Monday, March 31, 2014

Junior says "nein danke" to Kielburger Kult

Yup, they put on another "Me to We" Kielburger extravaganza at Junior's high school today.

At this point in his academic career Junior has had the misfortune of sitting through these Kielburger sales pitches at least a dozen times.

But one thing that the Farm Manager and I pride ourselves on is the fact that we've managed to raise all of our children with a healthy skepticism for received wisdom, whether that wisdom is received from state or church or news media or advertising industry or education system or Kielburger Kult.

Or parents, for that matter...

If you're not familiar with the Kielburger do-gooder behemoth it's probably because you haven't had a child in the education system anywhere in North America in the last 15 years. While Kielburger foundational myths are constantly undergoing fine-tuning, this much seems to be true; a couple of astute parents spotted the do-gooder instinct in their offspring at an early age, and encouraged them to run with it.

The offspring are now blue-ribbon lawyers who have created a labyrinthine network of for-profits, non-profits, and semi-profits to channel "aid" to poor children in what used to be called the Third World, all of them (the Kielburger corporate entities; not the poor children) revolving around the Kielburger's "Me to We" and "Free the Children" brands.

The fulcrum of their operation seems to have been unlimited entre into the education system. "Leadership" courses in many high schools allow the Kielburger edifice to provide lesson plans and curriculum that, surprise!, favours active participation in fundraising for the various Kielburger brands.

So Junior was treated yet again to a slick schtick that had exceptional production values and a really good "motivational speaker" (ie salesperson) by high school auditorium standards.

The problem with this entire operation isn't that they get kids to think beyond themselves. That's a good thing. The problem is that they are a big business. They are firmly tied in to big corporate sponsors, big celebrities, and big government. They promote a top-down model of "help" that assumes the "Third World/developing world/under-developed world" is what it is because there's not enough happy prosperous middle-class children in North America raising money for them.

The reality is that poverty in that world is the direct result of the systemic exploitation of those societies by ours.

If we were serious about helping the less fortunate, we'd stay home, and by "we" I don't mean just the do-gooders. I mean the geologists and the oil-exploration guys and the diamond merchants and the mercenaries and the arms merchants and the lot of them.

There's way more than enough local ability and intelligence in Haiti and Ecuador and throughout Africa to solve their own problems without our help, and more than enough wealth in the ground to pay for it.

That's not a message those budding activists are likely to hear from the Me to We machine.

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