Smoke and Mirrors

How often do we hear or read something that makes no logical sense? This probably happens much more frequently than we realize, since our attention moves quickly to the next item assaulting our senses. Since we don’t closely analyze the barrage of messages coming our way, we are rarely aware of how much nonsense we are fed.
Political promises fall into this category, but so do advertisements and ‘catchy phrases.’ Looking through the newspaper the other day, I found myself stopping and analyzing the half-page (read: expensive), patently absurd, message being sent by UNICEF; the United Nations Children’s Fund.

The ad showed an early airplane prototype, followed by the words:

Man took to flight when we believed.
Children will stop dying from preventable causes when you believe.
Every day, 19,000 children die of causes we can prevent.
We believe that number should be ZERO.

Let’s stipulate that only the most hard-hearted monster wants children to die from causes that we have the knowledge and technology to prevent. That has absolutely nothing to do with whether giving money to UNICEF, or pushing government to give taxpayer money to UNICEF, is a good idea. It also has nothing to do with the fact that while the first two statements of the ad may be designed to provoke compassion or guilt, they are false. If you need to lie to get people to support you, perhaps you are not worthy of support.

Man took to flight when individuals harnessed imagination, knowledge, courage, time and money—not because anyone paraphrased the children in Peter Pan, repeating, “I do believe in flight, I do, I do.” Men took to flight when scientific studies of physics and engineering advanced so that instead of the failed attempts or unfulfilled ideas of millennia, human ingenuity and desire collaborated with technical progress to achieve risky, fledgling steps. If anything, the fact that Orville and Wilbur Wright achieved success while a week earlier the government-funded airplane built by Dr. Samuel Langley toppled into a river, suggests that perhaps supporting entrepreneurial efforts to help children, rather than bureaucratic ones, would be the smarter and more effective plan.

Way too many children have died in the 66 years since UNICEF’s founding because people foolishly followed seductive, but false, ideologies and chose leaders who led their nations (and other nations) into destruction. Sadly, the United Nations, has proven inept—the most charitable interpretation—at counteracting evil.

I don’t know if the last two statements of the UNICEF ad are true or if they are as false as the first two. I don’t know how UNICEF’s real achievements stack up because they are using their marketing dollars to peddle emotional twaddle rather than present statistical evidence. I do know that voting, donating or choosing how to behave based on a child-like belief in government or bureaucracy tends to lead to more tragedy, not less.

              It’s that time of year again!
We have Chanuka lessons that can help everyone.

FOL cover (3)


3 thoughts on “Smoke and Mirrors”

  1. God directs His people to share of their abundance and help the needy–individual people have this responsibility, not secular government bureaucrats. It frosts my shorts to hear people who don’t care 2 cents about God try to tell me it is my ‘religious duty’ to gladly pay more taxes so the government can ‘help the poor’. (Yeah, help them stay dependent on government.) How much more than 10% could God’s people gladly give if the government didn’t take 30-40% (or more)before we even receive it?

  2. Hello again! I hope the Rabbi will get around to writing Thought Tools again soon (not a demand, just a request and a compliment)!
    Your suspicions about the UN are underscored by the nature of the Beast, wherein major UN councils for years now have seemed stacked to thwart or undermine American interests and influence in the world. It is not for no good reason that certain organizations have made pulling the US out of the UN the sturdiest plank in their platform! As for UNICEF, your wondering about the efficacy of one’s support, and where the money actually goes is justified.
    Once upon a time when I was well-heeled I contributed American $$ annually to aid an orphan in a small Eurasian country beset on all sides by hostile nations. Every time I announced at church that I had sent a check to aid a child, there was a cynic from that nation to voice: “That’s what they would like for you to believe.” A snippet of naysaying or a prophetic warning? Despite the legendary and laudable generosity of Americans, there is certainly no lack of organizations that seek to redistribute the fruits of our American prosperity. And has anyone noticed that the current El Presidente of our incipient Banana Republic seems intent upon selling us out to the UN, lock stock, barrel and powder of our revolutionary musket?

  3. Hi Susan:
    Amazingly, the Wright brothers were functioning as engineers rather than scientists as they pursued becoming the first to accomplish heavier than air flight. In fact, it was at least a decade AFTER their December 17, 1903 accomplishment before scientists were able to mathematically describe the lift, pitch, and yaw that these two “hayseed bicycle mechanics” (to use Langley supporter’s characterization) had demonstrated to the world. Did you know that the iconic photograph of that first flight of the “Wright Flyer” was taken by a volunteer recruited from the U.S. Coast Guard lifesaving station a few hundred yards away from their proving grounds? So confident were the brothers that they would accomplish their goal on that trip to Kitty Hawk NC, that they had packed brand new shirt collars in which they were both dressed that December morning. The brothers weren’t aware that they had captured that photograph until returning to Ohio to develop the plate some weeks later.
    Interestingly, the largest voting bloc in the anti-American United Nations is the 57 countries comprising the anti-American Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Many of their unfortunate children are dying from the preventable cause of being outfitted with C-4 packed undergarments BECAUSE their culture believes. The problem is, to paraphrase President Ronald Reagan, that so much of what they believe just isn’t so.
    America as founded is a land where, by God’s grace the human soul is allowed to soar to limitless heights. It is certainly no coincidence that two bishop’s boys from flyover country were the first to translate this into physical reality. It’s also no surprise that the rest of the world seeks to fleece our prosperous nation in every way imaginable, including the use of misleading and emotionally manipulative devices like the “advertisement” that you’ve reviewed.

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