Even I don't always agree with my opinion


Charities – Funded by Guilt or Extortion?

Posted March 14, 2009 by jim young in Lifestyle

– jim young

I don’t claim to be the smartest person in the world, but I’d like to believe that I haven’t come this far in life without learning a thing or two along the way.

We all know that to a certain degree, everyone will learn best from his or her own experiences and from making their own mistakes. But let’s not diminish the value of what we have learned from the wealth of education we have had access to from our parents, siblings, relatives, friends, teachers, coworkers, the internet and yes, even television.

The world is a vast schoolroom and we can benefit from the opportunity to learn something new everyday.

One of the many valuable lessons I have learned along the way is something I would like to share with you now as I see many people around me seem to have missed it.

Never be motivated by guilt.

Never be motivated by guilt.
(That’s not a misprint, I just think it is important enough to repeat.)

I know it’s a tough one especially when it involves family.

It can sometimes be difficult to determine if you are re-acting to guilt or selfishness but I think guilt is the more damaging of the two.

And though I still often struggle with it, I have come to terms with my ability to resist (for the most part) reacting to guilt.

What I have not come to terms with is the large number of people who still try to use guilt in an attempt to get me to do things that I simply don’t want to do, even if it is for my own selfish reasons.

And I’ll let you in on a little secret. Once I recognize someone is using guilt to attempt to achieve their ends, I’m as likely as not to deny them the satisfaction regardless of whether or not their proposal was inviting to me.

Typically we might perceive that “mothers, particularly Jewish mothers” are the real masters at using guilt to achieve their ends.

But I’ll tell you who the real masters are and that’s charities and other fund-raising associations.

And who else but me would have the balls to stand up and make such an accusation against all these do-gooders?

I’m not suggesting that these charities and fund-raisers (at least some of them) are not worthy organizations, but does the end always justify the means?

Just look at all the television programs for the starving children in third world countries. Did it ever occur to anyone that there are just as many starving adults? Why aren’t they represented equally? Because more people will feel guilty about a starving child than a starving adult and they are more apt to react to “that” guilt; that’s why.

Of course there are many people – and praise be to them – that will freely send their money in the true sense of charity. These people would be supporting these causes whether or not there was a tax deduction offered. That’s right. These charities are quick to point out the tax benefits because they know that those who are reacting to their guilt want something more back than just the satisfaction of knowing they have done the right thing.

And those contributing out of guilt are also the ones most likely to go out and brag to all their friends about their “selfless” act. Doesn’t the bible teach us that true charity is that which is done quietly? (Matthew 6:1-4)

I don’t object to Boy Scouts selling apples outside the Beer Store or Girls Guides selling cookies at the mall. And I don’t object to small containers at variety and grocery store checkouts that are collecting for everything from “save the whales and rain-forests” to “help find the cure for cancer or the latest disease de jour.” Let both the guilt ridden and the truly charitable donate as they see fit.

But once they cross that line and become aggressive in their cause, I do start to object.

I am comfortable with the charity I offer and no, I’m not about to discuss what exactly those limits are here.

What I do not need, is to have a cashier shove a donation box in my face and ask if I want to make a donation. Nor do I need the cashier to ask if I would like to round up my bill and donate the extra to charity.

I can see their donation boxes. I can read their displayed postings on their “rounding up” policies. I can see the Girl Guides with their cookies and the Boy Scouts with their apples and I don’t need to be approached by them any more than I need to have donation box shoved in my face.

I am not intimidated by these obvious attempts to work on my guilt – especially in public, and as I have stated before, they will not work on me. But they DO work on some people – those that still have not learned to react appropriately at the attempts of others to use guilt to have them reach into their pockets.

And when it comes down to it. Isn’t that pretty damn close to the definition of extortion?

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