David Hogg (the “Harvard” one) wrote a particularly moralistic tweet yesterday, “There’s a special place in Hell for the people that have the power to help millions but choose instead to help only themselves.” There was another tweet about the unprecedented hunger of millions (though from the lockdowns, which he doesn’t mention), and a couple other tweets that the “military industrial complex” has enough wealth to offer free this and that. TheRealFranGSF responds “Every American should have mandatory public service experience or in college curriculum. Everyone needs a hand sometime in their lives. What goes around comes around. People helping people. That’s how it works.” Another response to that tweet mentioned the military draft (my pet subject, from DADT 1). Remember the Selective Service System doesn’t’ recognize non-binary.
But “the RealDavidHogg” near Charlotte NC, now 19, an
undergraduate at UNC and grocery store worker, organizes food deliveries to
incapacitated seniors in his neighborhood, and says he is a
“conservative”. He does the values, not preach them. He even sponsored an essay-writing and food delivery project on kindness. Actually, the liberal and conservative David Hogg’s (about the same ages) are more alike than they think. I personally don’t like to run these kinds of things (publicly on social media) myself (I talked about this issue Nov. 26).
We come back to my situation. I am 77. I participate in the political process with my own citizen journalism which is self-funded (and that’s controversial – because, other than voting, I don’t join with others in political participation much, except loosely with some others on the more-or-less libertarian “right”). I don’t volunteer at all right, although I did until 2017. In 2016, while still in a big (inherited) house I considered sheltering an asylum seeker, and it got worse under Trump. I would up selling the house as the clock ran out.
I notice that a lot of pundits online on social media (including some rather precocious teenagers) do what they normally would do (and social distancing hasn’t been a problem because they can do videos and blogs alone – and virtual learning – and sometimes teaching – isn’t a problem). That goes for me.
My own donations activity is relatively narrow and related to issues I have been personally involved in, not to what a social media company wants me to do for “social credit worthiness”.
But I also realize that external events can create needs so compelling that people should not ethically ignore them. We could very well look at this as wartime. We talk about natural rights, but you don’t have a natural right to be born into more fortunate circumstances or to avoid natural disaster events that affect all (although personal behavior over a very long time affects nature – climate change and possibly the course of pandemics). In fact, it’s stepping up to unusual demands when they come up are kind of a “final exam” on one’s character.
You could step up by working mainly alone. Indeed, I fear that Biden’s talk of a crackdown on the web (Section 230) and his dismissive attitude toward user generated content could preclude the next teen’s coronavirus – or climate change – tracker from even being deployed at all. As I noted yesterday, the Left wants to see people working inside recognizable groups getting visible results for other people.
But is sounds more convincing to volunteer in person at something, consistently, even if that means movement and being around people. For seniors (especially those with some means) there is a bit of a moral paradox. Yes, staying home and avoiding all contact with people indoors is possible for some of us like me, but it also seems evasive, letting others take more of the risk, after I have already led some life of unreturned “privilege”. That even gets into the issue of being open to bonding with people in a way that requires complementarity that I usually avoid (although this is getting into another subject).
“Merely” getting vaccinated, if that can happen soon, can change a lot. This all sounds like "social credit", which the Left buries with "critical theory".
But until then, for someone with my karma, the pandemic can create many problematic situations besides actual illness. It can destroy my own personal agency first.