Monday, May 22, 2000
charity: from French, charite, "generosity and helpfulness toward the needy or suffering"; also: "aid given to those in need"
Charity is a Christian virtue, and in Judaism, it's what's known as a mitzvah - a good deed. Charity is also supposed to begin at home. So when governments and AIDS activists stridently - and successfully - extort charity from others, it is clear that the debate on AIDS drug prices, and drug prices in general, is turning into a cautionary tale of what happens when first principles are abandoned.
Let us be clear: The first principles are respect for private property and the agreement that, at the international level, the provision of large-scale charity should be made through foreign aid by governments or international organizations.