Saturday, August 7, 2010

Charity Case.

Yesterday I was in the lunchroom at work when I heard people discussing The Billionaires Club's pledge to donate at least 50% of their wealth.  I bit my tongue when one of them said knowingly "Yeah, but who are they going to give it to?". But when someone else said "It's probably a tax write-off.", I had to retort "Who cares?!"

What are you doing to make the world a better place?  The way I see it, you have four options - most of them not mutually exclusive - action, donation, conscription and shutting the fuck up.

I personally respect the first option the most but am way too lazy to volunteer my free time.  At this point in my life, I prefer donation by automatic payment.  It requires no effort, is easy to budget for & the government will refund a third of it if you tell them to.  The third option (which I guess is what I'm exercising right now) definitely has its merits but should really be done sparingly and you better be exercising the first and/or second option as well.

As I said in a previous post, I prefer people who just do & don't harp on about it.  But the point that I am trying to make is that if you aren't doing anything to help then don't go hating on people who are and questioning their motives.  And spare us all the reasons you justify not doing anything.  That's your choice, your decision, so own it.  I'm always hearing people rationalise their selfishness.  Forever harping on about how ineffective a lot of charity organizations are.  How dodgy some of them are.  How your donation just goes to administration.  How just throwing money at a problem won't fix it.  

Of course mere charity is not the answer to the world's problems.  But effective solutions require funding.  (And they require organisation which requires admin.)

I know that it can all seem hopeless.  But the answer is not to stick your head in the sand, or up your ass.  One step at a time is the answer to most things.  And if your resources are limited, then by all means carefully plan that next step.  Prioritize.  It's not all or nothing.  No-one who is reading this cannot afford one $25 monthly AP.  What issue is the most burning to you?  A disturbing number of my friends seem to only give a shit about animals but that is their right.  You can't save the world but you can be a small part of the solution.  Write a letter.  Collect for a charity once a year.  Donate shit you don't need to a refugee organisation.  Donate in your will.  Volunteer for the SPCA.  Sign email petitions.  Recycle and plant a fucking tree.  Whatever.  Anything.

If you care only about yourself and your loved ones, that is also your right.  If you honestly hold the belief that we are all where we are on our own merits & that others are worse off because they are just not trying hard enough, then obviously you are an ignorant self-entitled jackass.  But you are only following your convictions and I respect that a whole lot more than those who have a whole arsenal of reasons why they have chosen a fifth option.  Who have convinced themselves they do care despite all evidence to the contrary.

1 comment:

  1. I am aware of the seeming inconsistency between this post and my last but the point I was making was that I feel like celebrities are often jumping on the bandwagon. Selling your underwear on eBay or choosing a charity so you can be on Dancing With The Stars come across to me at least as often quite insincere. And if they are not really doing anything or donating their own money, not only is it hypocritical but may actually be counter-productive insofar as trying to influence other people.