On communities and duty
I'm so happy to have found your voice. One of the most measured minds I've ever come across. Mutually dependent relationships versus toxic charity. Indeed.
I was a homeless single mom, and have volunteered as an advocate among homeless people for decades.
Everything you wrote was spot on!
No matter how mentally ill or physically disabled a person was, almost every single homeless person I met wanted a job rather than a handout. Tragically, most of them were incapable of working an actual job, but could have worked with a job coach, as many developmentally disabled people are able to do.
Providing tax incentives to companies to hire mentally ill people with job coaches for support would go incredibly far in helping our homeless neighbors.
There are some hustlers out there who don't want to contribute and who take pride in scamming people, but the vast majority of chronically homeless people I've met want to feel like contributing members of a community.
That's why I recommend The Other Ones Foundation as a great non profit in Austin. They organize work teams of homeless people and help them to earn living wages, while providing shelters in which they can save money.
Anyway - great article!
AA is a great example of this principle. A core part of their process is that "being of service" and helping others overcome their addiction is a core part (perhaps even the core part) of ones own recovery.
I know they get a lot of flak for being cult-like and people like to say its not actually that effective, but my impression is they've been more successful than anyone else at that mission.
This is a great article.
I've been part of a social organization for over a decade, with varying levels of involvement. When I was very active, I resented members who weren't, especially if they critiqued those who made things run. Frustration with them was one of the reasons I withdrew for a time. I agree it's vital to spread contributions around as much as possible.
I see a parallel in politics. While I'm all for taxing the rich more heavily, I worry non-rich Americans don't value our government enough when we're not asked to pay more for it.
Great article with unique insight! Question: How common is this "toxic relationship between benefactor and the beneficiary"? Is it the norm in your experience? Presumably there are some percent of people who are able to avoid it? Thanks
Very well done. An important subject to me and my household. Keep up the great work. You articulated this so well.