Last night during a monthly meetup with a few Howard County friends, I brought up the topic of awareness camapaigns and the values of charity. I’ve always believed in fostering prosperity at home—the USA—instead of throwing money at third world countries “to help develop” them. I have made the distinction between “donation” and “investment” in the past, as well. Sometimes, though, there are moments where true charity is necessary, and the earthquake relief efforts in Haiti is one of them.
We are inundated with awareness campaigns. I don’t think there is one popular color out there that has not been co-opted for a cause, such as the dismal Product (RED) launched by the biggest number two in the world, Bono. We are so aware of every pet issue there is to be had that we don’t know where to send our money. Our money, time and effort are non-renewable resources that must be budgeted. When we donate a dollar to one cause, it’s one less dollar for another cause we like.
Unlike throwing money at the great kelptocracies of Africa or Asia, the situation in Haiti is critical, and if one has been desensitized to the emotional appeals to prosperity guilt we experience everyday, there is a utilitarian and rational reason to helping the victims of the Haiti quake. Matt Stinson tweeted: “Amazed that any Americans would thinking helping Haiti is a bad idea. We help now or we pay later in instability and refugee crises.”
Understand that Haiti shares the island with the Dominican Republic. Discouraging American assistance in Haiti proves a lack of understanding as to what an exodus would wreak upon the neighboring nations. An attempt at pilgrimage into the Dominican Republic will force the Dominicans to face scrutiny while they protect their land and resources, or strain those same resources in assiting refugees. A diaspora into the sea would lead to massive casualties and have them knocking on our doors. At that point, what are we to do?
We have the capacity to help. We also have the capacity to rebuild a nation into something better. There is a rationale, not just a rationalization, to help Haiti, and even from the cold calculus of long-term gain, we avoid a large long-term loss. There is nothing immoral to approaching this issue in a utilitarian fashion, and there’s plenty of deontological immorality associated with not doing anything. It’s up to us to help however we can.
Last night on Twitter, Justin Kownacki said: “God’s rightful role for families is a patriarchy in which women submit to men? Thank god; I’m a shitty listener.” Now, I follow a number of people with whom I disagree, and I have said things that I’m sure are grating to them, so I tend to let things slide unless I have something greater to say. It was a short discussion, as the medium tends to promote, so now I’m blogging about it. Continue reading
I want to believe that through the years, I have mellowed out when it comes to using a broad brush to paint a movement with their most extreme followers. It’s a common practice in punditry but it’s not always that helpful. No one really wants to have to answer for other members of their movement, but we’ve done so anyway. Every once in a while, though, an issue emerges that exposes the really terrible side of people. This week, that issue has been the infamous Roman Polanski. Here are the facts-: thirty-two years ago, when he was forty-four, he gave a thirteen-year-old girl champagne and quaaludes. He then had sex with her in all sorts of ways. He plead guilty to this charge and, fearing a prison sentence, fled our country and has since lived in places where he doesn’t face a risk of extradition. Based on a long-standing warrant, he was arrested by the Swiss police as he attempted to enter their country. There really shouldn’t be any debate on this matter, except it’s Roman Polanski. Continue reading
Having been around for a while in the blogsophere, I thought that nothing would surprise me, until I came across an article about the FTC wanting to regulate bloggers for reviews they write. The shock is in the seemingly-dubious data about how some reviews can run up to thousands of dollars in compensation for a short, 200-word post. James Joyner is skeptical of the data, and comments further, from a libertarian perspective on how this can affect free speech for bloggers. We who tend to write political commentary (though, I, personally, have shied away from it) are very wary of any government attempt to circumvent our right to free expression. Aaron Brazell replies in the comments to Joyner’s post that there is a community of these so-called mommybloggers, and apparently among them there is an epidemic of paid endorsements that lack clear and proper disclosures. To which I say: these hags are really ruining the field for a lot of people.