Stephen King: Scaring You to Action

America's self-dubbed 'scary guy' offers his ideas for improving the world and ourselves.

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Of all the power which will shortly come into your hands--gradually at first, but then with a speed that will take your breath away--the greatest is undoubtedly the power of compassion, the ability to give. We have enormous resources in this country--resources you yourselves will soon command--but they are only yours on loan. Only yours to give for a short while. You'll die broke. In the end, it's the blink of an eye. I came here to talk about charity, and I want you to think about it on a large scale.

We have enormous resources in this country, but they are only yours on loan. You'll die broke.

Should you give away what you have? Of course you should. I want you to consider making your lives one long gift to others, and why not? All you have is on loan, anyway. All you want to get at the getting place, from the Maserati you may dream about to the retirement fund some broker will try to sell you on, none of that is real. All that lasts is what you pass on. The rest is smoke and mirrors.

Here's another scary thing to think about before you leave here. Imagine a nice little backyard, surrounded by a board fence. Dad--a pleasant fellow, a little plump, wearing an apron that says YOU MAY KISS THE COOK--is tending the barbecue. Mom and the kids are setting the picnic table by the backyard pool: fried chicken, cole slaw, potato salad, a chocolate cake for dessert. And standing around that fence, looking in, are emaciated men and women, starving children. They are silent. They only watch.

Stephen King's Favorite Charities


That family at the picnic is us, ladies and gentlemen; that backyard is America; and those hungry people on the other side of the fence, watching us sit down to eat, include far too much of the rest of the world. Am I overstating? Well, America contains 5% of the world's population and uses up 75% of the world's resources, so you tell me. What we scrape down the kitchen disposal after Thanksgiving dinner for a family of eight would feed a Liberian village for a week, so you tell me.

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