Building a Both/And Philanthropy

Over at Fare Forward, I'm doing a paired review of Jeremy Beer's The Philanthropic Revolution: An Alternative History of American Charity and Will MacAskill's Doing Good Better: How Effective Altruism Can Help You Make a Difference and talking about how to balance the spiritual and material goals of charity.Reading the two books side by side, it’s clear MacAskill wouldn’t dispute some of the charges that Beer lays to his account. Beer endorses local charities, which can best further what he s … [Read more...]

How Do You Lance A Festering Resentment?

I'm curious what readers (religious or not) wind up doing when you're frustrated by/or angry at someone.  I've just been reading Letters to a Beginner: On Giving One's Life To God by Abbess Thaisia of Leushino and she writes sharply against idle talk and gossip: It begins under the pretext of conversing, of discussing some business, but then we proceed imperceptibly to an altogether unnecessary, empty, and sinful conversation.  Like a deeply-rooted infection, this sickness does not easily sub … [Read more...]

Ridiculously Over-Engineered Approaches To Empathy

When I was complaining about a plane delay on facebook, a friend of mine generously bought me a kindle copy of Margaret Drabble's The Millstone, and told me that I might particularly enjoy it as a recovering Stoic and Kantian.  She was right.I also liked how much it reminded me of Ben Hoffman's recent post on "Werewolf Feelings" but let's address Drabble first.  Here's a scene where the protagonist carefully doesn't overreach with a lover. And even then, at that moment, I did not have the co … [Read more...]

Gateway Drugs to More Ethical Lives

A while ago, I mentioned that I'd found [X]-adjacent to be a helpful category when the X in question was bad.  E.g. rape-adjacent sex (unclear consent) may not break any laws or result in anyone feeling violated, but it makes it harder to identify predators, and it's good to avoid sex that falls in this grey area.  Catherine Addington extended the idea to brutality-adjacent policing in an essay at AmCon.And I wondered whether there was a flip side of [Y]-adjacent actions, where Y was a good t … [Read more...]

Is “Kindness-Adjacent” A Useful Category?

Catherine Addington wrote a great piece on police brutality for AmCon (that happened to riff on one of my posts about unadvisable, rape-adjacent sex): Bland’s death remains under investigation, but the dashboard camera footage of her interaction with Encinia shows the escalation of a warning for the failure to signal into the forceful detention of an epileptic woman. Surprisingly, much of what occurred between Encinia and Bland appears to have been legal, if imprudent. Encinia’s tactics could be … [Read more...]

Positive Parenting and Pick Up Artistry

Libby Anne of the Patheos Atheist channel is one of my favorite people to read on parenting, and I really enjoyed her recent post "When Positive Parenting Doesn't 'Work'"  I'm pulling a longer quote and I still feel bad about chopping up her story, so just pop over and read the whole thing.Simply put, here is a situation where I very badly wanted Bobby to sleep, and not a one of my positive parenting techniques was able to achieve that. And I thought about this, too, as I laid there trying to … [Read more...]

Does Effective Altruism Dehumanize People You Give To?

I'm discussing Effective Altruism and (possibly!) defusing some concerns about this growing, evidence-based movement in a conversation with Matt Gerken at Philanthropy Daily.  I really appreciation Matt raising some common qualms people have about Effective Altruism (What does this mean for local causes? What about goods that are hard to measure) and having me over to his site to engage them.I've posted one of our exchanges below, and you can see the rest at Philanthropy D … [Read more...]