Straight to the point :
A. Charity is an universal imperative. It's not only that all offshoots of Judaism feature charity centrally (while chastity figures peripherally, for instance) and include quite imperative wording to the effect of its importance (with Islam going as far as making it an obligation outright). It's not that any asking in any part of the world will include cultural references to charity, following the mechanism that probably created all culture to begin with.i It's moreover that Kant has definitively established this point, and so it stands for all thinking people forevermore.
B. Charity is not shameful in itself. This mere restatement of the previous point should be obvious, obligatoria non sunt turpia and all that. Nevertheless, such a simple point seems to elude modern man (but more about that later on).
Importantly, all things that take two are either shameful for both or shameful for neither. Consider rape : either the act is shameful, in which case it is shameful for the rapist as much as for his victim, or it's not shameful at all, in which case the victim has nothing to blush over any more than the perpetrator. Historical attempts to make the act shameful for one party, but not the other (such as shaming the victim, currently fashionable in the East, or such as shaming the rapist, currently fashionable in the West) are fundamentally unstable, and they will resolve one way or the other. Consider homosexuality : either the act itself is shameful, in which case being a top is no different from being a bottom, or the act itself is not shameful at all, in which case it's not shameful for either party. The idea that homosexuality is okay as long as you're participating penis first and penis only, but it's a horrible, horrible thing should you provide the hole(s) is primitively ludicrous enough to only find currency in prisons anymore - and those people aren't there for being particularly smart.
C. Charity is not simply giving stuff away. The way charity works elegantly, cleanly and empoweringly, the way charity has worked for millennia beyond notice or memory, the way serious thinkers indicate charity should be practiced and can only work, is as a personal effort towards the industrious.
There is no charity that's impersonal. This doesn't mean you can't be charitable towards one you don't know afore, it simply means that by the end of the process you must know something of them, enough to distinguish them from another. It's a very soft requirement, and extremely easy to satisfy - buying a beggar you've never seen before an apple and then watching him take a bite is enough, as you've seen his bite - but soft and easy as it is nevertheless it is there, it stands and it can't be eluded.
There is no charity that's effortless. Again, a very soft, a very easy to satisfy requirement, but one that stands and can't be eluded. It is my judgement that hiring someone to do your charity for you may work within this criteria, but paying a fee to a charity company does not. The difference would be the same as between eating in a restaurant, a la carte, which is still eating and proper for people, and visiting a fast food or fixed menu cafeteria, which is livestock feeding and improper for people. It's an interesting (and open) question whether website clicking for rice distributions qualifies.
Finally, you can only be charitable towards the industrious. Charity requires the giver's eyes and both giver's and taker's hands. If he whom you're helping is not working towards it this is stupidity, not charity. There must be specific performance required before any benefit accrues, even if it's as much as telling a beggar to "come over here". Helping someone whose house burned down to build a new one by supplying the materials to his labour is the golden case. Helping someone whose house burned down by supplying a ready made new house is not, on the strength of the information presented, in any way charity.
D. The state ruins charity. This is much worse than the more recent and less effective (attempted) destruction of the family (note that the state did manage to destroy the clan in most places, even if it took a little over a thousand years of trying), in that absent charity society does not and can not function. Obviously absent a functioning society the state itself is doomed, but this is too far a point for any myopic bureaucracy to ever grasp. Somebody else's problem, as they say.
The means through which the state corrodes charity are, of course, the exact opposites of criteria set forth above. The state works to give currency to the false notions that the "needy", rather than the industrious, are ideal recipients of charity, and that charity should be unconditional (or at the very most conditional upon "facts" rather than action). The state works to give currency to the false notion that receiving charity is somehow shameful or to be avoided (this is a forced mistake, trying to compensate for the ballooning demand created by the foregoing nonsense). The state works to give currency to the false notion that it can administer charity - which it necessarily never can and never could.
The resulting monster of all that misguided nonsense stands ready to swallow us whole. Survival - of state, society and individual people - strongly depends on the (always forced) submission of state to society, rather than any other way around. The best means to accomplish that submission is judiciously, meticulously and perpetually foiling any attempt by the state to sabotage the mechanisms which make society function. Chief among these, in my opinion, is the correct representation and the constant use of charity.———
- This is no small matter. How do you suppose culture got started ? Why do we have myths, why have you heard of Homer, what is the purpose of Hera ? Sure, it is possible that the need to get women to stay put long enough provided the initial impetus, making culture fundamentally art. It's also possible that the inclination to systematisation, the call to abstraction that also created science is the birthpoint of culture. My own suspicion however is that the need to persuade others is where it all began, which makes humanities both older and genetically distinct from either sciences and arts. (Persuasion and charity being, of course, neither distinct nor really distinguishable at the root.) My own suspicion is that culture started on the same trunk as law and is fundamentally to this very day exactly that. [↩]