It would, however, be a grievous error to believe that philanthropy is only deadly when espoused by those who call themselves socialists. Those who call themselves capitalists have also spilt the blood of men in the name of the love of Man. Much of Chesterton’s spleen was vented against the philanthropy of John D. Rockefeller and his ilk. Today he would no doubt have vented in the direction of Bill Gates, whose megabucks are being used to coerce the poorer countries of the world into adopting the culture of death, which begins with contraception and which leads inevitably to widespread abortion. – Joseph Pearce, Man, Men and Misanthropy
Having worked in technology for many years, being there at the cusp of when Microsoft rose to fortune and fame, I can recall a time when memes were circulating about with Mr. Gates standing against the red and black Swastika flag in the background. Such was the anger of many in tech over his betrayal and antics against the Open Source community and what was perceived as arrogant greed. Fast-forwarding into the now, Mr. Gates is perceived in quite the opposite way as a capitalistic hero and world caring philanthropist. Indeed, he is almost vehemently defended (as I experienced this morning in some comments to the questions on my post). How could such a change come about? Or has he really changed at all? After an interview on BBC Radio 4, Mr. Gates revealed that he would memorize salaried employees (like himself) license plates so that he could spy upon when they came and went from the company. Apparently either time punch clocks were not good enough or he did not trust his hire process or his human resource department. Perhaps, he didn’t even trust his friends – because they worked for him. If this was and is his view of humanity, it calls into question his motivation for his current philanthropy. Is it the opposite of such misanthropic behavior – a behavior he defines only as “intense”? More disturbing is the view of the community that supports him, who have an apparent lack of memory (or care) about how Mr. Gates acquired his money. “The Pirates of Silicon Valley” ( based on Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine’s book Fire in the Valley: The Making of the Personal Computer) was the biopic of Mr. Gates and Mr. Jobs that revealed the disturbing disregard for the discoveries and intellectual property of others and even of false claims in business meetings with clients that a product was available when it hadn’t even been constructed.
In his essay, Man, Men and Misanthropy, Joseph Pearce reminds us that Mr. Gates is not such a changed man now that he is a proclaimed philanthropist. Pearce begins his analysis with a quote from G. K. Chesterton that comes from the following:
“Philanthropy, as far as I can see, is rapidly becoming the recognisable mark of a wicked man. We have often sneered at the superstition and cowardice of the medieval barons who thought that giving lands to the Church would wipe out the memory of their raids or robberies; but modern capitalists seem to have exactly the same notion; with this not unimportant addition, that in the case of the capitalists the memory of the robberies is really wiped out. This, after all, seems to be the chief difference between the monks who took land and gave pardons and the charity organisers who take money and give praise: the difference is that the monks wrote down in their books and chronicles, “Received three hundred acres from a bad baron”; whereas the modern experts and editors record the three hundred acres and call him a good baron.” – G. K. Chesterton, The Gift of The Millionaire, The Otautau Standard, Tuesday July 20, 1909
Chesterton is looking at another proclaimed philanthropist of his day, John D. Rockefeller. And he gets to the point as to why the Bill Gates and the John D. Rockefellers bear closer examination than the average charitable donor. From the archives of the National Library of New Zealand…..
As Pearce ends his essay, he equates what Mr. Gates is doing with his kind of philanthropy to a kind of religious persecution – if you agree that Mr. Gates has a “love of Man” (himself) but is an enemy of men.
In short, and to agree unequivocally with Chesterton, modern philanthropy is the imposition by a rich and powerful elite of their false religion of Man on the vast majority of men. Thus the “love of Man” becomes the enemy of men. Philanthropy becomes misanthropy.