Posted by
Robbie Dillon
• 12.07.12 11:00 am



A professional football player shoots his wife, then drives to the stadium and kills himself in front of his coach and the team’s GM.

Big story. All over the news. Within hours, media—social and otherwise—begin discussing the appropriate gesture. A moment of silence? Black armbands? The dead player’s number stenciled on his teammates’ helmets? A consensus begins to develop around the idea of canceling the game.

People who had no intention of watching that game, who in many cases couldn’t name the player in question, who couldn’t tell you what city the Chiefs represent or who their opponents were, are adamant and vocal in their insistence that the game simply cannot be played.

The first question that springs to mind: Why not? Will canceling the game somehow “raise awareness” that shooting your wife and/or blowing your brains out is a bad idea? Or is it that inconveniencing tens of thousands of ticket-holders and the millions who were planning to watch the game on TV will force any other potentially homicidal NFLers to think twice before “bustin’ a cap,” or whatever it is the cool kids are saying these days?

No, we are told, it’s a matter of “compassion,” and that anyone who opposes the cancellation, no matter their objection, is obviously a heartless Neanderthal.

Compassion is now the standard by which all things are to be measured. No one in business, politics, or entertainment can afford to be seen as lacking in it. In the event of a natural or other disaster, even the president must take time away from supervising relief efforts to make sure he is photographed looking concerned and offering comfort to the victims.

So what is going on here? Has America suddenly become a kinder, gentler, more caring nation? Five minutes negotiating rush-hour traffic in any major city should give you the answer. In fact, what’s happening is the manipulation of a noble human quality by those who would use it to further a weak and illogical political agenda.

There was a time when attaining the moral high ground required some sort of sacrifice, or at least effort. A person might have to take the coat off his back and put it around a freezing homeless person, or give up a life of bourgeois comfort to tend to the sick and dying in some Third World hellhole. Now, all you have to do to show the world what a great person you are is click the LIKE button on Facebook, or if you’re feeling really “compassionate,” cast a vote for the guy who promises to raise taxes on the “rich.” Because nothing says “I care” like sticking your hand in someone else’s pocket.

Conservatives are often accused of not caring about society’s least fortunate members, but maybe they’re just tired of seeing them exploited. Lately it seems as though every bloated spending initiative or poorly thought-out government program is justified by scouring the depths of human misery. Want to increase the education budget by a couple of billion? Tell us about the six-year-old orphan who has to study on the floor of a leaky, unheated trailer because his school can’t afford desks. Government-subsidized contraception? Find some pregnant preadolescent from the backwoods and point out how she never would have gotten herself into such a jam if her father had only had access to “free” condoms when he was raping her. The way the desperately poor, sick, and helpless are forced to carry our social programs and entitlements on their backs, it’s a wonder the poor things haven’t been crushed to death.

Empathy is innate in all but a tiny percentage of human beings. It can however, be fostered or hindered by our behavior. When we allow government to define and appropriate compassion, we hand them a proxy for our natural emotions and instincts. We not only distance ourselves from personal responsibility, we lose touch with our actual feelings.

Ironically, societies with the most extensive social programs are the least charitable in attitude as well as the amounts of actual dollars that individuals willingly contribute. There are fewer and fewer givers as the majority of people come to see themselves as recipients. The government “cares” for you in much the way an overprotective boyfriend does—by slowly taking control of every aspect of your life until you’re left helpless and dependent, unable to make any choices but the ones of which he approves.

Those who actually foot the bill—that is to say, who pay more in taxes than they take out—are regularly demonized by media, government, and the general population. Trust me, nothing will make you less charitable than being forced to buy dinner for someone who spends the whole meal telling you what an asshole you are. Those who enjoy that sort of thing can always get married, but I digress.

In the end, compassion is defined by how you treat other people, not by how you vote or what you post on Facebook, and definitely not by how loudly you denounce other people as heartless scumbags. If you really want to connect with your fellow human beings, take a few moments away from patting yourself on the back to volunteer for an organization whose mission truly touches you, or reach into your own pocket and help someone who you feel deserves it rather than asking the government to do it for you.

Merry Christmas!

 

—ROBBIE DILLON

 


Comments
  1. Gavin says:

    Some may remember Robbie as the editor of Vice back in Montreal days. He was the least likely contributor we ever had and also one of the best. He taught me what spelling and grammar is and played a big part in my masterpiece “The Vice Guide to Eating Pussy.”

  2. aesk47 says:

    Jason Withlock made some good points on why the Chiefs should’nt have played this game. I only read the first three paragraphs of your story btw, cause of the Internet.

  3. JOey says:

    Maybe she deserved it? We’ll never know!

  4. Ring Kodney says:

    Quite effective system, imo. We just saved tens of thousands on jail housing,trying his ass,etc. I only wish more nuts/chickenshitz would follow his example.

  5. Bryan says:

    “When we allow government to define and appropriate compassion, we hand them a proxy for our natural emotions and instincts.” This was a fantastic article. Please, if you can, contribute more.

  6. Content Lover says:

    Schizophrenia kicks in around his age, plus what ever performing drugs he’s on, plus his wife could of probably fucked a rival team mate. Its all very sad though. Merry fookin Christmas Robbie you son of a gun!

  7. liz says:

    I don’t feel you’re definition of compassion is accurate.. I believe the better word would be altruism. Showing compassion can be as simple as reaching out to someone and showing that you care how they are feeling.

  8. pantagruel says:

    these articles are starting to read more and more like a game of right wing madlibs

  9. Hopefully everyone says:

    Nailed it so hard. Every time one of my sneering hip lib friends dangles words like hateful, sociopath, uncaring, or racist to refer to people who do not support overreaching federal programs, this is what I have wanted to say.

  10. Zippy says:

    Look, what that sonofabitch did to his girlfriend, mom, baby daughter was wrong, demented and evil. AND he fucked with the point spread. Kansas City sucks and was poised to get their asses kicked. AGAIN. And this guy guns down the woman and himself and inspires his teammates to go out there and win the game. Man, that is just sick. We lost money on that game. How self-centered can someone possibly be? I hate that guy….

  11. zigmundroid says:

    “The government “cares” for you in much the way an overprotective boyfriend does—by slowly taking control of every aspect of your life until you’re left helpless and dependent, unable to make any choices but the ones of which he approves”.

    Excellent metaphor.

    I am surprised there was only one liberal whiner who jumped right into an insult, rather than trying to refute the post, by the time I read this.

    I swear, baiting libs is easier than clubbing baby seals. And almost as much fun.

    And their respo0nse is so predictable.

  12. Publicly funded social welfare programs work!

    In places like Sweden and Denmark where the population is small and most people are similar to one another in a cultural, economic and…racial sense (oy vey!). When everyone is on the same page, it’s easier to decide who should get what.

    When half the population works to support people who don’t understand the difference between what an octogon and an octomom is, shit gets real mang. Especially when any dysfunction in those “communities” is explained by blaming everyone else.

    But but but…the Irish and Italians were poor and poorly integrated and they, like, with the socioeconomic…

    Yah, but those mo’fuckas laid bricks till they were Americans. Work ethic.

    But but but, they had criminal gangs too! The Jews, Irish and Italians all created mobs!

    And they were fucking good at crime too! Didn’t mug and shoot jabronis for $10 and a pair of sneakers.

    Compassionate Liberal Altruists need to spend some time in the more jazzy hoods.

  13. Mealium says:

    tis started out as a very insightful artice about compassion being commodified/corporatised etc but i don’t really agree that the social welfare rogrammas you don’t agree with are am ajor part of this phrenomnen.

    this really made me laigh though: “Trust me, nothing will make you less charitable than being forced to buy dinner for someone who spends the whole meal telling you what an asshole you are.”

  14. Ryan says:

    I agree with the majority of the article and find the overall message to be heartwarming but I don’t think there’s anything to support the claim that “societies with the most extensive social programs are the least charitable in attitude as well as the amounts of actual dollars that individuals willingly contribute.”
    Among the 15 countries with the highest percentage of their population donating to charity there seems to be no correlation between income tax rates and their position on the charts. Indeed the United Kingdom places 2nd, with Ireland and the Netherlands tied for 3rd, Iceland is 9th, the United States 10th, Denmark 12th and Canada the 15th. To me there seems to be no clear connection between countries with more extensive social programs and their population’s “charitable attitude.”
    As well while Oregon, New Hampshire, Montana and Delaware all have state tax rates of 0%, Oregon rates as the 21st, Delaware the 28th and Montana the 38th most charitable population in America while New Hampshire is 51st. Tennessee, New Jersey and Rhode Island all have state tax rates of 7% but Tennessee is 5th in the country with NJ and RI holding up at 43rd and 44th respectively. Tennessee also has the third highest use of food stamps among the states.
    This suggests there’s no real evidence that there’s any connection between social programs at the national or state level, taxation and attitude towards charity.

  15. Tom says:

    Tennessee seems to have a church on every block, possibly that is why they are so charitable. Tennessee also has Memphis, which could explain the heavy food stamp use. How could New Hampshire be ranked 51st when there are only 50 states?

  16. Cassie Who says:

    I agree with the author; what we used to see, feel and identify as Compassion has left the building.

    I work in downtown Toronto and I {and hundreds of other commuters) routinely walk by homeless people sleeping in the streets in freezing temperatures.

    We all know of the government programs referred to in this article; we see the tax being taken from every paycheque to help provide a safety net for society’s downtrodden.

    Where is the compassion for a person {suffering mental issues/drug addictions) who is reduced to sleeping on a vent.

    The working class (who are being overtaxed), glaze over their vision and step around those people sleeping on the streets, knowing that they gave at the office and the government is providing compassion and services for “those” people.

  17. Ryan says:

    Sorry typo though. New Hampshire is 41st. What you say about Tennessee is maybe true and that’s kind of my point. Charitable giving doesn’t seem at all to be tied up with social program use or taxes or governments from what I saw, at the very least there seems to be no strong link.

  18. Tom says:

    Ya it is a good point to bring up, very interesting for sure.

  19. stanky stanky says:

    Aww, is someone still butthurt over the fact that obama handily won re-election?

    No, honestly though, I do like that last paragraph of yours. Very good advice.

  20. Robbie Dillon says:

    I just wanted to take a moment to thank you all for reading this article and taking the time to comment on it. Very insightful to hear what you think — Robbie


Leave A Reply