Why Thoreau doesn’t like charity
Its always good to give, or is it. In the chapter “Economy” in the book Walden, Henry David Thoreau challenges the fact that all charity is good. While it’s hard to argue that giving to the less fortunate is bad; sometimes it is more complicated that just a simple gift. HDT argues that some charity is born out of a bad conscience. If most philanthropists are rich men who own factories then they are subjecting people less fortunate than them to terrible wages and bad working conditions. “They are hypocrites”, he says. It is virtuous to give a small amount of your pay, but comparing to the people who lives in poverty all around the world, and you just sit there and enjoy your wealth. It’s ironic.
“While my townsmen and women are devoted in so many ways to the good of their fellows, I trust that one at least may be spared to other and less humane pursuits. You must have a genius for charity as well as for anything else. As for Doing-good, that is one of the professions which are full. Moreover, I have tried it fairly, and, strange as it may seem, am satisfied that it does not agree with my constitution.”
Thoreau is a sceptic when it comes to charity. He sees through what might be a false goodness and try’s to figure out why someone who has it all needs to give stuff away. He doesn’t believe in basic human goodness in other words. If charity is given he looks for the reason why someone felt obligated to share the wealth, especially when they aren’t usually the giving type. This kind of view is trying. For me I like to believe that humans are innately good.
Wealthiness does not tie with ones virtue