People rail against the likes of Bono and Sting, but nobody's dander is raised when public figures make no attempt to do the right thing.
So if Sting does an advert for Jaguar cars, he faces criticism. But other celebrities - see Carol Vorderman, Gary Linaker, Rolf Harris, etc do not engage our anger because they make no pretence at being anythng other than talking heads.
I think it's also a big part of many of the arguments that break out here. When we espouse an ideal, we are also conscious that we cannot always live up to that ideal, and we become defensive.
But I think this guilt is built upon a misconception, by and large (I know there are exceptions)
I for one don't blame anyone for doing the best they can with what they have. We have no choice but to live within the system.
Robert Tressell wrote:
They all cursed Crass, but most of them would have been very to change
places with him: and if any one of them had been in his place they
would have been compelled to act in the same way - or lose the job.
They all reviled Hunter, but most of them would have been glad to
change places with him also: and if any one of them had been in his
place they would have been compelled to do the same things, or lose
They all hated and blamed Rushton. Yet if they had been in Rushton's
place they would have been compelled to adopt the same methods, or
become bankrupt: for it is obvious that the only way to compete
successfully against other employers who are sweaters is to be a
sweater yourself. Therefore no one who is an upholder of the present
system can consistently blame any of these men. Blame the system.
If you, reader, had been one of the hands, would you have slogged? Or
would you have preferred to starve and see your family starve? If you
had been in Crass's place, would you have resigned rather than do such
dirty work? If you had had Hunter's berth, would you have given it up
and voluntarily reduced yourself to the level of the hands? If you
had been Rushton, would you rather have become bankrupt than treat
your `hands' and your customers in the same way as your competitors
treated theirs? It may be that, so placed, you - being the
noble-minded paragon that you are - would have behaved unselfishly.
But no one has any right to expect you to sacrifice yourself for the
benefit of other people who would only call you a fool for your pains.
It may be true that if any one of the hands - Owen, for instance - had
been an employer of labour, he would have done the same as other
employers. Some people seem to think that proves that the present
system is all right! But really it only proves that the present
system compels selfishness. One must either trample upon others or be
trampled upon oneself. Happiness might be possible if everyone were
unselfish; if everyone thought of the welfare of his neighbour before
thinking of his own. But as there is only a very small percentage of
such unselfish people in the world, the present system has made the
earth into a sort of hell. Under the present system there is not
sufficient of anything for everyone to have enough. Consequently
there is a fight - called by Christians the `Battle of Life'. In this
fight some get more than they need, some barely enough, some very
little, and some none at all. The more aggressive, cunning, unfeeling
and selfish you are the better it will be for you. As long as this
`Battle of Life' System endures, we have no right to blame other
people for doing the same things that we are ourselves compelled to
do. Blame the system.
Don't blame Bono. Blame a system that condemns millions to poverty, and makes such charity necessary.