Do you have an opinion? Sure; I do too. Everybody has an opinion and the thing about the Internet is that it’s easier than ever to voice your opinions on issues that you actually care about and actually be heard and occasionally trolled. The downside is that, if you spend any time on the Internet at all, you’re going to be bombarded by everybody’s opinions to the point where you just tune out eventually. If you’re going to survive emotionally, at some point you just stop letting people guilt you into supporting their causes. I’ve been there, and sometimes people accuse me of lacking empathy because I chose to protect myself from people’s guilt trips.
Even when you care about starving children in Africa, there’s only so many pictures of those starving children you can take before it’s not even shocking anymore. As far as I’m concerned, it just got to the point where I recognize that I can’t donate to every organization that claims to help those children, especially when a significant percentage of my donation has to be used to pay for commercials on national television. I can come off as uncaring for that, but anyone who has ever lived with having to stretch a dollar as far as possible at some point in their lives can see where I’m coming from. Smart donors often check out charities on Charity Navigator to make sure their donations will go where they’re supposed to.
Charity is good, but creating an environment where people shouldn’t really need charity is better. That means the occasional discussion that could be interpreted as political. I’ve had problems with this partly because sometimes people are paranoid and want to see a grand conspiracy theory designed to entrap people like me who are more interested in giving people a hand up than a hand out. I’m a fan of the basic concepts behind Kiva, where people just need the occasional helping hand to cover expenses or start a business, they haven’t had a lot of luck with mainstream banks, and there’s a pretty good chance that you can maximize the impact of your initial $25 deposit by making loans to multiple people because your loans got repaid. It’s not really a handout when you’re helping people gain the dignity of being self-sufficient. However, sometimes people have a problem with me expressing that kind of opinion on social media sites like Facebook, so it could be easy to interpret my silence for indifference when really what’s going on is that people just don’t want to hear it.
Apathy starts when you start feeling helpless to change a situation. Eventually people are just going to decide that they just don’t care and stop talking when they feel like they aren’t getting anywhere. When I stop looking at you and seem to be in a general untalkative, cranky, bad-tempered mood, it means that I’ve gotten sick of your bullshit and your constant harassment when I have work to do and I just don’t care anymore. So quit asking me to change the world when I’m not an Atlas who is capable of holding the whole world on my shoulders.