For once, everybody agrees on that. The other part of the problem
is open rifts on principles and methods which were once assumed
to be common ground. To quote from my essay "Black
Elk Speaks", we are fighting over the bail bucket while
the boat sinks.
Of those of us willing to help out, financial donations are the
most common, and often the best way, to actually begin doing something
to support causes we believe in. The very churches which have been
most active in trying to suppress human rights in this country have
been very successful in this regard. It seems odd that so many who
harbor so much contempt for false prophets and hatemongers do so
little to combat it.
On a more personal scale, consider community service as a volunteer
for any one of the many underfunded, understaffed local organizations
which work to improve the human condition.
|From personal experience, I would highly recommend picking
a community organization in which you feel least comfortable
or believe you have the least to offer. There you will find
greater personal rewards.
For example, if your real interest is
in second amendment gun rights or in tax breaks for investors, consider
spending at least one evening a week volunteering for a service
club for disadvantaged youth, or for an AIDS hospice.
If you are a gay person, yes, there is
a rich cultural and ethnic diversity in gay service organizations,
but if you have never served outside the gay community, consider
volunteer service for a veterans hospital, halfway house, or seniors
The idea is to break you loose, whoever you are, of the odd notion
that you are alone, that your needs and interests are unique.
The ancient Greek solons talked of working toward a society in
which every man was a philosopher, every man his own educator. Theirs
was a world in which the barbarians really were at the door, women
had no particular place or standing in society outwide the home,
and the Greek warrior-statesmen themselves were out subjugating
the known world because they felt like it.
Today, the idea of an informed
citizenry, using increased leisure time to explore the tandem worlds
of physical exploration and intellectual discovery, is somewhat
of a bad joke.
To talk of education and inquiry as a salvation tool for the liberation
of mankind from tyrannical servitude and the bondage of subsistence
survival, is to risk being branded a crackpot. We live in a predominantly
Beavis and Butthead culture.
But that should not stop you from making informed, independent
decisions. If you can demonstrate to yourself that persecution of
others is not only wrong but self-destructive, do not practice tolerance
for those who preach or act against the principle which supports
your personal freedoms.
Of all of the things one can do to promote freedom in "an
unfree world" (as author Harry Brown once put it), charity
isn't the only or even the primary virtue that begins at home. Live
a good life, set a good example for others, and do the best you
can. For most of us, that is more than enough to gradually turn
the tide of ignorance.
|Don't sell out for hiring the government to do our thinking
and regulate our social interchange for us, but do be considerate
and supportive of others' quest for equal recognition before
the law. Not only is this part of good citizenship, it's a sound
preservation tactic -- not only for you and yours, but for the
nation founded on those principles.