The cake analogy is a lie

Patrick Rothfuss, a well known fantasy author, is using a cake analogy to explain his giving to charitable causes. I have no problem with giving to charity voluntarily, but his analogy misses a fundamental point that I want to address:
It’s like this: if you have one piece of cake, and you eat it, that’s fine.

If you have two pieces of cake, you should probably share some with a friend. But maybe not. Occasionally we could all use two pieces of cake.

But if you have a whole cake, and you eat *all* of it, that’s not very cool. It’s not just selfish, it’s kinda sick and unhealthy.

And if you have *two* cakes, and you keep trying to get more cakes so you can eat ALL the cake? Well… that’s really fucking mental. And awful. And about as close to real evil as actually exists in the world.

Wealth, whether measured in money or cake, is not a zero sum game. You can make more cake. It's likely to require some work -- planting wheat, grinding it to flour, planting sugar, heating a stove, and so on. But you end up after that work with more cake. You haven't taken that cake away from anyone -- well, ok, maybe you did, but that's your problem. If you produced the cake with your own materials and labor, you have a cake and by making it you did not prevent anyone else from also having a cake.

So, while you may prefer to give away some of your cake, and you are free to do so, if you choose not to you are not denying anyone else the chance to have cake. You are not being "really fucking mental" or "awful". You are certainly not "as close to real evil as actually exists in the world." You're just baking a fucking cake.

You know what is as close to real evil as actually exists in the world?

Someone who breaks into my house, threatens to kill or imprison me, takes half of the cakes I baked, keeps half of that for himself, and gives the remaining quarter of my cake to people who promise to vote for him so he can do it again next year. And he does this not just to me, but to millions of people, every year.

If you want to give to the charity involved voluntarily, feel free.

This entry was published Mon Jan 20 06:14:08 CST 2014 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2014-01-20 06:20:11.0. [Tweet]

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