Charles Phillips of Concord is thrilled that hundreds of millions of people are “active in social justice” grassroots organizations (Boston Globe letter 3/24/10). From my point of view, most of these “environmental and peace and justice organizations” do not, as Phillips claims, “make a better world.” Most are filled with busybodies who want to write laws, expand government and tell everyone else how to live their lives. For example, Mr. Phillips cites “citizen lobbying efforts…toward…local food purchases.” Why do we need local food lobbyists? If you want local food, buy local food; don’t pass laws forcing your neighbors to follow your example.
Another citizen of Concord, Henry David Thoreau, wrote in Walden: “Philanthropy is almost the only virtue which is sufficiently appreciated by mankind. Nay, it is greatly overrated…If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life.”