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.