Gilding the Givers in the New Gilded Age
Philanthropic Planning - from Rookie Life Insurance Agents to the Slate 60

Funding Democracy Lite

Let's say I represented a billionaire donor, or "social investor," who eschewed the hype and smugness of the politicians and their buddy billionaires at the Slate conference. Let's say he called me to ask, "How do I restore habeas corpus, and make it so people, even brown people under suspicion by paranoid politicians, get punished, let alone tortured, only after they are found guilty through an open and transparent judicial process, subject to appeal and review?" I am sure I have many bright readers here, many well-informed consumers and Patriots, who support democracy and our Constitution, circa 2002. What strategies would drive such pro-democracy social change, to conserve our great traditions? What social venture with whatever number of bottom lines? What act of magnanimity? What acts of heroism? Any suggestions? I asked J. Alva Scruggs, but his only answer was, "Get the billion and we will talk about it." The Slate Philanthropy Conference is a sideshow for the Rubes. Watch the puppeteer's bloody fingers. Not that I am objecting. Democracy has to be weighed against my personal safety. If thousands of brown-skinned people have to get tortured, however unjustly, to save my sweet self, so be it. But this is America. Maybe we can have it both ways. Democracy Lite, with lots of safety, and only some barbarity.