So can anyone tell me when the the notion of charity — to give help — became "giving back?"
Do you see the difference; the moral difference?
To put it most bluntly: in the former, you’re giving someone your property. In the later, you’re giving back someone their property, carrying with it the implication that you didn’t earn it — commonly known as stealing — and they are the ones entitled to and deserving of it.
I watched a big big show last night that raised a lot of money under the moral principle of "giving back," wherein I suppose that millions were encouraged to feel guilty — perhaps because it has been found more motivational and effective than causing people to feel pity, compassion, good will.
I’m not even going get started on the whole insanity of dependence-perpetuating aid to Africa and elsewhere, much of which ends up as cash or product in the hands of the kleptocracy and of their nomenklatura*. What those people really need is freedom to prosper, and they’ll take care of their own problems. Here is, I think, a perfect charity: Kiva.org. And it sports the correct moral principle too: loan them your money, but only for an entrepreneurial purpose; they execute, and pay you back your money. It’s social, so you’ve only got a few bucks at risk on any one entrepreneur. The charity is the risk you take on, plus the opportunity cost, since you’re just getting repaid principal (the borrowers pay interest (as they should), but it goes to support the local branches who help to arrange these loans).
So, to my mind, you can go glitz, pat yourself on the back for "giving back," perpetuating the dependence that is the morass of institutional international aid, or, you can help out because you’ve determined you can, and what you’re doing is helping someone with drive and a dream to not only escape dependence, but to create jobs and opportunities for others to do likewise. Civilization can take root in no other way.