Tuesday, January 17, 2006

When Was The Last Time I Donated Blood?

When was the last time I donated blood? That question entered my mind yesterday as I read Arthur C. Brooks', professor at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Public Affairs, column on the Opinion page of the Wall Street Journal. (1/16/06) The column is titled "Bleeding Hearts" and the piece examined this question: "Do one's views on the uses of government money accurately reflect anyone's true level of compassion?" This question relates to how much the government puts in the annual budget to spend on social programs and the helping of the poor. Mr. Brooks points out two groups in our population. One group criticizes the administration for not putting enough in the budget to improve the living standards of the poor. People in this group are viewed as "compassionate". A second group among us are people who say there is enough in the budget and that people should take care of themselves. This group is viewed as "uncompassionate". He then goes on to present authoritative survey results that compare the "private giving behaviors" of the two groups. As you probably have guessed by now, the uncompassionate group gives more money to charity privately than the compassionate group. Not only does this pattern of giving apply to money giving, it holds true for donating of blood. Mr. Brooks points out that all of us have about the same amount of blood, we can't give it to a church, and donating it isn't tax deductible. Furthermore, blood donated benefits anonymous recipients, including the poorest among us as well as victims of disasters. In other words, blood donation should be a good indicator of compassion giving.

So, when was the last time I donated blood? Last Spring ('05) , I presented myself for blood donation to the Red Cross. They declined to accept it that time because I had recently traveled to certain countries in Central America. Thanks to the column I have been reminded to inquire with the Red Cross if enough time has now elapsed for them to once again accept my blood.

Mr. Brooks is currently writing a book on American charity, to be published later this year by Basic Books.


At 1/17/2006 11:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good thoughts and stimulus to give blood as a help to society!


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