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Vaniver comments on Efficient Charity: Do Unto Others... - Less Wrong

130 Post author: Yvain 24 December 2010 09:26PM

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Comment author: Vaniver 25 December 2010 11:05:04AM 7 points [-]

we should feel bad about spending money on frivolities rather than donating to charity.

This is standard religious dogma. Secular activists rarely have the gumption to make it part of their pitches.

Interestingly, however, there is some social stigma against donating "too much".

When you take seriously something other people are hypocritical about, it makes them edgy.

most of us are sex-positive activists, and sex-positive activism is arguably an extremely "low priority" type of activism.

Not for me. Keep up the good work :D

Additionally, it is undeniable that someone has to work on the issues I care about, or else who would I donate money to even if I had a lot of it?

Comparative advantage. Compare you being an activist and your donors working (which includes you working a low-value job to donate to yourself) and you working and donating to the marginal activist. Which scenario is superior?

The standard lawyer/secretary example comes to mind- even if the lawyer types much faster, they're better off having their secretary type for them. As an activist, are you a lawyer or a secretary? If gainfully employed, would you be a lawyer or a secretary?

Comment author: michaelkeenan 28 December 2010 09:49:08AM 6 points [-]

we should feel bad about spending money on frivolities rather than donating to charity.

This is standard religious dogma. Secular activists rarely have the gumption to make it part of their pitches.

That isn't a counter-argument. The idea is not wrong because religious people say it, and requiring gumption also does not make an idea wrong.

A completely secular presentation of the idea can be found in The Life You Can Save by Peter Singer.

Comment author: Vaniver 28 December 2010 11:01:28AM 5 points [-]

That isn't a counter-argument.

It was not intended as one.

Comment author: clarissethorn 26 December 2010 04:17:34AM 2 points [-]

Good point re: religious dogma. I think there are studies showing that religious/conservative folks are much better at volunteering and donating to charity than liberal/secular folks. It's too bad.

Re: lawyer/secretary, well, the longer I focus my time on activism the more likely it becomes that if I were more "gainfully employed" I'd be a secretary ... :P