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Conservative altruism reminds me of a sociological category used to characterize the humus of the Sicilian Mafia. It's called "selfish charity".

Basically it involves cherry-picking or targeting the needy within a restricted framework in order to maximize social and religious cohesion around the aims of the ruling class. It's highly symbolic and simply serves to reinforce consensus.

There will be plenty of ritualized gratitude and plenty of kickbacks. But in the end it's a formidable obstacle to welfare and other basic rights.

Or to put it bluntly, a basic right is transformed into a self-serving donation.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Nov 8th, 2007 at 04:44:54 PM EST

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