"Oh, she thinks I'm too critical. That's another fault of hers."
- Lucille, the mother in TV show Arrested Development
The hands-down winner in any face-off of down-putters, Lucille is not a role model but a reflection of many real people. She is an in-your-face version of the kind of people many of us work with or associate with in some other capacity.
But is she (are they) all bad, all wrong? Offensive maybe, hard to get along with, but at least they care about something enough to speak up.
At the other end of the scale we have the apathetes (a noun I invented to portray those who pursue apathy with the vigour that athletes apply to their endeavours). They don't criticize others much simply because they don't care about anything or anybody that does not immediately affect their lives.
They claim they prefer to avoid trouble by staying out of other people's business. As it happens, the business that the other people have often should be interfered with because it's morally wrong, unethical and may even be illegal. Neighbours of marijuana grow-op houses, for example, often say they suspected that something was wrong but didn't say anything until the police came to shut it down.
Itâ€™s not trouble the apathetes want to stay out of but commitment. By excusing themselves from getting involved with interference with wrong-doing, they ignore the fundamental principle of society that each person has a duty and responsibility to contribute back to society as much as he or she takes out as a member of a community or a nation.
Only a certain amount can be taken out of the societal community pot before it's empty. Many believe that taxes can pay for anything and everything that their community needs. Taxes are money and money can't satisfy all human needs. Some needs require human involvement and participation.
Without sufficient involvement by members of a community in community affairs, its residents come to believe that everything that is needed by the community can be bought.
That's when those well educated in the techniques of manipulation of community thinking come in. They don't just work in dingy offices with government census statistics or television viewership numbers. They form the machinery of advertising agencies. They run the campaigns of top political candidates. They spin the facts when a leader wants to go to war.
In short, when ordinary people in a society don't get involved with what is best for their community, by default they turn control of that community over to those who have much to gain by controlling it.
The apathetes claim that they have too many of their own problems to worry about without taking on community problems that don't affect them directly. Ironically, those who involve themselves with community problems tend to think of their own problems as minor compared to those of others they meet. They see their contributions to community problems as much more important than their own "minor" ones.
In other words, those who don't get involved with the operation of their community find themselves with more worry over their own problems than should be necessary.
True enough, every community has many problems and no one person can hope to solve them all. But each problem only requires a few people who care. Those people must contribute to the problem they are involved with from the heart, not the wallet. Every community already has employees who try to address the same problems every day--they work for the money--and the problems get worse.
How long would you expect a marriage to last if it were based only on money? That kind of marriage will end, but community problems that are addressed only by those who get paid to "solve" them canâ€™t be dismissed by divorce.
Every community needs many people who care and who are prepared to get involved to see that their community runs well. It's part of the social obligation that most of us should have accepted when we reached adulthood. It's what is called the social fabric of a community, what holds it together, what gives it its nature, what makes it home.
Some problems simply can't be solved with money. You only need to read a daily newspaper or watch the evening news to find out which problems they are.
If enough people in a community don't care enough to contribute their time and efforts to make it run well, there will be problems that tax money will never solve. The community will be run by those who have a personal stake in how the community develops (or declines).
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems, striving to make the complex problems of life easier to understand.
Learn more at http://billallin.com