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Addiction, charity, and morality

April 29, 2016

Reading about some Canadian shelters that are taking a harm reduction approach to homeless alcoholics, I couldn’t help but wonder the extent to which various efforts at charity are bollixed by the moral views of those who go to practice it. Morality often is what drives people to help, not just in the sense that some moralities preach charitable action, but in the more important sense that it gives them a vision of how they should go about that. Many of those efforts have questionable results, secular efforts as well as religious. In some things, intuition or fad may cloud our approach. I suspect it’s especially difficult for those who would do good to set aside their moral outlook in the face of evidence of what helps or not. I also suspect that adds more sand to the gears than most everything else.

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