Monday, September 12, 2005

Mind Your Own Philanthropy

In the aftermath of Katrina, as after any disaster, there are plenty of people who devote their own time and energies to helping the survivors. Every little bit does help, often times regardless of the helper's sincerity. For a family who has lost everything, a meal is ultimately a meal whether it is cooked by the Red Cross, an altruistic samaritan, or a celebrity looking for some extra exposure.[1] Some people, however, are not content with their own efforts but feel the need to convert others. I'm not a big fan of these people.

I recently saw a posting on an internet forum wondering why people in Santa Barbara weren't making more posts on this forum and banding together to help the survivors of Katrina. That's all well and good except the poster forgot a few things:
1) Not many people read the forum he posted on. It follows that even for people who have looked at this forum as a way to communicate, they probably would have (and should have) decided that it was not an effective method to get the message across.
2) People who are helping are busy doing that, helping, not reading on the 'net.
3) What is the poster doing posting these exhortations instead of actually doing something?

After so many tragedies, there are people who talk, complain, analyze but ultimately do nothing. Not only that, they blindly try to impose their own vague sense of right and wrong on others around them. It's not a terribly far cry from blindly evangelical religious fanatics and their often times narrow minded deeds. Trying to get others to rally around a cause is understandable but beating them with your own moral tonfa is not acceptable to me.

No comments: