Do You Donate or Do You Give Back?

The posts on changes in vocabulary and rebranding of words prompted an e-mail from Robert Gonnella with his excellent observation that the word “donate” is being replaced by “give back”. Instead of making a gift or donating, the plea is to “give back”. Obama has pushed this, saying “It’s a basic reflection of our belief that those who benefited most from our way of life can afford to give back a little bit more.” The term “give back” is a disguised anti-property rights expression. It’s a slick way of getting people to think that they don’t deserve what they have worked for, or that they have a debt to pay, or owe something to a whole bunch of other people. Feeling grateful isn’t enough. Expressing gatitude isn’t enough. One should “give back”.

Not “give”, not “donate”, but “give back“. The implication is that one is returning ill-gotten gains, or undeserved gains, or unearned gains. And by the way, the term “unearned” is itself another term with disguised anti-property rights implications too. The IRS calls bond interest and dividend income “unearned”. You didn’t earn this money, the implication is, so we’ll tax it, even if it has already been taxed once when you received it as pay and hadn’t yet transformed that pay into an income-earning asset.

Let’s stay with donate. It’s been around since Roman days. It comes from “donare”, to give as a gift. If one gives, generosity comes into play. If one gives back, it’s more like strings are attached to what you earn.

People who invent and propagate these word replacements have a political agenda. They are con men.


12:42 pm on March 28, 2014