try living in the city with the first and one of the largest “community foundations in America”. Our foundation, with its huge pool pf “donor advised firewalled funds, rules what happens, holds the strings of the nonprofit sector and the local government.

    Does it lift up and educate it’s own children? No, it adopts from outside to “teach us how it should be done” – and just like the hubris filled Monsanto that readily exports its round-up ready farming to other lands, the others come grunting and squealing at the smell of subsistence cash. What’s that huge sucking sound? It’s cash from our “father knows best” – community foundation leaving our community.

    What’s done with the imported expertise after the dog and pony show is over? The report is stuffed in a drawer and the visiting “teacher/expert” goes home or on to the next parish. The nonprofit sector is rife with Elmer Gantrys and community foundations love them.

    How is this different from global economic depression depression and government bailouts or international tit for tat (we’ll forgive your debt, but we will simultaneously privatize your water)?

    It seems it stems from the importation/adoption of the Elizabethan poor laws – assuaging the guilt of lords for enclosing “common lands” (see Making the Nonprofit Sector in the United States: A Reader by David C. Hammack) Apparently we have exported that, too. Rule Britannia! Britannia rule the waves!

  2. I notice that none of the “good causes” are developing the new energy (free-energy) which can end the abject slavery of the electric power grid. Energy which is already being used for insideous weaponry (such as HAARP) by your secret government.

    I notice that none of the “good causes” are helping out peasants with sustainable local agriculture, permaculture, where poisons are not being used to saturate the crops and mechanistic factory farming does not dominate the landscape and poison the population.

    I notice that pure water, which is free of sodium flouride and chlorine, is not high on the agenda.

    I notice that basic appreciation and regard for ocean life is not considered one of those “good causes.”

    However, the “good causes”, such as more mechanistic dumbed down education, McDonald’s for the entire Third World, mind-control chips for the world consumer population and new poisonous drugs to combat invented diseases will be much lauded, highly advertised and greatly promoted. How generous.

    We have been well entrained to equate “wealth” with $$$.

    However, true wealth is far more–such as the most basic human rights like food, adequate shelter, work at a living wage, health care and true education. Since Mammon is now the official “Almighty God” of our world along with his first cousin Moloch (who has an insatiable appetite for human flesh and blood) the filthy lucre of those who call themselves “wealthy” (without a clue as to what real wealth is) will be playing the same old same old. Mindless Busyness as usual.

    And all the Masters of Money and War smiled and said, “isn’t that nice?”

    Psychotics are able to put on a very good show. Criminals always assume that everyone else is a criminal at heart also.

    This is not cynical but a call for an entirely NEW paradigm based upon reality instead of the huge hoax which has been going on for a long long time and is no longer hidden behind a thick curtain.

    Actually, the Great Wizard of Oz, who has now come out from behind his curtain of secrecy, is, in reality, a little weak man pushing buttons which control a huge soulless robotic machine that, upon the proper occasions, can act out like an insane boggey-man. He gets lots of press too. If it bleeds, it leads.

    An overheard conversation.

    “You gotta give consumers what they want,” said the Channel 9 Newsman. “They want raw sex, someone to hate and blame all their troubles on and above all…blood. Lots of it. After all, we’re entertainers, not journalists. That’s outta date. Just give ’em a paycheck, entertainment, a ballgame and a beer and they’ll beg for more. Expert social engineers know what’s best for society and we leave it entirely up to them. We say whatever we’re told to say. It pays well too. Real well. State of the art drug commercials, confusing political right/left squabblings and the excitement of raw sex and blood are what keep us on the air. People just love to be continually terrified, turn their fears into raging anger and go on a shopping spree to pretend everything is okay. It’s psychologically good for the economy. It’s the American way of life. We need to spread it to the rest of the world. We News People are public servants at the cutting edge of progressive society.”

    “Oh, my God,” said the waitress, pocketing her fifty dollar tip.


  3. Raj, i don’t get it? How can the wealthy give their money away without being portrayed as villains? Are you questioning how they make their money or how they choose to give it away? I think it is good to hear about this. Did I miss the point? How are ‘good causes’ and ‘bad causes’ determined?

  4. I appreciate this article and the comments made here are equally thoughtful. @Rob Smith, I clicked on your name and read the “Rice Experiment” Fascinating and inspiring web page.Be sure to check out my channel.

    This site is providing links and info I’m not finding anywhere else. It has become a part of my “news paper” Can’t even stand to look at msm anymore and really, I’m glad to be off the telly-vision. Mostly wanted to say I concur, with all said here and I appreciate thoughtful awake people.
    Thank you and Peace.

  5. These rich guys have decided give away their money, instead of that it would be better they share profit of their companies.
    It is better say, I am a Philantrophy, that I am sharing my assets.
    The most difficult is change their minds; it will produce a change of concuioness.
    Sorry for my English.

  6. I’m not sure what your argument is here, Raj. Are you saying that people should not be allowed to become wealthy? Are you saying that the wealthy should not be allowed to decide for themselves where their money should go? Are you saying that their money should be taken away from them by the state?

    Let’s assume that I, as a relatively poor person, leave £100 to a charity that provides help to people who are caught up in natural disasters, like the floods in Pakistan. Should I be allowed to do that? I assume you will say ‘yes’. Let’s assume that I have more than that. How about £1000? Is that OK? £10,000? Still yes? How about £1,000,000? Yes? A billion pounds? Have I crossed a line somewhere? When does it become wrong for me to decide how my money is spent?

    Or perhaps it’s not the amount of money that troubles you. Perhaps it’s the recipient of the money that you disapprove of. If I decided to leave the money to a charity that looks after animals, would you disapprove and say that I shouldn’t be allowed to do it? If I left it to someone who is in prison for committing a series of murders, should that be allowed? I would argue that I should be allowed to leave my money to whomsoever I wish. It is my money. What you think about how I distribute my money is of no concern to me. It is irrelevant. What I do with my money is none of your business, unless I decide to leave it to you, of course. Similarly, I do not wish to have anything to do with how you run your life. It is not my concern. You are a capable human being. You don’t need me to tell you how to spend your money, do you?

    I would be grateful if you could answer the questions at the beginning. What are you really saying? Do we bring down the rich and share their wealth between us? Sounds a bit like Marxism to me. Are you a Marxist at heart? Thanks for the YouTube invitation, by the way.

    At the beginning of your article (blog, piece, whatever you want to call it), you set up a false dichotomy between the Nanny State and what you call the Daddy State, as if there are no other alternatives to the Nanny State. If you are allowed to choose your own opponents, it is easy to win every time, isn’t it? I would most certainly not argue that philanthropy is very good direct substitute for government, but it would play its part in a society free from the clutches of the welfare state. State welfare is a means of controlling the populace. It involves stealing from one group of people and redistributing their wealth to other groups of people – the unemployed, the poor and, most notably, those in the welfare business. The welfare business includes the thousands of people who work in Job Centres here in the UK, those who work for the Department of Work and Pensions, social workers, and some in the private sector. Without the nanny state, these people would have to go and get some real, productive work instead of simply moving other people’s money around. Why are you in thrall to big government? It produces nothing. It spoils everything that it gets its collective hands on. It is basically a legitimised mafia – it can take your money and goods from you against your will and if you complain it can send you to prison.

  7. We have to question the motives behind the billionaire Giving Pledge. I think the whole idea is very self-serving. It’s another club for the rich. What is the cost to ultra-wealthy individuals for giving away half their wealth after they’re dead? I say nothing. They get philanthropy in their name which makes their name famous. And they decide who and what causes to give their money to. Is this any way to make society more equitable or fairer?

    I know money is important on a small scale to buy all the essentials for life. Excess money gives you freedom because you can decide how it is spent. Those who have no money have very little freedom even if you’re a proud American. Hoarding money for securing a lifestyle that excess money brings is based on fear and selfishness rather than charity. Hoarding money by the ultra-rich allows them to enjoy the freedom money brings. And when they die, they don’t need freedom but they exercise their freedom by freely choosing which philanthropies to give to.

    I think there are limits to using philanthropy as a preferred model of social progress and uplift (daddy state) same as there are limits to the good done by having socialized governments (nanny state). But the billionaire Giving Pledge only puts more focus on money. It does not generate virtues in individuals such as being more generous, charitable, trusting or helpful. The billionaire Giving Pledge is anti-egalitarian because it gives the billionaire a false sense of superiority over those in lower social status or those who don’t publically make the pledge but still want to improve society after they die.

    Only removing the sense of superiority and inferiority in society can bring about a world where we live more as brothers and sisters rather than selfish individuals with little concern for the suffering of others in society. A society that centers itself on money will not be in sync with the vision of religious figures such as Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha or Krishna. Not matter how much the religious right wants to believe, America is not a God-centered culture. It is more based on selfishness rather than devotion. Even the concept of “God bless America” is selfish and self-serving. But at least we can enjoy the freedom that prosperity brings even if the society is not in the image of what God intended it to be.

  8. I think “the daddy state” could also include all the philanthropy done by corporations. Their sole motive is profit and the positive image of their brand so they can continue to make profits. The same could be said about rich philanthropists. Neither have removing injustice or improving society as their goal.

    Their philanthropy only serves to perpetuate the status quo which is the continued accumulation of capital in the hands of the few. People are misled into thinking that the little philanthropy they do actually benefits society. The philanthropy they do is only meant to benefit themselves by manipulating mainstream opinion that they care. They only care about society only so long as it serves their needs.

    I am not against corporations. I just think we should see them as they really are. They provide a service to society for profit. But profit shouldn’t be the only motive out there to serve society. I think society continues to make ends meet every day due to selfless acts by many individuals who truly care about society and the people in it.

    Philanthropy by rich people or corporations does not really help society. They in fact worsen society by misleading individuals into thinking that money offers the solution to society’s problems.

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