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Blupete's Weekly Commentary


December 12th, 1999.

"Philanthropy."

As the imenent English jurist, Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, was to observe, "philanthropy often appears to be based on an unhesitating confidence in the truth of some small definite theory as to what men ought to be and how they ought to feel."1 It is, as Stephen continues to say, a "keen anxiety to reduce the amount of suffering in the world" and is generally considered to be "pious and amiable"; but, alas, it is but the caring about the accidents of life. Of course, no one can be upset with a philanthropist and no one should say a word which would prevent any single kind action. Stephen looked at the background of the question of philanthropy and found it to take place when the philanthropist thinks "life is melancholy and painful" and that basically life is an evil, and that a philanthropist does not have a good conscious and has little perception of the real objects of human life.

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NOTES:

1 Liberty, Equality, Fraternity (1873), p. 294.

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Peter Landry

December, 1999 (2011)