The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Philanthropy Should Be Compulsory

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/25/2017 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 844 times Debate No: 101374
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




I want to argue that philanthropy should be compulsory or close to compulsory. A special tax, opt-out charity donations, etc.

Five assumptions on why,
Not enough money is going to philanthropy.
Efforts to significantly increase philanthropy have not been successful.
Philanthropy can do good things. {For example, not for profits are better at finding people work than the government}.
It is easier to get the money through something like tax than thousands of fundraisers.
Italy has a similar system in place when it comes to supporting religions. So, it is doable.

People can choose which charity or charities the money goes to.


So, I must divide my argument into three categories:
Human Nature

Human Nature

Confucian philosopher Xunzi devotes a great deal of thought to how humans pursue the Five Utmosts (physical pleasures corresponding to the five senses). It is not unthinkable, or even unlikely, that a charity should be set up by some persons who strive to gain for themselves. One needs only refer to the Wounded Warrir scandal from 2015 to see how this would take place. The only way to continuously pursue such criminals is through increasing government regulation and legislation which pertains to each scam as it comes up. This brings us to....


It is inherently immoral, regardless of reason, to force some one to give up of their own resources so that others may benefit. This is not a Taxation is Theft argument, for taxation is used to benefit the whole of Society. However, when one is forced by mandate to provide for philanthropy, their own Liberty is being violated. It amounts to little more than a tithe, a throwback to the superstitious policies which were done away with in 1789. Discussing the individual's Liberty, even the Liberty to be selfish, brings me to ....


Some may see a Utilitarian taking the con in this debate as contradictory. Once I was asked if I am an "Act" or "Rule" Utilitarian. I am an Act Ut.. Suffice it to say here that forced Philanthropy deprives the individual of the Right to his/her own happiness. Thus, the summation of happiness is decreased with each giver, which, since philanthropy would be compulsory, would be a majority of the given population. Hence, it is inherently anti-Utilitarian.

In closing, People should be free to pursue their own goals. If those goals are selfish, then sobeit. And if some day the selfish should need help, let them be faced with selfishness. If those goals are philanthropic, then sobeit, and those charitable persons can be lauded. But no compulsion.
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks for accepting the debate.

Correct me if I am wrong but is the first part arguing that charities would be involved in scandals and the only way to stop that would be lots of regulations, etc, which is not good? I could argue that the rate of misconduct is fairly low amongst charities and that much good can still be done even with the possibility of a relatively small number of scandals.

I would argue that philanthropy is also a benefit to a whole society. Liberty still exists because people can choose which charity they give to. They may choose to support Liberalism campaigns and if successful could increase their liberty.

I would say the last category could be debated.
Some people already give to charity. So, their happiness might not go down.
Research shows that giving to charity can improve happiness.
Significantly more money to charity may tackle some problems that cause unhappiness.
So, if it was based on overall happiness, there would be more happiness in the world from a mandate.


I would say that the claim that misconduct is fairly low among charities is because giving to them is due to the fact that charities are currently in competition not only with one another to appear benevolent, but also with the concept of not donating. One needs only look at how some high-profile charities have been. The Clinton Foundation, Wounded Warrior, and let's not forget that Mark Zuckerberg did not give 99% of his wealth to charity, but to politically active LLC's. More charities would behave in such a way if philanthropy were made mandatory (people pursue their own interests).

As for the concept of Liberty, the people are deprived of the choice not to give, just as in some societies they are deprived of the choice not to work. This brings us to the next point. Of course those persons who give already would not lose happiness, but what about those people who do not give, whatever their reasons? "Research shows that giving to charity can improve happiness." Well, "can" is the key word there. Research also shows that drinking red wine is good for the heart. Should we then mandate red wine with dinners? Research shows that social interaction increases happiness. Should we make weekly parties mandatory to attend?

For a case, take the concept of Scrooge. Although Scrooge does not give to charity because he is a miser, the charity can still obtain donations from others. Thus, Scrooge's happiness, the happiness of all givers, and the happiness of the receivers is in no way decreased. If Scrooge was forced to give, his happiness would decrease, thus decreasing happiness overall.
Debate Round No. 2


You raise a good point about what may occur with mandatory philanthropy.

I do think though that it is too simplistic to believe that a key part of fraud is linked to charities having to compete for donations. There are many reasons why corruption and fraud exists. {And not every foundation that does not rely on donations with never ending endowments to draw upon has fraud}.

I would also argue that the statement that people pursue their best interest is more of an opinion than a fact. {At least, they don't always do it}.

I would also note that Zuckerberg's LLC should not be included in the list of bad things. He has not chosen the groups yet . And the LLC allows donations to both charities and for profit companies that can advance charitable aims.

I would note that my justification for giving was not based on an Utilitarian argument but rather other issues like, more money is needed and it can do good. I would also argue that just because we don't mandate everything that is good does not preclude mandating this. Just because we can't do everything does not mean we should do nothing.

I would also argue that more happiness would come overall. {If we used a U argument}

The people who don't give cite different reasons for not giving. Some of them cite reasons that can be countered. They may believe all charities are bad, spend too much on admin, etc. This can be countered by noting there are independent groups that have found good charities, some charities don't spend money on admin {and admin can be a good thing to run a charity}. Therefore, some of the anti-mandate people may shift to a yes vote and increase happiness. The compulsory nature will bring some of the no vote to the point of just accepting it thus reducing unhappiness. It may not increase unhappiness in people already unhappy when it comes to paying tax. They may view it just as the same thing. Plus, all the good that will come from charities I would argue means more good not less


Allow me to explain why charities should have to compete for donations: In the current state of play, the charity has to compete not only with other charities, but also with the option of simply not giving. If that latter option were removed, there would be no real danger, as that many executives of various charities are in some way connected to other charities (for example, the Roman Catholic Church tends to give to various charitable groups with connections to political organizations). Thus, the option of not giving makes it possible that an expose on charity corruption will actually do some damage to that charity's execs.

As for people pursuing their own best interest, every economist takes this a given. I assume you are referring to drug users, the morbidly obese, etc.. What you need to understand is that the list of own best interests is different for each individual. A druggie views his next fix as in his own best interest, just as you might view buying eggs as in your best interest. By mandating charities, you are forcing people who may have other plans for that money to give it up, and with that their own personal happiness.

I see your reasoning for not using Utilitarianism as Utilitarianism. It's needed and it can do good = Increase the sum total of happiness. One reason people may be happier after donating to a charity is that tax write-off many governments offer for doing so. By mandating charity, you not only get rid of that tax write-off, but also add another tax (granted, the money added does not go to the government). So those who give for the reason for tax reasons will be worse off if charity is mandatory. As for the total sum of good, that is best measured by the happiness of each individual. By decreasing the happiness of the donors (who are in the majority), you decrease the happiness and the thus the good. Let us also not forget that, whenever money is involved, people do get greedy. This goes for charity admin also see the RCC for an example
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Capitalistslave 3 years ago
LuciferWept: Since I voted on your debate, would you be willing to vote on this one of mine, if you're able?
Posted by Capitalistslave 3 years ago

Pro didn't offer much argument for why philanthropy should be compulsory, other than an outline in the first round, which isn't sufficient for argumetns. All they did was attempt to rebut con's arguments., which doesn't meet their burden of proof. I'll go over a couple of those rebuttals and pro's arguments: one was that current charities have such a low rate of corruption, however con brought up how if philanthropy was compulsory, there would be no need to worry about people who stop donating to a charity that is corrupt once they found out. When you find out one is corrupt in a compulsory philanthropy society, there is nothing you can do about it, you can't just stop giving to them. This argument seemed to be strong. Additionally, con's argument about how happiness of people would go down if they were forced to give to philanthropy is strong. Pro rebutted this by saying that those who give to charities are happier, but this is not a strong argument since under a voluntary system, people give to charity because it makes them happy. Those who don't want to, could be unhappy. This is exactly what I interpreted from his argument about bringing up scrooge.
Posted by Capitalistslave 3 years ago
I would accept this, but we're allowed to only be in one debate at a time with each other.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Capitalistslave 3 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments

By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use.