It seems these days I’m often pissing off friends and family for suggesting something that, frankly, is pretty obvious. Most of what passes as “doing good” these days are activities that make the feel-gooders feel good about themselves, their community, and life in general (that’s fine of course), but don’t do much to make the world a better place. It’s fine to engage in things that you enjoy that do not contribute to the greater good, but it is very important to recognize the difference, and not to conflate feel-good stuff with actual do-good stuff.
Real good comes in many forms, and thank goodness their are a LOT of people doing real good all around us. Friends and neighbors working and volunteering in health care, teaching, law enforcement, and hundreds of other public service jobs, NGOs building schools all over, Church groups teaching, etc, etc. Many of the folks doing that stuff are heroic, braving all kinds of bad conditions to bring health care, education, food, and good will to those who need it most.
But without even pointing out those obvious ‘feel good’ activities I’m going to hope we make better progress than we seem to be *re-defining* what it means to “do good”.
Those of us in the middle and up classes here in the USA enjoy historically unprecedented standards of living, and even those on welfare here in the USA live well by any reasonable global standards. Bringing this higher *standard of living* to the small numbers in the US and the huge numbers in other countries who do not benefit from our system is the greatest moral challenge of our time, yet I can’t help but think that the many “feel gooders” (and even worse – the political spenders on both sides of the political aisle) are distracting us and redirecting resources very inefficiently to projects that will have little significant positive impact.
As always, hoping folks chime in with their views about this, and for what it’s worse I’d agree that blogging is probably NOT an example of doing much if any good! Maybe I’m my own best example of the problem?