We all have things we care about. We all know of needs we want to help fill. Likely, we all get frustrated because we just don’t have the resources to do all we want to do.
May I suggest that, if you’re reading this, you would care about the following things, and if more people would focus their charitable donations on these, a great difference for the better could be made.
I’ll propose what I find to be the needs that are the most worthy in the realms of politics, religion & literacy, and living well.
In politics, we live in an era where perhaps the greatest political need has arisen from the emergence of a new Puritan class of righteous elites, who set our cultural guidelines and persecute those who dare dissent. This is a time of stifling conformity, paired with punishment for any who refuse to worship at the right altar.
Free speech is dying.
You might suggest that the physical threat of terrorism, or the more domestic threat of unsustainable debt, for example, are more dangerous than the almost existential desire for free speech.
You would be wrong. While other issues have massive consequences which can be seen easily, the cowing of individuals portends even more damage in the long run.
There was recently an event called World AIDS Day, which generated a lot of hand wringing and clichéd calls for “awareness” in the media. News items I saw particularly seemed to focus on demands for more money spent on research and treatment.
But AIDS already garners far more funding than it proportionally deserves. Political fashion makes it cool to support AIDS issues, but political fashion really shouldn’t be the source of decisions about medical resources.
Shouldn’t we find those maladies that do the most harm to the greatest number of the most innocent sufferers and help them first and foremost? Certainly, AIDS is awful and should be cured, but the fact is that the vast majority of cases of AIDS are the result of conscious, avoidable choices made by adults, and that excellent treatment options are available. (Remember in the early 90s when we all thought Magic Johnson would be dead soon? He’s still alive and well.) Yes, the growing epidemics in Africa are sad and charity should reach out to them, but that’s not the same as our situation in the US, where AIDS has simply never reached the catastrophic rates we expected it would in the 80s.
Rather, by my formula above–“those maladies that do the most harm to the greatest number of the most innocent sufferers”–it seems obvious that there should be a wide societal agreement that our time and money should be spent curing childhood cancer. We should focus on that and snowball our resources. Of course people should be free to support what they want, or nothing at all, but I can’t imagine anyone making a good argument that any other condition does more serious harm, with less effective current treatments, to more innocent victims than the varieties of childhood cancer that do ravage too many young people in America. Naturally, helping childhood cancer sufferers would also help the many, many adults who suffer, also.
A dollar spent on AIDS due to political fashion is a dollar that cannot be spent on cancer research. That’s heart breaking.
Lately I’ve seen in the news that several schools around the country are banning those rubber bracelets that say “I love boobies.” They’re meant to raise awareness of breast cancer and raise funds for research. Opponents say that the wording of the catch phrase is crude and sexual; supporters say that it’s cute and helps promote a serious issue.
I can see the argument for the supporters very clearly; these bracelets are popular among everybody–men and women, boys and girls. However, I do have to wonder if there’s something of a sexual double standard involved here.
After all, if everyone wearing these bracelets deeply cares about breast health and cancer research, then, presumably, they would be just as concerned about the equivalent epidemic among men–prostate cancer. And if so, would everyone wearing an “I love boobies” bracelet be willing to also wear, on the other wrist, a bracelet that says, “I love weenies?” And if not, why not?