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Clem was wrong about this

Charity is a cold, grey, loveless thing. If a rich man wants to help the poor, he should pay his taxes gladly, not dole out money at whim.” These words spoken by the former prime minister Clement Attlee are as relevant today as they were when he wrote them almost 100 years ago.

Compare the charity with the cold, grey, loveless thing that is council bureaucracy.

As ever, the mistake being made is to think that government is better. For the assumption is being made that government will be perfect, while when looking at private action it is only the worst examples that are considered.

So, here, think on this a moment. What do we all agree is the best outcome for a child? To be adopted, of course, to become a child of a family as with any other child. We all agree that this is better than being in a council home.

That is, we all have as our starting point the insistence that private charity is indeed better than state bureaucracy. We might as well acknowledge that, eh?

22 thoughts on “Clem was wrong about this”

  1. ““Charity is a cold, grey, loveless thing.”

    Thus speaks a man who never had to deal with the ghouls of State benefits bureaucracy.

  2. Well, there are two fine examples of why I despise Lefties.

    A man’s description of a thing often tells us more about the man than the thing. Clement Attlee was a cold, grey, loveless thing. A bureaucrat.
    And why does the Graun demand this cold, grey, loveless thing constantly?
    Oh, silly me, it’s not taxable is it?

  3. Plus, Charity doesn’t make you a dependant of the State; it makes you dependant on other people’s goodwill, something you might have to earn and keep…

  4. My father loathed the socialists but never had a bad word to say about Attlee as a man. Maybe Dad hadn’t read that awful statement.

    (He loathed the socialists not just because they were wrong but because most of them were wrong with malice aforethought.)

  5. I’ve just read the whole article. What a twat. The whole idea is to get the cold grey loveless state out of the kids’ lives.

    Besides the State was a lot smaller in the 1920s. It was Atlee that expanded it into the Leviathan using Beveridge as the template.

  6. We adopted a child.

    We did it because we wanted a child and we wanted to make a difference.

    We saved the taxpayer tens of thousands a year for care and, given where a lot of kids in care end up, even more for the special costs of crime and the criminal justice system.

    We got a couple of hundred quid for “resettlement” and the school gets £2,410 Pupil Premium which isn’t ring fenced and is probably spent on better staff room biscuits.

    The state doesn’t do charity.

  7. Charity *means* love. Compare King James version “faith, hope and charity” with NEB version “faith, hope and love”.

  8. In fairness to Clement Attlee, the quote refers to the world of the 1940s or earlier. That isn’t today – taking a quote out of context is however a standard trope, especially of the Left. I actually have a sneaking regard for Attlee – unquestionably one of the two most influential Prime Ministers of the 20th century, at least in terms of ideology. He’d be turning in his grave at what has become of the Welfare State in the 21st century in terms of bequeathed and deep seated pathologies.

    The source article is mind bendingly depressing.

    This country has transformed children in care into commodities in a misery market. Then they discard them when they’re too old – usually at 16 to semi-independent accommodation, or as a 2019 report conducted by the all-party parliamentary group for runaway and missing children and adults put it, into a “frightening, twilight world of unregulated semi-independent homes”. The report stated that young people living in this accommodation were easy targets for sexual exploitation and drug-running. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that approximately 25% of the prison and homeless population have spent time in the “care” system.

    That’s absolutely correct. People are forced to become alcoholics and drug addicts and noone is given housing on account of pathologically anti social behaviour. They’re then forced to get pregnant and have the state fund that offspring indefinitely. People should be subsidized to continue self abusing until they are pensionable, and get put to the top of the housing ladder the worse they behave.

    Unfortunately, like every other significant social issue, solving it will require much more than your donations and goodwill. It will entail a seismic shift in the way we do politics and economics. Giving up on philanthro-capitalism is an excellent place to start. Social infrastructure has no place in the market; if we want to see better outcomes for care kids, then we have to return children’s services to local councils

    I hear there’s groups of people in Rotherham, Telford, Oxford and numerous other towns across England that specialize in ‘children’s services’ – What could possibly go wrong?

    I must admit I had never heard of Daniel Lavelle amidst the parade of misanthropes in the Guardian. He looks like one to keep an eye on. The equivalent of Peter Simple’s Dr John. Goodbone albeit in the field of mental health…

  9. I seem to remember that the sociopathic fascist Potato is of the view that as people give to charity it proves that taxation is too low, so we should tax everyone more.

  10. Dole out money on a whim? Had Mr. Atlee never heard of endowments? Working men’s organisations? Private insurance? Alms?

    Before he got his hands on it, this country was littered with private institutions of every stripe (charitable, profitable, religious, personal, etc). It was not a perfect country, but it was free and it was improving.

    He didn’t start the growth of Leviathan, but Atlee’s disregard of incentives and reckless consolidation did tremendous harm. Not to mention the conflicts of interest (‘the state regulator declares that state education is fine’).

  11. As Thomas Sowell says, greed is the belief that you are entitled to take other people’s money for your own use.

    And when a rich man doles out his money, he expects nothing in return, whereas shitbags like Attlee want your vote in return so they can keep their snouts in the trough filled with plunder stolen from the wealth producing citizenry.

  12. The RNLI dipped its toe in government funding briefly in the 1860s, and very quickly fought their way back out and returned to wholly voluntary donation funding. Not only had the government beaurocracy crippled operational services, but public donations fell faster than the government funding.

  13. john77: My favourite passage in the whole thing, 1st Corinthians 13.

    And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

  14. “And when a rich man doles out his money, he expects nothing in return, ”

    Not strictly true, a good deal of charity is predicated on the idea that the giver will get enhanced social status as a result. Or gongs and baubles. Which cost very little if nothing in cash terms, so its a pretty sweet deal for the wider society. Rich man gets a good name, poor people get actual stuff.

  15. This statement is 100 years old. Politicians were nothing like they are now. Most we honourable men who actually were investing in the future of our country and making us great. Charity wasn’t perfect and it isn’t now by any means either. Just a bunch of people who think they know best getting high salaries leeching off a gullible workforce, who do charity work for free, and a gullible public who see the word charity and think they are helping.

    No surprise that most would give charity to a horse sanctuary than something for humans.

  16. For the assumption is being made that government will be perfect, while when looking at private action it is only the worst examples that are considered.

    This is a very common problem when people contemplate change – they compare the idealised alternative against the imperfect real-world status quo. Just as happened to many people who voted for Brexit and are sadly disappointed.

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