We all know that giving to charity is a good idea. You may genuinely care, you may wish to remove some guilt and hope to improve your karma, or perhaps it now seems, you may just want people to you leave alone.
In the last few years there has been a dramatic increase in the call for donations and aid to the extent where frankly it’s time to put a stop to it, and it’s edging dangerously into our personal autonomy. You can’t walk down the street without some overly excited 20-something student come bounding up to you with some poor introduction about why they want to talk, or turn on a TV without being faced with images of starving children or dancing bears that put you off your food or hurt your senses. It’s everywhere and it’s endless.
I appreciate that the idea behind these adverts is to have exactly the effect I’m talking about, and the hope is people will feel bullied, I’m sorry, encouraged into giving, but there comes a line where it has gone too far. In fact, this line is so fundamental and important, it’s governed by law.
The law states the no man (or woman) will be guilty for an omission, save for special circumstances. These circumstances include relationships of responsibilities such as parent and child and similar alternatives, but on the whole, not TV-viewer and charity organisation. On face value it seems a cruel rule, and very anti-social – to have no legal duty to help your neighbours and friends – but the reasoning behind it is understandable. It’s a floodgates problem. You make someone liable for one person and without a logical reasoning for why it is just that one person, suddenly they are liable to everyone in the world. Where is the line to be drawn?
The law does not feel there is a need to make a legal obligation, regardless to the fact it would be near practically impossible, because society works well when we feel morally obligated. We help our friends and neighbours because we can and it’s a nice thing to do, but somewhere along the line the charities started taking advantage of this. The activity of those high street volunteers we all try desperately to not make eye contact with has been called ‘chugging’ – charity mugging. It has now gone too far and started to step into our personal living.
The worse thing about it all is that the charities that are trying to get us to give money are going about it the wrong way. The people of Britain do give donations, billions in fact. The problem is not that we aren’t giving; it’s where it’s going. Some years more money is going to animal charities than to children organisations. Perhaps this should be addressed and a solution found here, instead of simply asking for more money.
My issue is not charities asking for money, or even necessarily the guilt trip that I’ve failed to avoid, even though I donate each month myself to Cancer Research and volunteer in a help centre each week. My problem is that when you have seen the same advert so much you change channels, or when you purposely take a different route to college to avoid being harassed by people asking you to give them you card details, it’s gone too far and the situation needs to be evaluated and reigned in.
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