Would you give your dog a billion dollars to give away as he wished? No. Nor would you allow David Brooks to choose how to give away a billion dollars, for the same reasons.
All you need to do is to read the teaser for David Brooks’ latest column— “What would I do if I had a billion bucks to use for good?”—to be able to know, with certainty, that the answer will be “something dumb.” Here are a few things that you could accomplish with one billion dollars:
- Restore eyesight for 20 million people with curable blindness.
- Build 516,000 schools for girls in developing countries.
- Save 333,000 people from dying of malaria.
BORING. I bet that David Brooks, a sweater that has learned how to type, has a better idea... perhaps something that doesn’t do anything so pedestrian as “save human lives” but instead offers the sort of fuzzy, unverifiable soft social science goals of a man who ostentatiously reads Malcolm Gladwell books on the subway?
What would I do if I had a billion bucks to use for good? I’d start with the premise that the most important task before us is to reweave the social fabric.
Oh yeah. Here it comes.
People in disorganized neighborhoods need to grow up enmeshed in the loving relationships that will help them rise. The elites need to be reintegrated with their own countrymen.
Only loving relationships transform lives, and such relationships can be formed only in small groups. Thus, I’d use my imaginary billion to seed 25-person collectives around the country.
Of course! How has Oxfam not thought of this?
A collective would be a group of people who met once a week to share and discuss life. Members of these chosen families would go on retreats and celebrate life events together. There would be “clearness committees” for members facing key decisions.
Giving away a billion dollars isn’t about helping human beings in the most effective way; it’s about expressing your own wacky theories of social morality which bear a creepy resemblance to something the Khmer Rouge might have come up with.
David Brooks is a highly paid columnist for America’s premier news publication.