A little break from our usual programming, since I’m doing an AMA on twitter about Effective Altruisms that I think would be of interest to the Other Feminisms crew.
The questions have been thoughtful and (appropriately enough!) charitable. I wanted to write and talk a little about EA, since the collapse of FTX (a crypto platform run by a very utilitarian EA guy) has sparked a lot of conversation about utilitarianism and charity. In brief, I think utilitarianism is a disordered love of the good.
One person asked what kinds of causes I support that mainstream EA doesn’t, and I’d point to groups like the Labouré Society (which pays off student loan debt so people are free to enter religious orders) and this program to help cohabiting couples prepare for marriage (the church pays their wedding costs and helps them stop cohabitating in the run-up to the wedding).
They’re both a little like a bail fund (I profiled the Brooklyn Bail Fund here). They look for a pivotal moment when a little help can have a huge payoff. I think this substack community is pretty interested in lowering barriers to answering a call to care for another.
I’m still working through questions and I’d welcome yours!
I'm interested in a more personal version of the question about balancing giving near and far: what we give our children (in both resources and time/energy) and what we extend to other people's children. We are primarily responsible for our own children; in theory, and hopefully in practice, the daily acts of caretaking form us to be more selfless, and yet it would be selfish to ONLY devote ourselves to them. (Think nepotism, etc.) How can we turn this particular kind of selflessness outward to others too, and where does the balance lie? Because in the end, both energy and resources are finite, and it is for this reason that some radical practitioners of EA (I'm thinking of the intro to Strangers Drowning) forgo having children themselves so they can give more to others.
1. What's an AMA
2. Wondering about your opinion on the tithe? Have you written anything? We typically save our tithe and give in large sums, because as someone who runs an organization i prefer to receive donations that way. We also only give a small portion to our church and most to other orgs. My husband is now on parish council and our church (a well off parish on a university campus) is running a deficit. Im contemplating upping our portion but have also considered hosting a new members gathering to explain the deficit and how to give... As i suspect many give nothing. Catholic giving is definitely skimpy, relative to the evangelical church i grew up in!
3. I also encourage friends to reduce their giving to fewer organizations because processing small donations is costly! I came to this after a well off donor sent us $5 a year on Dorothy day's birthday, as part of an effort to recognize saints. I told him " it costs us $5 to enter this and send a thank you!" Should i have told him that? Or should we just accept this friction?