Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 22 Share on Twitter 1 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds   

The Word "Philanthropist" Is Poisonous

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     (# of views)   11 comments
Author 509347
Message Caitlin Johnstone
Become a Fan
  (32 fans)

This piece was reprinted by OpEdNews with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

David Koch - Caricature
David Koch - Caricature
(Image by DonkeyHotey)
  Details   DMCA


(Image by Caitlin Johnstone blog)   Details   DMCA

Well hot damn, we've lost a Koch brother! Do your happy dance, call out the munchkins and let your voice shake the heavens with a rousing rendition of "Ding-dong the oligarch is dead!"

David Koch, the younger of the two plutocratic faux-libertarian powerhouses who were until today collectively known as the Koch brothers, has died at 79. If you find my celebration of this distasteful, you can kindly kiss my bogan ass. Every time a toxic oligarchic death cultist dies there are always a bunch of people buzzing around social media and the blogosphere admonishing everyone to be respectful and polite because blah blah something about having a family. Such calls for civility toward our rulers are always anti-populist in nature; they stem from a fear of what would happen if the unwashed masses lost their reverence for the ruling class, and I have no respect for them. The less reverence we have for these creeps, the better.

And the narrative managers have of course been shoving us as hard as they can in the opposite direction toward reverence and adulation, with the word "philanthropist" filling out headlines for mass media outlets like Fox News, NBC and CBS. The New York Times published a fawning hagiograph y with the subheader "A man-about-town philanthropist, he and his brother Charles ran a business colossus while furthering a libertarian agenda that reshaped American politics."

Now, calling American Enterprise Institute council member and virulent Mitt Romney stan David Koch a "libertarian" is ridiculous; he was as much a libertarian as Hillary Clinton is a socialist. The Kochs have always paid lip service to shrinking government, but all they've ever pushed for with their actions is the shrinking of the aspects of government which inconvenience the oligarchs: taxes and regulations. They've left the mechanisms of bloodthirsty imperialism, Orwellian surveillance and oppressive neoliberalism almost entirely unchallenged; they're neoliberal centrists wrapped in a fake libertarian bow. But far more offensive to common sense and human dignity is labeling him a "philanthropist".


(Image by Caitlin Johnstone blog)   Details   DMCA

If I could strike one word from the English language, "philanthropist" would be it. That word's sole meaning these days is a label that gets attached to parasitic plutocrats who donate a very small percentage of their wealth to tax-exempt charities so that people won't notice they're living in a plutocracy and roll out the guillotines.

Any adept socializer knows that it doesn't take much to get on someone's good side; a little well-placed flattery at a party one night and you've earned a defender and supporter for life. In the same way, a casual look through campaign donations from the plutocratic class on Open Secrets will show you that it doesn't take much to get a politician on the side of your interests; a few thousands dollars here, a few thousand there, and you've bought yourself a congressman. People respond to positive reinforcement, and it takes very little to elicit this response. Plutocratic charity donations follow the same principle; a billionaire who sprinkles a tiny percentage of his income around a few of his favorite causes will earn the title of "philanthropist" for life.

And when I say tiny, I mean tiny. Study after study has found that the wealthy give less to charity than those who make orders of magnitude less money than they do, which should surprise no one since study after study has also found that wealth kills empathy and makes people more sociopathic. Yet you'll never see any member of the middle or lower class eulogized as a philanthropist, even if they give a much larger percentage of their income to charity than David Koch did.

Even when they do give money to charity, the wealthy need to have those donations solicited in the most egoically appealing way possible before they'll deign to consider them. In an interview with Creative Mornings, author Anand Giridharadas described what he learned from disgraced philanthropy fundraiser Emmett Carson about how much bowing and scraping and conceptual re-framing that people have to do in order to convince a billionaire to part with a few coins:

"[Carson] said 'Look, I worked in social justice my whole life, I used that term my whole career.' Then he gets this job in silicon valley. He becomes Mark Zuckerberg's adviser, and others in that world. And he said to me 'It was made very clear to me very quickly [that] you don't say this word 'social justice' around here.' And I said 'Why?' and he said 'Well, I think [for] people out here it sounds to them like you're taking from them.' You know, which" is actually correct!

"And what I learned from Emmett was something very important which is rich and powerful people in our time really do want to help but they have certain requirements for how they want to feel in their helping. They want to feel consulted, which they feel when they do things philanthropically and they don't feel when government just takes their money and makes a collective decision about what to do. So, they like charter schools, they don't like equally and adequately funded public schools. They like to feel useful and not blamed. Right? So they don't like the Bernie Sanders kind of rhetoric around how Facebook's a monopoly or around Amazon's doing like" they don't like that, doesn't make them feel good. But they're willing to help if you say 'Wow, I mean, you built Facebook, that's so amazing that you created a way for people to waste all this time, and maybe, maybe given that expertise you can help the kids in Newark have a better education?' They love that. They love that feeling of like, 'You're useful. You're not the problem.'

Next Page  1  |  2

 

Well Said 6   Must Read 4   Supported 3  
Rate It | View Ratings

Caitlin Johnstone Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Caitlin Johnstone is a brave journalist, political junkie, relentless feminist, champion of the 99 percent. And a powerful counter-propaganda tactician. Rogue journalist, poet, illustrator, utopia prepper, and proudly 100 percent reader-funded through Patreon (more...)
 

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

US Military Apologizes For Posting Uncomfortably Honest Tweet

Leaked Mueller Report Proves Barr Lied; Collusion Theorists Vindicated

Jerusalem Post says US Attack on Iran is Imminent

Nothing In Any Conspiracy Theory Is As Bad As What's Being Done Out In The Open

The Friendly Mask Of The Orwellian Oligarchy Is Slipping Off

Hating Neocons Is Becoming Mainstream Again, And It Is Excellent

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

9 people are discussing this page, with 11 comments


Daniel Geery

Become a Fan
Author 1198

(Member since Jul 9, 2009), 69 fans, 377 articles, 3575 quicklinks, 16709 comments, 180 diaries
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

We should at least pronounce his name phonetically correctly, particularly in public, to at give him a modicum of honor due (e.g. rock, sock, lock, flock, koch). Well, close enough.

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 5, 2019 at 8:37:22 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (5+)
Help
 
Indent

Devil's Advocate

Become a Fan
Author 500650

(Member since Nov 9, 2014), 9 fans, 3153 comments
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to Daniel Geery:   New Content

(Rick, sick, lick, flick, dich!)

Fixed it for ya!

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 5, 2019 at 10:42:05 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (3+)
Help
 

Patricia 0rmsby

Become a Fan
Author 11383

(Member since Feb 14, 2008), 4 fans, 10 articles, 6 quicklinks, 825 comments, 3 diaries
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

I hear Epstein's pimpette, the one that attended Chelsea's wedding, is still crawling around somewhere. Intimations in an article I saw yesterday that she's still vocal. May she crawl off to an Islamic fundamentalist state, one of those that our philanthropists support for their usefulness like ISIS, and be stoned.

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 5, 2019 at 11:19:53 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (3+)
Help
 

Rob Kall

Become a Fan Follow Me on Twitter

(Member since Jun 5, 2005), 305 fans, 2483 articles, 5243 quicklinks, 6102 comments, 512 diaries
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

Johnson writes: "If I could strike one word from the English language, "philanthropist" would be it. That word's sole meaning these days is a label that gets attached to parasitic plutocrats who donate a very small percentage of their wealth to tax-exempt charities so that people won't notice they're living in a plutocracy and roll out the guillotines."


This article is so on the mark. Philanthropist is another word for dog scrap distributor, a part of the top-down mindset where the ultra wealthy are treated as royalty and their throwing scraps to the people is seen as noble. We have to decolonize our minds from the top-down, royalist mindset and return to our bottom-up roots, as we were before civilization corrupted us. Civilization has done many good things, but it also cost us our bottom-up souls.


Submitted on Friday, Sep 6, 2019 at 2:03:31 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (6+)
Help
 

June Genis

Become a Fan
Author 52919

(Member since Aug 31, 2010), 6 fans, 2 articles, 34 quicklinks, 924 comments
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

What this whole article boils down to is that Ms. Johnstone prefers people who spend other people's money (taxes) to do good to people who spend their own to do good. Whatever David Koch's political mistakes have been there is no reason to doubt the sincerity of his charitable contributions. Like most people he gave money to organizations he believed were doing good. His personal interests were the arts and sciences and that is where he gave money throughout his life.

He was born to wealth where the arts and sciences were revered. If he had been born poor and exposed to the to the problems that poverty creates I suspect he would have had different priorities for his later acquired wealth. We are all products of our upbringing. Its unfair to hate him for the good that he did do just because the luck of the right birth helped him to do it.

Submitted on Friday, Sep 6, 2019 at 4:15:00 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (2+)
Help
 

b. sadie bailey

Become a Fan
Author 56818

(Member since Dec 5, 2010), 13 fans, 5 articles, 24 quicklinks, 1143 comments, 4 diaries
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

Well said!

Submitted on Friday, Sep 6, 2019 at 4:36:34 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help
 

David Wieland

Become a Fan
Author 512811

(Member since Jan 1, 2019), 105 comments
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

Why wait until he's dead to commence the vile denunciations? If you know you're a good person, can't you condemn those other kinds continually? Of course, you don't deserve any scorn, but they sure do. Some folks just can't be holy.

Submitted on Friday, Sep 6, 2019 at 6:08:24 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help
 
Indent

Michael Dewey

Become a Fan
Author 11470
Follow Me on Twitter
(Member since Feb 15, 2008), 18 fans, 20 articles, 6 quicklinks, 3551 comments, 17 diaries
Facebook Page Twitter Page Linked In Page Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to David Wieland:   New Content

You're just called nuts for talking of holy stuff, whatever that word means now?


Submitted on Friday, Sep 6, 2019 at 8:06:12 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help
 
IndentIndent

David Wieland

Become a Fan
Author 512811

(Member since Jan 1, 2019), 105 comments
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to Michael Dewey:   New Content

You may have gotten my point. Does anyone call grave-dancing a holy activity?

Submitted on Saturday, Sep 7, 2019 at 4:20:15 AM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help
 

Josh Mitteldorf

Become a Fan Follow Me on Twitter
(Member since Sep 14, 2006), 42 fans, 590 articles, 378 quicklinks, 977 comments, 11 diaries
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

The only thing Caitlin leaves out is the disastrous effect that Koch's lobbying has had on clean air and water, on renewable energy, and on biodiversity

Submitted on Friday, Sep 6, 2019 at 6:19:59 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (2+)
Help
 

Michael Dewey

Become a Fan
Author 11470
Follow Me on Twitter
(Member since Feb 15, 2008), 18 fans, 20 articles, 6 quicklinks, 3551 comments, 17 diaries
Facebook Page Twitter Page Linked In Page Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

Too funny, "Calling him a philanthropist is like calling Hannibel Lecter a chef." Things are too much like that Twilight Zone episode when aliens show up with a cook book, "to serve mankind."

Submitted on Friday, Sep 6, 2019 at 6:39:39 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (3+)
Help
 

 
Want to post your own comment on this Article? Post Comment