Some awesome friends of mine sent me Joseph Kony links I don’t reall have time to analyze, however, because its timely, I will share them today. The first link deals with effective altruism – namely, giving to the cause that affects the most people, such as curing malaria, versus the cause you care about most as a result of your emotions, even if numerically it does not affect as many people – such as stopping Joseph Kony.
I will say this: While malaria may kill more than Joseph Kony, it is important, as a matter of principle, for the type of world we want to live in, and as a matter of setting a precedent for the future, to not allow governments or militiar armies, etc., to go around murdering, raping, or robbing people. Yes, there will always be natural causes of mass catastrophe, and we must work hard – mainly through using science – to prevent those as much as possible, but we also must do our best to prevent humans from using power in such a way that they cause mass catastrophes – again, something not completely within our power, but we can set up structures for doing our best, such as international courts to prosecute human rights abusers. Yes, numbers matter – disease kills more than Joseph Kony, and its important to give to un-sexy causes, like fighting dysentery. Sure, that might not be the cause that tugs most at your heart-strings, but true altruism means looking at what needs your help right now, not just who/how you want to help right now. The “not just” is key however – I believe in effective altruism, in giving to the cause most in need, but I also believe in selfish altruism – giving to the cause you care most about – and believe the two are complimentary, not oppositional. I also believe that while there is a heiarchy of donation-worthy causes, the world benefits when all causes on the heiarchy – not just the ones at the top – are taken care of, yet when the ones at the top are taken care of most. This means that even if a certain causes is not at the top of places in need, and does not resonate with me, I won’t give to that cause – but I am glad someone else is giving, and that the cause resonates with them.
Here are the second, third, and fourth links: http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/2012/03/08/unpacking-kony-2012/
Ok, the word “rape cult” makes me uncomfortable. I find it not only demeans, but also simplifies. Is there a way to describe a group that has committed, and continues to commit mass rape, in a way that respects their humanity while condemning the inhumanity of their actions? Are we obligated to respect their humanity? I feel we are, but undersand how others might disagree. I just wanted to raise these two questions that I believe are worth pondering.