Rudy Giuliani’s generosity

He “hates” abortion, and wrote a series of checks to Planned Parenthood. Most of us aren’t so generous to organizations that carry out actions we hate.

He “hates” abortion. Nonetheless, Giuliani and his (second) wife made a series of contributions to Planned Parenthood. I can reconcile thinking abortion is wrong &#8212 even hating it &#8212 with thinking there shouldn’t be laws against it. But it takes true greatness of spirit to voluntarily give money to support an activity you hate.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m delighted to find that his “pro-life” stance is just for show. But while generosity is a great virtue, honesty is another, and courage a third. Hitting .333 is great for a ballplayer. In real life, it’s not so hot.

Footnote Under the circumstances, telling what may be the truth &#8212 that Giuliani was just doing what his (then) wife wanted him to do, to keep peace in the family &#8212 isn’t really an option. That’s not a wife he wants the voters to be thinking about, and saying that he did what his wife told him to do doesn’t fit his I’m-the-alpha-male-of-this-pack macho persona.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: