This week’s topic is a little taboo and very politically incorrect. A lot of people believe what I’m about to say, but few will say it publicly for fear they will be labeled a pompous, greedy ass. Well, I’m willing to take that risk.
My daughter’s friend was invited as a VIP to attend a fundraiser concert to help fight AIDS in Africa recently. She was excited because her favorite band was one of the acts and, as a VIP, her friend got to meet them, take pictures, and ask questions. And that’s all fine and well, except that the whole concept of helping to fight AIDS in Africa is bogus. It’s a waste of time, money, and effort.
That being said, if you want to donate to a hopeless cause because it makes you feel better, go ahead. If you want to give some of your hard earned money or valuable time to help the starving children in Africa because you believe you’re making a difference, that’s your right. But understand something; you’re not making a difference, at least not a lasting one.
You know those supposedly heart-wrenching commercials showing a poor little girl wandering through a filthy dirt street in an African village while the narrator reminds us all that for just a dollar a day, she could actually attend school and eat better? Well, the guy in those commercials actually makes me shake my head. Who does he think he's scamming? Sure, I feel a bit of sympathy for the poor little girl, but I realize that there is a limit to people’s ability to care. And, more importantly, there is a limit to what we can accomplish in Africa, or in any third-world region. Those kids were born victims and there's no need to bang our heads against the wall over it.
Americans have a very high standard of living, as do most people in Western Europe and Japan. To maintain that standard of living, the U.S. uses more than a quarter of the resources available to the world. A little quick math will tell anyone that the third-world nations, like those in parts of Africa, can never hope to maintain a standard of living similar to what we enjoy. There simply are not enough resources to go around.
So, should we suck it up and lower our standard of living so that third-worlders can have it better? How much should we sacrifice in order to make sure poor African kids get to eat three squares a day? My answer is, we should not sacrifice much if anything. I agree that consumers in America waste far too much. For the sake of our natural resources, we should find ways to stop wasting.
But mostly, we should stop wasting in order to preserve our high standard of living into the future, not so we can give it away to people who, ok I’ll say it, don’t really matter. Who am I to say who matters and who doesn’t? I’m not talking about their souls, if indeed we actually have souls. I’m talking about their productivity. If we feed a starving family in Africa for a week, they get to live for a week longer. But what have they given back to the world? Nothing except their miserable existence.
Those of us who are fortunate enough to live in a modern nation with lots of resources are not so much lucky as we are resourceful. We have a high standard of living because we got our act together. We earned it. We can share if we want, but it won’t do any lasting good until those we are sharing it with learn how to make their own living.
In some African nations, the problem is constant regime changes and military dictatorships. There is eternal fighting for power with endless coup attempts and genocide. No matter how much we try to help the people, their leaders-du-jour will never allow any of them to be productive.
Other parts of Africa are hindered from being useful due to climate conditions. The people live in constant drought conditions where crops won’t grow. Maybe it never occurred to them to move elsewhere.
The fact remains, in a world of limited resources, not every country can have a high standard of living. So those countries who earned it first get to live well at the expense of those who never got their acts together.
The bottom line is, America has a high standard of living because of the hard work and ingenuity of those who built this country. That work ethic continues for most of us today. And, we are lucky enough to have a lot of natural resources and a decent climate. We shouldn’t feel guilty about what we have; we mostly earned it.
There have been societies in Africa a lot longer than European settlers have been in America. Africans have had every opportunity to become modern, thriving nations. It obviously isn’t in them to make it happen. So I don’t feel any obligation to help them out.
The AIDS epidemic in Africa is a condition of its own making. But it has not been helped by the unbelievably brainless advice from the pope who said that condoms only make the problem worse. I mean, who left this guy in charge of doling out advice on reproductive health? They say he is spiritually infallible and that he gets his marching orders directly from God, but would Jesus have made his home in such a palatial residence? I don’t think so. Popes do nothing but harm and bring nothing but confusion to the Catholics who believe in them. The current pope would do the world more justice by sitting on this holy thrown and playing Tiddly Winks all day and keeping his holy mouth shut.
But the pope aside, most of the poor African nations are going to remain poor, no matter what we do. Their citizens are leeches. And no matter how much empathy or sympathy you may have for them, you can’t help, at least not in the long run. The more we give to third-worlders, the less we have here. And there are plenty of people here in America who need help through no fault of their own. If we help them, they will eventually become productive. If we help those in Africa, they will eventually become dependent.
Let’s keep our money and our charitable contributions at home where it will do the most good. Let the Africans fend for themselves. And with all due respect to Dickens, if they be apt to die, let them do so and decrease the surplus population. Whether we want to admit it or not, the human species is still under the control of natural selection, and the fittest will survive.