Tuesday, September 1, 2015

No altruism goes unpunished

Suppose that a semi-wealthy person gets into the habit of helping beggars. These beggars can simply go to that person's home, and get food or even money just like that. Word gets spread around among homeless people about this, and soon enough there's a stream of beggars.

This person then decides that he can't keep doing this anymore, because it's taking too much of his money and time, and the beggars are becoming a nuisance to the neighborhood. So he decides to politely ask the beggars to stop coming.

A very likely outcome of this is, at the very least, protest. At worst it could even go as far as violence.

Even if it's just protest, it's rather inappropriate behavior. It's almost as if when that person started doing charity, and he got known by doing that, now he, somehow, has some kind of duty to keep doing it. If he stops doing it, the beggars will start protesting and even rebelling. If he had never started his charitable work, nobody would care. It's only because he started the charitable work that he is now the target of protest, perhaps even violence. Moreover, none of his neighbors would probably be the target of this; only he is, because he did charity in the past.

There's this very strange psychology in the human mind, that if someone starts being altruistic, that person now somehow is duty-bound to keep doing it, and if he stops, he's somehow being a bad person, or at the very least a person deserving of protest and scorn.

Well, this psychological phenomenon isn't limited to individual people. It goes all the way up to entire nations, and even larger alliances of nations.

Europe is the perfect example. Because Europe has had this charity complex for some time now, it seems that everybody is now demanding Europe to keep doing it, regardless of whether the nations can afford it or not. If some nation doesn't want to keep doing it, it will be the target of protest, scorn and vilification.

Yet we have other nations that are at least as rich as most European countries, like Saudi Arabia, and nobody expects anything from those, because they haven't done any charity in the past. If, for example, Saudi Arabia denies access to refugees, nobody gives a flying fuck. They are the neighbor that never did any charity to begin with, and thus nobody cares about them. Everybody cares only about those who did charity in the past, and would want to stop now. Somehow, if you do charity, it now becomes your moral duty to continue it, by some strange twisted logic.

1 comment:

  1. It's a question of the Christian tradition (if there is one). It can't be switched on and off at will.