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William Blake on doing good

Via Peter Hitchens -

Jeff Pollitt asks how I square my refusal to care about Zimbabwe with a Christian conscience. Let me cite William Blake's profound and disturbing words ( disturbing, at least, to those who believe in the false religions of politics): "He who would do good to another must do it in minute particulars. General good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite and flatterer".

My point is simple. 'Caring' about the woes of foreign countries is usually done in public, so as to look concerned and compassionate, and to make the 'carer' feel good about himself or herself, and allow the 'carer' to let as many people as possible know how 'caring' he or she is. It is generally entirely ineffective, and results in precisely nothing. It is, to a large extent, the modern substitute for real acts of conscience and kindness, private and unnoticed. It is these unselfish acts which, if we all tried to do more of them, would heal many of the wounds of our society.

Worth thinking about. African economist James Shikwati says something very similar. (And there is a British connection.)