Last week we began listing ways in which rich people may be able to help defend civilization. All of us can do our part, but rich people, precisely because they are rich, may be able to do a few things the rest of us cannot. For a bit more on the topic, consider reading my book Christianity for Rich People. I’ll sell you a copy cheap. Here are a few more things rich people could consider doing, if the suggestions seem useful to them.
5/This is a not-do rather than a do. Give zero money to politicians. Sure, if you can find a politician with the principles and thoughtfulness and ideas of Ron Paul, go ahead and contribute a small amount of money to that person. There are few such. For the most part, money given to politicians is a waste, or even worse than a waste.
6/Cultivate humility. Any kind of success encourages us to think more highly of ourselves than we really should. You became rich. Your automatic, instinctive feeling will be that it happened because you are smarter than other people. This is true–but only true in part. You are smarter at figuring out how to make money. That is a gift from God. It doesn’t mean you are smarter about everything in life. Think of some of the pathetic billionaire creeps who are trying to end civilization; we all know their names. They were smart at learning how to make money. They came up with an idea that was useful. It doesn’t mean they have even the faintest clue as to what they should be doing with their money. “And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7) You were given the gift of being able to be very productive and earn a lot of money. Beware ‘”the deceitfulness of riches”‘ (Matthew 13:22; Mark 4:19)). Riches can trick you into believing you are better and smarter than other people on every topic. It is simply not true. Humility is one of the key virtues. It will be your friend, if you cultivate it.
7/Consider hiring one person to work at cleaning up and trimming in your home town or home county. One person’s wages, one pickup truck, a few tools and supplies–donated by you as a gift to your community or county. Why? Why not? Grace was given to you to be able to become rich. Hopefully you were given grace even to become a Christian. Now you can display grace as you give this gift to your community. Don’t do this in order to get publicity for yourself; just do it if you think it is wise to do. People gradually will find out what you are doing, and it will make them think. You might even be able to turn this into a long-term money maker. As your worker drives around the county, doing the work you hire him to do, he might see property listed for sale that he thinks you might be interested in purchasing and reselling. He can write down the location of a promising property listed for sale, and tell you about it. It may be difficult to find someone willing actually to work, but developing a good worker would be part of the mission. It might take time. Talk to pastors until you find a young Christian man who might benefit from this job. If he works out, fine. If not, hire someone else. We need to think about our home community, our home people, first of all. Cultivate your home garden.
8/Hopefully you are tithing (see point #4). Now consider giving away another significant percentage of your money. If you are living comfortably but simply (see point #3), you have lots of extra money. By all means use some of it for other business ventures which seem to have potential. But also consider using some of it for charitable spending beyond a tithe. Begin relatively small, and move up your percentage of charitable giving year by year as you learn what giving is wise and what is foolish.
9/You may be able to come up with an idea for jobs for people with poor prospects. People who are not quite sure if they really want to work, but who might enjoy having a few extra bucks in their hands for doing menial work for a little while–or for longer. This suggestion is a long shot, admittedly. And you may have to pay less than the minimum wage–if you understand the battle this may cause with the civil authorities, and are willing to fight that battle. I am not good at coming up with ideas, but here’s one: hire people to pick up trash at $5.00 an hour. The principle is gleaning; the principle is borrowed from the Bible.
10/Consider sponsoring a monthly financial award to people who in some way promote the protection and advancement of civilization. The amount given need not be enormous. A gift of $5,000.00 is not huge, but is also considerably better than a poke in the eye with a hot stick, at least for most of us. Also, the public recognition of a job well done will mean a lot to the people who receive the award. A word of encouragement (not forgetting the $5,000.00) comes in handy for all of us. There are lots of people fighting a good fight to preserve civilization. They get a tiny little bit of encouragement, but not a lot most of the time. Twelve monthly awards of $5,000.00 each time, with a banquet at the end of the year honoring all twelve, would be relatively inexpensive ($100,000.00 total?), but would generate considerable interest in the freedom loving world. Even Main Sleaze Media might have to report on the twelve monthly winners. I can promise you that there are a lot more than twelve people a year who are deserving of this award. Of course you can consult lots of other people for names of potential winners. Also, a yearly posthumous award could be given to deceased friends of civilization, with the money going to their heirs.
11/Truth is our very great friend. “One word of truth outweighs the whole world.” (Russian proverb) Also: ‘”you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”‘ (John 8:32). Jesus Christ claimed our allegiance because He was ‘”the way, and the truth, and the life”‘ (John 14:6). Truth is one of our most precious resources. But we all know that it tends to be in short supply. So my suggestion here is that you consider sponsoring intellectual projects that bring forth some truth that does not get much publicity. There are scholars out there who would be glad to do the research and the writing, if they had partial financial support. I’ll give three examples of topics which are deserving of book-length treatment. 1/How did medical expenses and medical insurance get so high? (Hint: possibly because of government intervention in the market.) 2/How did the Fire-Eaters entice the South into a foolish war? The South clearly had a right to secede, but their manner of leaving was foolish and cost them a lost war and many deaths, and ended the republic for all time. 3/Did the Articles of Confederation really deserve to be trashed by the people at the Constitutional Convention? Perhaps the Articles were doing fine, and should have been left alone or only gently refined. There may be useful books already on all these topics. Good. But we can also use new scholarship and new books, because these topics don’t get a lot of consideration. The three examples are examples only. There are dozens of worthwhile projects crying out for a word of truth. You, as a rich person, have the leverage to support the advancement of truth. You might even be able to recover part of your investment. The book which the scholar brings forth might sell enough copies to partially reimburse the money you advanced.
Whatever you do, don’t find scholars through some formal application. Scout around among some of today’s leading thinkers. Some of them eventually will talk to you, when they see that you really want to help advance truth in the world with your financial support. You will find the thinkers you need, through the grapevine. If you support two good projects a year, and live another twenty years, that adds up to forty words of truth. One word of truth outweighs the whole world. Imagine the benefit to all of us of forty words of truth added to us. Truth will help us defeat evil.
Well, that concludes my two-part series on what rich people can do to help. The Christian pastor and thinker James Henley Thornwell (b. 1812-d. 1862) envisioned a world in which every Christian did something to advance the kingdom of God. “The rich would bring their wealth, the wise their learning, the great their power, the poor their prayers; all would bring something to testify their zeal for God and their sympathy for man.” (Collected Writings, Volume 2, p. 440)
Well said, Dr. Thornwell.