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#2579: Bell replies on critique of basic charity (fwd)

From: madison bell <mbell@goucher.edu>

I had this discussion with novelist William Vollmann, who had gone over to 
Thailand and rescued a single child prostitute from a brothel.  It was kind 
of a swashbuckling thing, but he did get her out of her situation and got 
her set up in a more salubrious place where she could get some education 
and be instructed in a different trade.

I asked him what good he thought it did to tweeze a single grain of sand 
off such a large mountain of misery.

His reply (rough quote from memory): "Well, it's a net positive 
effect.  And if you were that one person, you would be happy to be saved."

This shifted my attitude by about 180 degrees, or so it seemed by the time 
I got to Haiti a couple of years later....