Telescopic Philanthropy

This is a term apparently coined by Dickens to describe how people donate to causes far afield whilst ignoring problems such as poverty on their doorsteps. It seems to be a practice of long standing:

“Evershot, a neat, wholesome, over-grown village, which remains still modest and unassuming, although dignified by a railway station. As in Leland’s days, it is even yet “a right humble towne.” In 1732 John Wilkins left money to Evershot for many things, including one pound a year to the curate for catechising the children of the place once a week. Through his goodness of heart poor children were to be bought blue gowns and bonnets as well as new Bibles. Indeed, the soul of Wilkins seemed to be over-flowing with a tender love for children, had he not in the same will disinherited his only child. The trustees, displeased by the inconsistency of Wilkins, and believing that his yearning to provide poor children with blue gowns and bonnets was sheer hypocrisy, refused to act, with the result, says Hutchings, that “no new ones have as yet succeeded them.”

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