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Saturday, August 07, 2004

Philanthropy

By: Michael Akerman


I tell people I want to be rich. I don't hesitate to state this if someone asks. People think I'm merely greedy, but it's something more.

I want to help people. Not just single individuals, but on a large scale. I want to give millions, or perhaps billions, anonymously to charities. I want to be able to walk up to a downtrodden homeless person (not one of those panhandlers, mind you) or read a story in the newspaper about a family who has fallen on hard times and can't afford a necessary... something, and send them a cool million anonymously.

I say anonymously because I don't want to fall into the trap that most wealthy people fall into, in which they give solely to increase their public image, like Bill Gates, or Ross Perot, or Ted Turner. No, I want to give with no one knowing, and leave it to my final request to reveal my donations (can't go without some kind of acknowledgment, now can I?)

I read Leonard Pitts' column today (here, at the Miami Herald's website, or in today's News & Record), and it made me think: "What if someone could effect large scale change in Africa?" Obviously, no one, not even the wealthiest person, could pay enough to fix Africa entirely. And the U.S. alone couldn't even do it, because poverty is not something we can fix with military aid alone. Of course, I'm of the firm belief that democracy itself makes great strides toward ending poverty wherever it is effected as the means of government, so the first step would be changing the African governments to a republican setup. But what if someone set a trend after that? I want to be able to donate tens of billions of dollars to African nations (anonymously, of course. You know the schpiel), but will anybody else?

I think they would. I think we just need that seed, but it would have to be arranged correctly. For example, if I wanted to get other wealthy people donating to these causes, I would have to donate my lot of money anonymously, then "accidentally" be revealed. Because, you see, this will worry the heck out of the bigwigs. They'll be left with only one option as they now face the disappointment, which is a mild way to say it, of the general public, and they'll, by and large, be forced to save their image by donating.

Incidentally, the need and, ultimately, responsibility for America to effect changes to democratic government in other countries is why I support the war in Iraq, and why I'll support any war for this cause that doesn't require a draft to support (a draft, as I've said before, should only be used when we must defend our very way of life, as in World War I and II).

God bless America, for we are in a position to really help the world. And God bless Bush, for standing up to criticism and actually helping.

~Michael Akerman,
...by the way, there's a new, though rather unimportant, post below this one...

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