Gratitude for Plenitude

Happy Thanksgiving to our American readers!

And also to anyone anywhere else who happens to feel thankful today.

Dymphna and I are particularly thankful for the success of our quarterly fundraising appeal, which began a month ago today. We’ve finally wrapped up all the thank-you notes — boy, did that take a while — just in time to be thankful over today’s dinner.

All the notes except for one, that is. During the fundraiser someone sent us a cash donation by snail-mail. The envelope was blank except for our address and a postmark (California, if I recall correctly), and the cash was wrapped up in a photocopy of a famous picture of George Washington at Valley Forge. No note, no signature — nothing else. We’ve misplaced the paper, but I believe it was a version of the image shown at the top of this post.

So, to our mystery donor, whoever you are: Like General Washington, I bend the knee to you in gratitude on this Thanksgiving Day of 2015.

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DYMPHNA HERE: Anyone who donated to Gates of Vienna but did not receive an acknowledgment, please let us know. It’s bad karma to fail to thank someone who has gone through the trouble to help the cause.

A side note: As you all know, this blog has a strong European focus. We cover American and Canadian issues (and even Australian or Indian issues from time to time), but the bulk of our material concerns Europe. The last time I investigated the origins of our traffic, the total number of European readers was about the same as the number of American readers.

For some reason, however, our financial support comes predominantly from readers in the United States. European and Canadian readers are also gratifyingly generous, and the Australians are magnificent. But American donations form the bulk of what we receive.

Does anyone have an opinion to why this is? Are Americans better off? Or is it that the USA still has a philanthropic culture, which social-democratic Europe has largely lost? Or is there some other reason?

I don’t know the answer, but I’m very grateful to everyone who decides to support our efforts financially. Godspeed to you all — even those who don’t believe in God!

19 thoughts on “Gratitude for Plenitude

  1. I understand Americans are generally more generous, to their credit, I guess- except that Europeans and some others expect the State to perform some duties (maybe not supporting blogs!) on their behalf, via taxes.

    I’m not passing judgement (been there, done that, on GoV and elsewhere), just pointing out a cultural difference. If only all such were as (relatively) harmless.

    • I feel the Europeans who expect the state to do everything and anything without Q, have already accepted and surrendered to Muslim invasion and soon a caliphate will be announced. Apathetic (pathetic) bunch, should have take a stand for their heritage and family and future, now it’s too late they have been conquered. Will Americans do like wise? time will tell, much apathy in U.S. , Canada has ultra left pro immigration leader they voted in.

  2. “Does anyone have an opinion to why this is? Are Americans better off? Or is it that the USA still has a philanthropic culture, which social-democratic Europe has largely lost? Or is there some other reason?”

    I think that it’s a philanthropic culture more than most places and that’s a huge part of it. Americans will donate money to global causes that don’t directly affect them, for the benefit of strangers, otherwise than for religious reasons, WAY more than most. So will a lot of other anglo/Western cultures. That people will do this is, in my opinion, a mark of an advanced culture. It’s also very difficult to explain to people in some places!

    I once did a little bit of fundraising in Montreal, a bi-cultural city. I did best among French-speakers by selling raffle tickets, and best among English-speakers by pointing out that we could issue tax receipts. Reversing the approaches failed miserably most of the time.

    So there are cultures to how to raise funds from different places, also. So it’s possible that your approach and style might also have something to do with why you’re collecting so much from the U.S.

    • Another thing is payment methods.

      PayPal and even North American -style credit cards aren’t common everywhere, and that’s your default donation method.

      In much of Europe, people seem to prefer bank transfers. If you’re able to open an account somewhere in Europe or elsewhere that is on IBAN, that might help also.

      • Mike, you got the point. I am European, do not have a paypal account and do not use a credit card. I only transfer from my bank account to another. So I would here as well if it would be offered. It’s my two euro cents.

      • I agree that using Paypal poses a significant barrier. Not only do they take a significant cut, they also refuse to accept certain credit cards for no discernible reason. When I pointed out this problem to Dymphna and the Baron and proposed an alternative means of supporting the site (no need for specifics right here, but I did add lots of scholarly documentation, testimonials and two enthusiastically-written detailed letters), the only thing I received for my earnestness and hours of work was a scolding for blocking the mail queue with excessive verbiage and unsolicited attachments (an appropriate reminder that Asian-style high speed internet is not common) and a vague promise to send a reply after the fundraising was over. Like having a door shut in your face. Not pleasant…

        Well, at least I tried.

        • Yes, I recall your emails. Your first message proposing a free sample of a remedy in lieu of a donation was more up Dymphna’s alley than mine, even though (if I recall correctly) it referred to eye ailments. I forwarded it to her to look at. However, after that you sent several more unsolicited emails containing MASSIVE attachments — one of them about 9MB, and others adding up to multiple megabytes; I can’t recall exactly how many.

          Our bandwidth out here in the middle of nowhere is not good, and these huge messages slowed down our email signifcantly. One of them took almost half an hour to come in.

          This was in the middle of our fundraising week, and was a significant interference with my work on both those days. To send such enormous attachments without our requesting them was inconsiderate at best.

          I (quite rightly) requested that you not do that sort of thing anymore to our email stream. It’s unfortunate that you were offended by my making that request.

        • Lebouquineur said: the only thing I received for my earnestness and hours of work was a scolding for blocking the mail queue with excessive verbiage and unsolicited attachments

          Not exactly. You sent a number of unpleasant emails following what seemed to be a very long and confusing explanation of an offer for one free month of some type of stem cell medication for the Baron’s eye problems. You sent these during what is a hectic period for us- i.e., the quarterly fund-raiser.

          Nonetheless the B did print out what you’d sent and brought it down for me to read, which I did. And re-read it several more times before giving up because I couldn’t understand it entirely. It seemed you were offering him a “first month free” treatment, worth 300.00, but it was unclear if we were then expected to pay this amount later on an on-going basis, after this initial free month. Since this is your business and you deal with it all the time, I’m sure it’s easy for you to understand your product, but for us it wasn’t.

          The retinal specialist would never approve this treatment; besides, his anti-angiogenesis treatments restored much of his vision. There is no way to help the remainder of his disability – extreme far-sightedness – except (perhaps) with surgery. While your testimonials seemed sincere, we don’t personally know the people who wrote them. Nor are testimonials ever the same as gold-standard studies carried out by labs who certify their work and who are accredited by peer-reviewed impartial referees.

          I was already concerned about the ramifications of your offer, but when your language in follow-up emails became angry/sarcastic, I backed off and remained silent since it seemed you were offering something the B’s retinal specialist wouldn’t have let him use and it further appeared to involve money from us at some point in the future.

          [BTW, you’re right: we do have very poor internet connectivity out here in the middle of nowhere. It doesn’t pay cellphone tower companies to build out here; not enough business to warrant the outlay. Repairmen who come out to fix appliances get annoyed when they discover they can’t use their cellphones from our house to call their office for instructions. Suddenly they’re back in the 1970s, running between our landline phone and whatever appliance they’re trying to fix as they look for parts numbers,write them down, and then go back to that retro phone in the hall to relay the information to their office. Nor can they send images. IOW, this is a frustrating area to live in if high speed internet connection is an important consideration for you. For us, it’s not.]

    • Yes, that could be it — we’re fundraising American-style, so we get American donors.

  3. I agree, Mark.

    I’m currently reading, “Reclaiming Catholic Social Teaching” by Anthony Esolen who draws heavily on Pope Leo XIII’s encyclicals. Leo correctly predicted that the welfare state would blunt man’s charitable instincts and they certainly have.

    In his introduction Eosen writes about “the absurdity of those who claim that Catholic social teaching implies the existence of a vast welfare state, utterly secular, materialist in all its assumptions about a good life, bureaucratically organized, unanswerable to the people, undermining families, rewarding lust and sloth and envy, acknowledging no virtue, providing no personal care, punishing women who take care of their children at home, whisking away the same children into vice-ridden schools designed to separate them from their parents’ views of the world, and, for all that, keeping whole segments of the population mired in generations of dysfunction, moral squalor and poverty, while purchasing their votes with money extorted from their neighbors.”

    Whew! But he’s right. That’s exactly what Orwellian ‘welfare’ states have produced.

  4. I donate because you give me news of what is really going on in Europe. Here in fly over country, we have the MSM feeding us government propaganda. Basically because they are lazy, and reading a government press release is easier than searching out the reality. The stories on your web site come from a wide enough variety of sources that I feel they combine to form a more realistic version of European news. Thanks.

  5. I think Mark, Mike and Maryanne have made some excellent points, but there’s another factor. The Dollar just doesn’t go as far as it use to.
    (And was it Clinton or Obama who referred to our Tax payment as our “donation”? It had to have been Clinton because I don’t think Obama is that oily.)(That’s the closest I’ve ever come to making a compliment about The Won.)

  6. I saw that painting years ago as a tourist when visiting the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. I wonder how the founding father of America would feel if he saw the country is turning away from God.

  7. Americans are used to tipping (10-15 percent) for certain services, whereas Europeans are not, which basically means that Americans are used to pay for things that are beneficial for them. Europeans on the other hand just assume that it’s for free and don’t see the point in having to pay. I think it’s that simple.

    • I thoroughly agree. The GoV is likely the finest of all blogs on the interwebs and deserves financial support from everyone who benefits.

  8. I contribute out of pure, raw, greedy self-interest.

    The European cultural, political, and philosophical background is the bedrock of the American nation. Any understanding of America is shallow without some European perspective…and, our understanding of current events becomes ever more critical.

    Furthermore, Europe provides a study of what would happen were it not for elements specific to American government. For example, Britain has the same tradition of freedom of speech as the US, but without the bedrock first amendment, freedom of speech has deteriorated quickly in England, Austria, Sweden, and other places we normally associate with a real tradition of open discussion. We also have a preview of the resulting chaos when and if Obama is able to implement his lawless executive actions. There is very little guesswork involved.

    There’s also more discussion here of why the ruling elites are destroying their own countries. I’m not sure that mystery will ever be explained satisfactorily, but it probably has to do with a networking of cultural, philosophical, and genetic trends. Probably no website examines the question more or with more reasonable suppositions.

    I also feel I’m getting very good return on my money: two very intelligent, very dedicated people working full-time to bring the country back from the precipice: the little contribution I make is the best deal I can think of.

  9. Based on my experiences, the average American tends to end up with about double or triple the amount of disposable income at the end of the month than the average European does. Europeans also tend to be much less trusting regarding things like sending money via computer, et al.

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