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Against Charity

“It is immoral to use private property in order to alleviate the horrible evils that result from the institution of private property.” Žižek quotes Oscar Wilde to criticize modern ideas of charity.

“Let’s not discard the evil. Let’s make the evil itself work for good.” This, Slovenian continental philosopher Slavoj Žižek says, is the modern conception of capitalism. His riposte: “Not at any moment in human history has such a large percentage of the population has lived in such relative freedom, welfare, security and so on. I see this seriously threatened. … There is a certain type of misanthropy which is a better social attitude that cheap charitable optimism. … We are approaching a certain ‘zero point’ … I’m saying that the only way to save the values of liberalism is to do something more. Let’s be aware there is an element of hypocrisy in charity.”


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