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Giving Back: The Communitarian Death of Benevolence

Darren Weeks
Coalition to Govern America
June 1, 2015

I've often stated that our time is our most-precious commodity. It is the only real wealth that the Establishment hasn't managed to completely steal from us, though they are always encroaching upon that front. When the Federal Reserve "Quantitatively Eases" our money into worthlessness, they are not so much as stealing our money, as they are our time.

Money is a fiction. Whether digits on a piece of paper, or in a computer database, it isn't real. Yet, we are forced to spend much of our lives working to earn something that isn't real, to buy stuff that is real. Hence, since the money isn't real, when you are taxed overtly or stealthily through inflation, it is your time that they are stealing. You must now work harder and longer to accomplish, obtain, or maintain the same amount of tangible assets or services as before, which means you have less time and less of your own life that you are able to enjoy, doing what you choose to do. It is the very definition of servitude and enslavement.

In ancient times, the Christian church was implored to come together in unity. The word that was used in Greek was koinonia, or koinos, meaning "common". The word, community, is a derivative of two words: common and unity, both of which are good things, and which are necessary in order for societies to function. In its rightful place, a community is a group of like-minded individuals who choose to, voluntarily, unite and work together for a common purpose. There is nothing bad about this, and, indeed, it is what humanity has always done, since the beginning of time, for the sake of survival.

It is important to point out, that community, though considered a noun, should really be seen as a verb. Community is something that individuals choose to do. By definition, you are not a "community" if you are not in unity for a common purpose. If an individual finds themselves no longer in union with the other members of his "common unity", that person has the right to sever their relationship with the others, and can either work and live on their own, or attempt to find another group of people with whom they can unite, and join in their "common unity". This is individual liberty, and recognizes one's God-given right to be their own king without subject.

Today, this very valuable and necessary relationship between individuals, is being perverted by social engineers and societal architects, through their doctrine of "sustainable development". Academics like Amitai Etzioni, founder of the Communitarian Network, have redefined community — the historical relationship of individual choice and koinonia  — and twisted it into a system of Communitarianism, whereby the rights of the individual are trampled upon, under the pretense of advancing the well-being of the whole. They are promoting a "herd" mentality, versus an individually-focused one. Instead of recognizing each individual in a community as a king without subject, with inherent, unalienable, God-given rights, Communitarianism views individuals more as replaceable components, or cogs that are a part of an overall unit. They have hijacked terms like "common purpose" and exploit them to promote their brand of groupism. Under this system, property rights and other freedoms are significantly curtailed, if not eliminated altogether. Laws become vague or non-absolute, as "community values" — often undefined — rule the day. It is a form of mob rule, engineered from the top down.

It is in this context that we find the concept of volunteerism also being perverted. Volunteering time to do something special for someone is an individual choice. By definition, it is not something that can be mandated. Once it is a requirement for high school graduation, college entry or commencement, career advancement or maintenance, social status, or for any other reason, it ceases to be volunteerism. Hence, there is no such thing as "mandatory volunteerism", despite the terminology of uppity academics. Sorry, eggheads. Just because you pride yourself on deconstructing society and breaking the threads that hold together the social fabric, does not give you the right to change the meaning of words.

I viewed a new public service announcement, today, which shows a group of people planting a flower garden at a retirement home. Seeing this, I thought, what a nice thing for them to do! Making lives better for other people, especially the elderly, is wonderful! I do believe that at the end of our lives, the only things that really matter are the good things we do for others. The group, a part of 4-H, were involving children in the process, which I think was also wonderful, since it introduces them to gardening, gets them out of the house, and gets them off of the electronic devices for a while. The children get some exercise, and a valuable lesson in honoring the previous generation, which is a value that appears to be nearly-lost upon the present generation.

The problem that I have with the announcement is that they used the oft-repeated phrase "giving back" to the community. It might seem like a small thing, but words have meaning. I know from experience that these phrases don't make their way into our vernacular by accident. I began hearing that phrase, "giving back", years ago, when I worked in the commercial television world. Our news anchors, themselves, very involved in community relations and organizations, were using it any time someone did a charitable act. Undoubtedly, these anchors were parroting what they had heard while participating in their various community organizations.

"Giving back" implies an indebtedness for each member of the community. It implies that "the community" has done something for you, and, therefore, you owe "the community" your time, your free labor, your money. I don't know about the reader, but I find this repugnant. "The community" has never done anything for me. Everything I have, I've had to work hard to acquire. Whenever I've gotten into a jam, "the community" has not been there to rescue me. I've had to solve my own problems, as an individual, or with the help of close family. So what is this, "giving back to the community" nonsense?

There are some extremely rare instances, when a high-profile tragedy happens to someone, that individual members of "the community" get together and raise funds, or help in some way. For most of us, however, that is not the case.

Yet, an indebtedness to "the community" — a nameless, faceless entity, closely associated with government — is implied, which facilitates a not-so-subtle suggestion that if you do not give your time, your free labor, or your money for the benefit of the collective, then you are not doing your part, and are, therefore, derelict. It also hints that you could be subject to ostracization, at some point, for your lack of generosity.

Upon researching the origins of the phrase, I was delighted to find that I was not alone in my being offended by the reference. Academic and self-described philosopher, Stephen Hicks, Ph.D., even goes so far as to call it a "false accusation".

Yet there is more to it: the phrase also denies the benevolence of the giver. If you are only giving back what is rightfully someone else’s, then you do not deserve any special praise for your action. Your benevolence need not be acknowledged or honored.

So the phrase really is a double injustice: it implies that you do not deserve what you have and it denies you any credit you deserve for your benevolent act. (Or to put it abstractly: It is the imputation of an undeserved negative and the denial of a deserved positive.)

Hicks traces the concept back to 18th century philosopher, Immanuel Kant, and his Lectures on Ethics.

Kant employs his standard distinction between inclinations and duties, arguing that actions done from inclination have no moral worth while actions done from duty do. So if we apply this to acts of charity, charity done out of benevolence has no moral significance for Kant, while charity done out of duty does. But, Kant asks, on what is the duty to be charitable based? Why ought we be charitable, whether we want to or not?

Kant’s answer is that to give charity to the poor is to make good on past injustices. Here is the key quotation: in giving to a person in need of charity, the giver “makes restitution for an injustice of which he is quite unconscious; though unconscious of it only because he does not properly examine his position. Although we may be entirely within our rights, according to the laws of the land and the rules of our social structure, we may nevertheless be participating in general injustice, and in giving to an unfortunate man we do not give him a gratuity but only help to return to his that of which the general injustice of our system has deprived him. For if none of us drew to himself a greater share of the world’s wealth than his neighbor, there would be no rich or poor. Even charity therefore is an act of duty imposed upon us by the rights of others and the debt we owe to them” (p. 194).

Here we have the first part of the “giving back” claim made explicit: the zero-sum assumption and the consequent implication that one is merely returning something one has borrowed or stolen.

On the very next page, Kant makes explicit the second assumption of “giving back”: “A man ought not to be flattered for his acts of charity lest his heart swell with generosity and desire to make benevolence the sole rule of his conduct” (p. 195).

Hence, it appears that contemporary societal architects have embraced the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, and the benevolent act of giving has been perverted to become an obligation.

With this understanding as a basis, what, then, are the ramifications when we hear phrases such as "social justice" being bandied by high-profile officials with fancy titles?

What are the ramifications for our elderly? Public policy increasingly views them as a liability to society, instead of an asset. The engineered decline in the availability of healthcare, leads to the promotion of euthanasia — which, I predict, will some day become the duty to die, as older people are viewed as a drain on the "system". Will euthanasia be considered a charitable act one takes upon themselves as a final act to "give back" to their community, when they have nothing else to give?

It has never been clearer what is meant by the term "human resource".

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