Friday, December 23, 2011

Stanhope vs. O'Neal: Charity vs. What's Owed To You

This is just a short note on Christmas Eve Eve in response to two comedians on Marc Maron's damn WTF podcast. (Is it just me or do other people feel like being subscribed to podcasts lays an obligation on one? I'm really trying to catch up in all my podcasts. More on that in the future.)

In his podcast interview, the late Patrice O'Neal talks to Marc Maron about the difficulties of being black in America; and in that talk, he says something about the difference between being given something as a gift and having something as a right: gifts that you're given aren't really yours--they can be taken away, they impose obligations on the receiver. (Hmm, come to think of it, I get those free podcasts kind of like gifts, so it's no wonder that I feel a little imposed on by them.)

Doug Stanhope, as a fine upstanding libertarian, notes that taxation is slavery (oh man, I'd love to have heard Patrice O'Neal rip into that comment) and that he likes giving to charity but doesn't like being taxed. (What would his account look like if he were paying for toll roads and bodyguards instead of enjoying our crumbling tax-built highways and police? Argh, libertarians.)

What Stanhope likes about charity (he gets something back by giving a gift) is exactly the problem that O'Neal identifies. I wish these two had had some time to discuss this issue.

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