Altruism is repeatedly confused with charity, and yet the two very differing concepts continue to be used interchangeably to the detriment of both individuals and society at large.
‘Charity’ is defined as: “1. the providing of help to the poor; 2. that which is given to help the needy; 3. an institution, organization, or fund to aid those in need; 4. tolerance; leniency; 5. an act of good will; 6. brotherly love.” (Funk & Wagnalls) These are in fact among the acts and values associated with charity.
In contrast, ‘altruism’ is defined as “selfless devotion to the welfare of others.” (Funk & Wagnalls) That’s not charity; that’s activism disguised as charity. It is the Left’s virtue signal for political causes that are far from anything that could be considered ‘selfless.’
Warned Ayn Rand: “Do not confuse altruism with kindness, good will or respect for the rights of others. These are not primaries, but consequences, which in fact, altruism makes impossible. The irreducible primary of altruism, the basic absolute, is self sacrifice – which means, self immolation, self-abrogation, self-denial, self-destruction – which means: the self as the standard of evil, the selfless as the standard of good.”