George Moore on Charity-Mongering

“ .  .  .  A case of intense suffering is brought under the notice of a bourgeois; it awakens in him a certain hysterical pity, or, should I say, remorse, for he feels that a system that permits such things to be cannot be wholly right. He relieves this suffering, and then he thinks he is a virtuous man; he thinks he has done a good action ; but a moment’s reflection shows us that this good action is only selfishness in disguise —that it is nothing more than a personal gratification, a balm to his wound, which, by a sort of reflective action, he has received from outraged humanity. Charity is of no use; it is individual, and nothing individual is of any value; the movement must be general.”