The Charity Illustration

I need to set the stage for some reflections, so in this post I’m going to tell a little story. Today, I’ll submit the story without comment, you can draw your own conclusions if you like. Then, in the next few posts, I can elaborate on details, draw connections, that sort of thing.

So here we go.

Picture a charity. Perhaps it’s one you particularly support, if not, then perhaps you might agree that it’s a worthy cause, even if you don’t personally contribute.

All well and good so far.

Now picture that you’re forced to contribute. As in, there is the very real likelihood of your being captured and imprisoned, potentially even killed, if you refuse to contribute. Well, it’s a good cause and you can afford a small contribution.

Picture your friend, who may or may not share the same values as you, but they particularly dislike this charity. You might be ok with them being forced at gunpoint to contribute to this charity, in a similar manner to yourself, because you think you know better than they do that it’s a good cause. (Don’t be that person.)

After a while, you’ve gotten used to the gunpoint thing, and are used to the status quo. But then clouds threaten your sunny little sky. Some of the money that is advertised as going to the charity, is being skimmed off and used for other things. The charity is outclassed in efficiency and effectiveness by competitors. The charity is involved in some dubious conduct, that you really don’t want to support. A bunch of other charities have been added to the list of things you’re forced to contribute to.

But now, here’s the catch. You’re stuck contributing to the charity, even though it’s fallen in your estimation. You could contribute to the competitor, but not withdraw your support of the initial one. And everyone else you know is so adjusted to the status quo, if you try to question the functioning of the charity, voice any concerns, say there are better alternatives, you’re shouted down, called names, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN, and so on.

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