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The most important thing the giant philanthropies could do – Gates, Rockefeller, Ford, Open Society Institute, and new ones emerging – would be to create a $2-to-$3 billion Trust for Independent Journalism. They wouldn’t miss the money, and democracy would still have a fighting chance because of their investment.
The only role other than paying their taxes, whatever those are, the only role for philanthropy broadly – of which the rich should give disproportionately – the more, the better – and I think there is a positive trend in that direction – there are certain risk-taking things, like trying out a new type of charter school or funding a new kind of medicine.
Slave camps under the flag of freedom, massacres justified by philanthropy or the taste of the superhuman, cripple judgment. On the day when crime puts on the apparel of innocence, through a curious reversal peculiar to our age, it is innocence that is called on to justify itself. The purpose of this essay is to accept and study that strange challenge.