“My Cause is Better than Your Cause” Syndrome

This is something I see and hear a lot of, and it really bothers me. Some issue or cause comes up, and someone or some group is trying to do some good, and inevitably someone pipes up with the suggestion or condemnation that “cause X” is less worthy than some other cause and that those who help out should be helping with something else.

Sometimes it is a thoughtful suggestion that I can sympathize and generally agree with. For instance, Americans probably should help starving and underprivileged kids in the U.S. before devoting their resources to other countries. For that matter, I personally believe that it’s best to start with your own family and friends, then branch out to your local community, and so on.

But, that’s just how I feel and how I choose to do things. I don’t pass judgment on people who choose to do something, anything, out of kindness. I do feel that my opinion and choices matter when it comes to what the government does with my money, but that’s a different subject.

In other instances it is more arrogant and insulting. Yes, there are people who will say that if you support animal welfare projects you are a piece of shit because no one should do anything for animals until all humans have been helped. Or, the people who think you should divert your donations to organizations that “help the environment” or work for world peace, or whatever. There are even people who believe that other individuals should only be allowed to give to certain causes.

That’s where I lose it.

We could argue all day long about which causes “should” be the priority, but the reality is that people give the most and give the best to the causes that move them and speak to them personally. We should be glad when anyone wants to do anything good and helpful. Trying to dictate to what and why a person chooses to give of themselves, and condemning them for their choices, only discourages people from doing anything good at all.

So, here’s my point (or one of them, anyway). When you do something that other people say you should do, or that you merely feel obligated to do, it’s usually half-assed. When you do something you are passionate about, it’s full-on and effective. And, you feel better about it. It’s actually rewarding and that trickles down to your personal goodness and how you treat those around you.

I would rather see people being passionate and effective in causes that don’t mean much, or anything, to me than a bunch of mediocre, ineffective crap going to the things I find most important.

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