A unified theory of charity


  1. Lisa Paul »

    24 May 2009 · 9:40 pm

    Unfortunately many will not see the lesson all the way through and will conclude, “Oh, doing good is inherently selfish, therefore, why bother?” They will priggishly congratulate themselves on “not being hypocrites”.

    When the real crux of the matter is Twain’s last thought: “Diligently train your ideals UPWARD and STILL UPWARD toward a summit where you will find your chiefest pleasure in conduct which, while contenting you, will be sure to confer benefits upon your neighbor and the community.”

    Who cares why good is done, if it’s done?

  2. McGehee »

    25 May 2009 · 12:43 am

    Who cares why good is done, if it’s done?

    I’ll buy that, but only up to a point.

    If good is done because millions of people have the wherewithal to do it taken from them without their consent so that the political class can feel good about themselves at the expense of the rest of us, I care.

  3. Lisa Paul »

    25 May 2009 · 12:59 am

    McGehee, I think we (Chaz, Mark Twain and I) are talking about good performed by individuals, not governments. And good can be defined as whatever you have the ability and wherewithal to give. I’ve heard stories from people who were hanging on by a thread, didn’t think they could make it through another day and some random stranger did something as simple as offering a seat on a crowded bus, or giving a lift to a garage or helping to change a tire and that made all the difference. Or any number of things that can be done by individuals and no contribution is too small.

    Sure it’s not a lot. It’s a little. But if a lot of us did a little, it would be a lot.

  4. Tatyana »

    25 May 2009 · 7:54 am

    “Toohey’s missio is to destroy excellence and promote altruism as the ultimate social ideal”

    What a disgusting collectivist Lisa Paul is.

  5. Tatyana »

    25 May 2009 · 8:33 am

    we (Chaz, Mark Twain and I)

    How sleek! what a smooth operator. You should be in circus – people would pay good pennies for a spectacle.

  6. CGHill »

    25 May 2009 · 8:50 am

    Well, hey, we’re just trying to get paid.

  7. Tatyana »

    25 May 2009 · 9:16 am

    Who is getting paid? What does it even mean?
    Sometimes, Chaz,reading your puzzling comments I wonder where the chunks of dialogs I obviously skipped went to. I started to think – maybe this format is similar to certain journals in LJ, where they have an option – to lock “under eye” selected posts or portions of, so people outside can only see disjointed remnants of conversation.

  8. Lisa Paul »

    25 May 2009 · 9:51 am

    Chaz, was it presumptuous of me to assume the sort of agreement on this topic that might lead you and Mark Twain to stand me beers should we ever have met in a Gold Rush saloon?

  9. CGHill »

    25 May 2009 · 10:18 am

    Hey, if I can chow down on BBQ with McGehee, which I have, I can certainly hoist a few with Lisa and Mr. Clemens.

    And actually, there is exactly one security level on pages here: open to the public. Nothing is passworded or otherwise blocked, except the actual control panel itself. Even the SiteMeter is open.

    But no one is expected to be able to keep track of all 15,000-plus comments in the current database — or the 17,000 in the previous one. Though I try my best.

  10. Lisa Paul »

    25 May 2009 · 10:25 am

    I know just the place: the Gold Rush town of Murphys. Sadly Mr. Twain is no longer with us, of course, but his spirit is strong. And it’s strongest in Murphys which looks (besides the gift shops, boutiques and wine bars) exactly as it did when Twain helped start the E Clampus Vitus movement there. I’m still figuring out how I can crash that club:


  11. Tatyana »

    25 May 2009 · 10:34 am

    You didn’t answered my questions.

    And I can just picture the 1st Meeting of Beacons Of mercy Society: Chaz and Lisa blowing off the foam, patting each other on the backs for their indispensable service to ungrateful masses (and the more ungrateful, the more self-congratulatory their blurred speech sounds, after a couple).

  12. CGHill »

    25 May 2009 · 11:26 am

    If we were all fourteen, this would sound slightly different.

    But only slightly.

  13. Tatyana »

    25 May 2009 · 11:46 am

    Agree. Only a teenager does not engage in direct answers in conversation, but writes his replies in a separate journal and then refers to them, in a passive-aggressive manner. And then, when asked directly, mutters something incomprehensible under his breath and drops suggestive hints instead of on open opinion.

    Either you didn’t understand me in the original “screamfest”, or misrepresent what I had said.
    Too bad.
    My sincerest regards to Mr. Clemens; I love him tenderly.

  14. Lisa Paul »

    25 May 2009 · 12:19 pm

    Under the Freedom of Information Act, which I’m sure covers blogging, I DEMAND that Chaz reveal those secret journals. And speak up Chaz! No more “muttering under your breath”. We want the truth. Don’t make us waterboard you.

  15. CGHill »

    25 May 2009 · 12:31 pm

    That’s gonna take a lot of water. (Or a lot of board. Or something.)

    Still, given my understanding of the limitations of FOIA (note: I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, and it’s been over a year since I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express), you have no right to demand an answer to your questions. Nobody has an obligation to you.

    “Secret journals,” indeed. About the only thing I do in secret is gardening. It’s how I learned when to put down the shovel.

  16. Lisa Paul »

    25 May 2009 · 12:37 pm

    Yup. Time to put down the shovel. Or retire to the Secret Garden.

    But why did I think your answer would be: “You can’t HANDLE the truth!”

    And again, you surprised me by not answering with the expected.

  17. McGehee »

    25 May 2009 · 12:51 pm

    E Clampus Vitus

    Nearest I ever got to that was the Turtle Club — as in, “You bet your (donkey icon) I’m a (turtle icon).

    Oddly enough, I was inducted into that club at a Moose Lodge. I suspect interlocking directorates.

  18. McGehee »

    25 May 2009 · 12:53 pm

    Maybe I should add that the Moose Lodge was also in Calaveras County, though higher up the mountain. For a time my dad lived in Arnold and that’s where I got into the Moose in the first place. Going up there to visit I usually went right up Murphys’ main street. Beautiful place.

  19. Lisa Paul »

    25 May 2009 · 1:06 pm

    So McGehee, am I understanding correctly that you might have some pull with the Clampers? And Arnold is a wonderful place. Big Trees Country and a place to find some real characters. Wrote a couple of posts about it recently.

  20. Lisa Paul »

    25 May 2009 · 1:17 pm

    So McGehee, come have a beer with Chaz, Mark Twain and me at the Murphys Inn. We can discuss our strategy to get inducted in the Clampers.

  21. Tatyana »

    25 May 2009 · 2:15 pm

    “Separate” journal, not “secret”. Since you assumed the 14yo’ stance, I will play along with “Pay attention!”.

    No obligation, of course. I’m glad you started to see my point: we all have no obligations to each other.

  22. CGHill »

    25 May 2009 · 2:50 pm

    And I’m sure it wouldn’t interest anybody outside of a small circle of friends, anyway.

  23. Lisa paul »

    25 May 2009 · 3:10 pm

    Hmmm. Chad, could you have been quoting Tatyana’s comments from another post (“you have no right to demand an answer to your questions…”) for humorous and ironic effect. Especially as she was demanding you answer her questions? Apparently it went over some people’s heads.

  24. Lisa paul »

    25 May 2009 · 3:14 pm

    Sorry.meant Chaz. Texting from the vineyards. But I still think the FOIA demands that you stop keeping that SEPERATE journal SECRET.

  25. Tatyana »

    25 May 2009 · 3:36 pm

    No, Chaz, it wouldn’t. Although I, once again, fail to see a connection between my comment and your reply.
    Apparently, the mental gap between us is too wide.

    Much wider than between you and a hypocritical collectivist, “texting from a vineyard.

    So long.

  26. Lisa Paul »

    25 May 2009 · 3:45 pm

    As Billie Burke said, in her most famous role, “It’s safe, my dears, you can all come out now.”

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