One conservative argument I am susceptible to is that the government pays for too much stuff that really is the responsibility of individuals and charities to handle. While I think the right goes far too far and donates too much to organizations that don’t actually provide for the social welfare (like evangelical mega-churches), I do agree that the average American ought to do much more to contribute. Volunteering, donations, and other such things that promote social cohesion and collective prosperity.
Among the religious right, a large portion even of the very poor give 10% of their income to the church. The left argues this is some kind of usury, but I don’t buy that – that argument feels a lot like religious intolerance to me. If someone feels that their money is well-spent that way, then I’m in no position to tell them they shouldn’t give it.
I don’t give close to 10% of my income to charities of any kind. But I do give away some (probably 3-4% per year, maybe?). I’m going to start doing more. I’m going to start giving to organizations that support people the government is in the process of abandoning. So while this year I’ve given to the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center and to classrooms through DonorsChoose.org, I am going to start spreading around my contributions.
So I am going to contribute to my local public radio station, and to local charities that promote equality, justice, and which work to address poverty and disparities. I’m going to do this because it’s right. Because it’s necessary. And because I do not believe (please prove me wrong) that those on the right will be stepping up to support those whom they are stripping of federal and state benefits.