On Social Engineering

I wrote this yesterday, I think, on a comment thread that turned into a tone-fight, so I doubt that more than the half-dozen or so participants bothered to read far enough down to see it. So here it is. A previous commenter had written that he had hoped that people would donate out of the goodness of their hearts, and not need to be rewarded for doing so; I personally would much rather give out a ton of food donated by selfish bastards than half a ton donated by selfless altruists. Besides, I think the latter are mostly found in mythology, anyway:

If we only take donations
With the purest motivations
And our shelves remain half-empty, it’s the hungry folks who lose.
If the sponsors can afford it,
There’s good reason to reward it!
And the altruists can turn their prizes down, if they so choose.
Do not make it any harder
Than it is, to stock a larder,
With a view of human nature based on freely-chosen good!
I don’t care if it looks greedy,
If it helps the poor and needy–
The alternative is hunger, till we give “because we should”.
If a prize or recognition
Brings donations to fruition–
“I’ll increase my odds of winning if I donate lots of tins!”–
You can say that it looks selfish;
I’m not humanist, I’m shellfish!
When we pay for good behavior, sometimes everybody wins!

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On Social Engineering

I wrote this yesterday, I think, on a comment thread that turned into a tone-fight, so I doubt that more than the half-dozen or so participants bothered to read far enough down to see it. So here it is. A previous commenter had written that he had hoped that people would donate out of the goodness of their hearts, and not need to be rewarded for doing so; I personally would much rather give out a ton of food donated by selfish bastards than half a ton donated by selfless altruists. Besides, I think the latter are mostly found in mythology, anyway:

If we only take donations
With the purest motivations
And our shelves remain half-empty, it’s the hungry folks who lose.
If the sponsors can afford it,
There’s good reason to reward it!
And the altruists can turn their prizes down, if they so choose.
Do not make it any harder
Than it is, to stock a larder,
With a view of human nature based on freely-chosen good!
I don’t care if it looks greedy,
If it helps the poor and needy–
The alternative is hunger, till we give “because we should”.
If a prize or recognition
Brings donations to fruition–
“I’ll increase my odds of winning if I donate lots of tins!”–
You can say that it looks selfish;
I’m not humanist, I’m shellfish!
When we pay for good behavior, sometimes everybody wins!

Comments

  1. says

    Great point and great poem, as usual! From the point of view of the patron, some (but not all) food donations do come with strings: Now I know if I am starvingI won’t stop to check who's carvingout meat slices, or who's dicing up the ham.Cause unless my taste buds lieI am not afraid to try Any food whether it's fresh or from a can. And until there are affixed numbers there like 666Or a warning on contaminated food,I’ll just eat it and be glad.Eating free is not so badAnd refusing food like this is really rude. On this point I must demureChristian food's not motive pureCause it comes with a commercial here for Jesus.All must sit and hear the sermonOr they'll feel as if they're vermin.Me, I suck it up and do the thing that pleases.The religion I prefer? God's a Him and not a Her?Well who cares what brand religion I profess?As to who is funding this? I don’t really give a piss. Jesus saves but we know Moses will invest.

  2. says

    Uh…Sorry. Duh. That word would be "demur." Durned spell checker won't recognize homonyms. Oh woe! I still find myself writing "flower" instead of "flour" for recipes. :)

  3. AndyD says

    Thanks for pointing out that thread DC. I feel so much dumber after reading (much of) it.

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