This ALS challenge says more about people’s desire to be seen to be doing the right thing. Most of those I know who I’ve watched on Facebook subject themselves to the chilly dousing will also put their hands in their pockets for what they feel is a worthy cause. Fair play to them.
However, my concern’s for the peer pressure activities such as these place upon individuals. So far I haven’t been challenged; and being the moody git I am nobody will take the chance. Though that’s not the issue.
There are several reasons I don’t subscribe to actions such as the ALS Challenge. The first I’ve mentioned; that is, the faddish nature of such actions has a knock-on effect where individuals feel compelled, coerced even, to participate. Which isn’t the idea of charity.
All too often, and this is borne out with this challenge, people aren’t actually donating any money but treating it as either a social challenge or being nudged into taking part so as not to feel ‘left out’; or different.
But Brother McGovern, you plead, it’s for charity. CHARIDEEEEEEEEEEEE! Well my answer is…NO IT’S NOT! Charity has nothing to do with the exploitation of people’s consciences. That’s not charity; no that’s trying to impose your values on others.
Charity isn’t about people carrying out acts of kindness and asking for recognition. Or corporations presenting outsized 2 meter long cheques on prime-time TV to worthy causes. Corporations who then enter charitable covenants for tax relief, such is their sense of giving.
This is the point I’m making. Charity is not just about giving. No real acts of charity are unconditional. The reward for the act is the act itself.
Finally, as a Socialist I firmly believe that the state should be responsible for health, welfare, education, social security as well as areas such general protection of citizenry. Research, whether for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or as more familiarly known to us in the UK, motor neurone disease, as with cancer, or heart disease, or Alzheimer’s should be carried out through government funding, not left to the caprice of social or mainstream media.