I know it’s the end of the tax year, so I shouldn’t be perturbed about the flood of emails begging for donations and claiming sponsors have promised matching donation.
At the very least, I get annoyed at the pimping of need and causes to me. Very often, an activist site, often for a narrow issue, and often polarized on either the far Left or far Right, and very tribal in tone, will push big donate buttons on their websites and emails or Facebook posts, and claim some calamity will surely fall to their constituents, who are supposed to include me, if not enough people give.
I often hear claims about deadlines and funds remaining to be raised.
And I often see pleas of extreme personal need.
I get especially annoyed at the false personalization of emails, addressed to me by name when I know they are spammed. And some groups want to borrow my websites as a platform for their own fundraisers. Besides from obvious branding questions, it appears I don’t “belong” to anyone, do I.
So I must sound like Scrooge, when too many parties claim to represent their own Tiny Tim.
Or maybe I sound like John Paul Getty, who reasons if you give in to one unreasonable demand, you invite them all.
There are a few “offenders” who stand out. On the network neutrality issue, one activist organization seems to want to represent all Internet speakers. I digress enough here to admit that there is a legitimate question of how far the government needs to regulate a “quasi-utility” just as it has to regulate financial institutions.
In the LGBTQ world, activists often go out of their way to make “oppressed groups” through intersectionality of sub-populations. Indeed, most of the actions of the Trump administration that sound anti-gay sounds like attempts to stop the recognition of group oppression (although I agree with the activists that Trump was very wrong on the transgender military issue, especially the way he handled it; and he was very wrong with some aspects of his travel bans).
I’ll also add that I noticed a tweet from a good friend in the media, who noted a charity helping Syrian refugees with war injuries, who said he had donated and that “you should to.” My immediate reaction is, no one should tell me what my own charitable priorities should be. (It’s just not good to tell people “You should (or shouldn’t) do that.” I remember that from my William and Mary days. Judge not that ye be judged.) But I looked into this charity, and could not find a mailing address (which would allow me to use my trust to set them up as a recipient for automated donations through a bank – even if Wells Fargo is far from perfect in its own ethics). I contacted them, and they directed me to their FAQ. It seems like they want you to use their portal, their way. They seem to want the special attention.
Of course, I know the ropes; going through channels could take chunks out of donations. In other cases, it could deny telemarketers or fund raisers their cuts, a chance to make a living. I used to call for the Minnesota Orchestra, and later the National Symphony, myself.
So here I am, in my own ivory tower. I generally “assess” people as individuals acting on their own, not as members of this-or-that group first. I’ve covered by own ideas of subsumed individual morality (my “DADT IV” sequence from early 2016) here before.
Look at what I did for twenty years: although I was initially motivated by “gays in the military” as the issue evolved under Clinton in the 1990s, I developed a way of covering “all” the issues bearing on individual liberty, balanced against “common good”, and connecting the dots and building a topology among them. With purely passive strategy of letting people find my material, I managed to become effective in influencing debate (I think I have been so with the EMP issue lately), but I don’t “help” people in reaching out to them according to specific narrow adaptive needs. I go against the grain of how things are usually done in a free, capitalist society.
Maybe I have to accept the way the game is played. Most people running small businesses and charities expect others to be sociable enough to respond to solicitations and manipulations at some point. Most people have enough responsibility for others that they have to take more risks than I do and have to accept more annoyance from others than I will. So should I “get over it”?
Indeed, in some of the sales jobs I did try, the advice was always to manipulate people and create urgency for them, but make them pay attention to something not already a priority for them.
That certainly sounds like the tone of “Blogtyrant’s” recommendations, which seem directed at reasoning “the proles” in the real world, not the “high and mighty”, or even the “shy and mighty”.
Indeed, the Russian campaign of disinformation and divisioning of the American people though social media bots may have been predicated on the idea that “elites” (like me) wouldn’t care what “the proles” thought and wouldn’t notice that “average Joe’s” really would let hucksters become their “voice” (aka Trump).
All this said, I have to admit that history shows us that, very often, individuals do find themselves “oppressed” only because of a particular group membership. I tend to think of joining a cause as a personal cop-out, trading the authority of one power for that of a newer revolutionary one, which will still demand my obedience. But I don’t know how this would work if my “soul” had mapped to a black slave in the US in 1861, or to a Jew in Germany in the 1930s. I would have been the first exterminated, with no future at all for my own sensibilities in this universe. Sometimes, you have to fit in if you want to live.
(Posted: Saturday, December 30, 2017 at 11 PM EST)