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SENTRY JOURNAL » Uncategorized » Selfish Blessings and Self-Serving Curses

Selfish Blessings and Self-Serving Curses

LexTran, Lexington’s public transportation agency, recently purchased 7 “green busses” at more than $500k a pop.  The diesel bus costs $200k less than the hybrid jolly green giants.  Of course, the hybrid engines aren’t cheaper in the long run because they cost so much up front and also because the maintenance on them is more expensive than the diesel engines.  It’s also worth noting that the diesel engines also meet the silly Clean Air Act standards, so the emissions aren’t a cause for concern.  Why then did we spend the extra money on the hybrid bus?

Well, Lexington got the busses from one of Republican Mitch McConnell’s earmarks.  When the local papers covered the story, there was nothing but praise for the Senator and the transportation department.  The quieter, lower-emissions bus showed that McConnell is environmentally friendly and able to deliver for his state…

It reminds me of my friend Pat.  He lived out in Portland, Oregon for a while where it is common for people to think hippies are on a level mental playing field with the gods.  Still, yuppies are able produce beautiful women, one of which caught Pat’s eye.  Knowing little about her he decided (after a few shoves from me) to ask her out.  Their first date was of her choosing and it turned out to be an environmentalism fair of sorts.  There were all kinds of booths with petitions, information, and unclean bodies.  Pat, in his wisdom, decided that this place was a little crazy for him, so he signed three petitions and donated money to some random fund that he didn’t believe in.  Why?  Because the evening was young.

We love to pretend to care about all kinds of things we really don’t care about.  We go out of our way to convince others and even ourselves that we are genuinely concerned about whales, trees, homeless, starving children, etc.  In the end, very few of us actually care about the causes, but we surely care about ourselves.  Our hearts break when we see kids in Africa so weak and hungry that they don’t make an effort to fight off the flies, but our burden is quickly relinquished with the click of the remote.  We all cared immensely about Haiti after their devastating disaster, but only as long as it lingered in our lives on our televisions and newspapers.  Their suffering continued, but it was no longer news worthy and eventually it faded along with our concerns.  Why?  Because there wasn’t anything else for us to gain from it. 

That’s right, I said it.  Even people who gave to the Haitian victims were doing it for themselves.  Sure, not all of them, but many of them.  We all do it.  Every year major league sports figures pay thousands of dollars to buy pink shoes, pink bats, gloves, headbands, glasses, etc. in order to “raise awareness” about breast cancer.  Truly though, isn’t this more about raising awareness about their compassion?  How can you not applaud someone for “standing” for such a cause?  How can you not esteem someone driving a Prius?  Who would dare question someone’s conscience that insists on their tuna being dolphin safe?

I’m not looking down my nose at you though…I’m looking eye to eye.  I too am guilty of giving in order to make myself look better and frankly, that’s not always bad.  The needful recipient of those funds doesn’t care if you actually sympathize; they care about your help.  In fact, I would argue that greed is a Jekyll and Hyde type of monster.  Avariciousness, the excessive desire to possess more than you need often ends with a person having extra.  That extra can be used to help causes and others that need the help.  If everyone had the bare necessities and nothing more, who would help the needy?  No philanthropy sits on the shoulders of the have-nots. 

So, I don’t care if you hate children and only gave to a pediatric hospital in order to get that tennis club invitation you’ve been wanting.  That’s your conscience and your call.  I’m sure the kids were thankful.  Where I have a problem is when people do it with MY MONEY!  You see, I’m not into making someone else look good with my charitable donations.  Call me crazy, but that is just a bad investment. Still, politicians are getting away with it all the time.  What’s worse is that they sell it in a way that is supposed to make us feel good about ourselves.  Well I don’t, I just feel duped.  If Senator McConnell wants to get the proverbial green monkey off of his back, then go out and donate a fleet of Chevy Volts to the Sierra Club for all I care – but do it with your own money.


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  • Steve Dennis July 25, 2011 at 5:10 AM

    Exactly! It is so easy for politicians to be “charitible” with other people’s money, they don’t actually feel the sting of losing it because it is kind of like play money to them.
    Steve Dennis recently posted..Was the United States government selling military grade weapons to the Zetas?My Profile

  • Jim at Conservatives on Fire July 25, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    Voluntary charity is, I agree, usually a egotistical act. I have no problem with that. Government forced charity is a crime. The politicians get to pat themselves on the back and snicker at the thought that they just bought themselves some votes with money they robbed from you and me. The recipient is happy, the politicians are happy and the bureaucrats that are paid to implement the program are very, very happy. We are always the losers.
    Jim at Conservatives on Fire recently posted..Cut and Cap, Yes! Balance, No!My Profile

  • Harrison July 25, 2011 at 5:21 PM

    The main question I have is whether your friend Pat made any progress with the lady.
    Harrison recently posted..Making It to 27 (But No Further)My Profile

  • Trestin July 26, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    You make some great points about human motivation. When I was in Africa, I was far more concerned about the corruption happening there. I still am, but like you said, it’s not in my face, so, I don’t think about it much.
    Trestin recently posted..I Don’t Care!!!My Profile