The Will of the Self-Righteous
by Joshua Long (e-mail: [December 3rd, 2003]

If my wallet were stolen, I would be angry with the person who committed the crime. Foremost on my mind would be to recover the stolen goods, and to seek retribution. It would not matter if the money in my wallet were $20 or $100; neither would the financial situation of the attacker. I might be flexible on the retribution portion, but that I would like to have my stolen goods would not be in question. It does not seem so unreasonable a stance.

“That the Ethiopians need the money is without question, but, while due to circumstances out of their control, they do not deserve it.”

Yet apparently, when the victim is a large faceless corporation, and the offender is a starving country, everything changes. I say this in regards to the lawsuit between Ethiopia and Nestle Co., the gist of which is this:

Ethiopia owes Nestle money (about $6 million dollars), but did not want to pay. Nestle reacted by taking them to court, and settled for $1.3 million dollars due to public outcry.

Public outcry? For attempting to recover stolen goods?

This is where the collective self-righteousness of humanity comes into play. I will not call it compassion. I believe compassion is the goodness accomplished for the sake of doing goodness, at one’s own cost. The 40,000 irate customers and protesters do not endorse the charitable donations of money to the backward country, rather they ask that others do it.

Never mind that the protesters are obviously organized so that they might contribute some real good to the starving children of Ethiopia. Ignore that if they have enough time to protest, they have enough time on their hands to take up a second job if they have insufficient funds. At least they have good intentions. Perhaps they should consider that the starving children of Ethiopia cannot eat good intentions.

Instead, they attempt to guilt Nestle into doing it for them, never once considering their hypocrisy of convincing another to give charity when they are guilty of the same ‘crime’. To try to raise the money themselves would be ridiculous; protesters are a people of talk, not action. Why do themselves what could be done by others?

Protesters can only justify their actions by claiming the Ethiopians deserve the money more than the so-called "Capitalist Pigs". To them, I say: you do not know the difference between need and deserve. That the Ethiopians need the money is without question, but, while due to circumstances out of their control, they do not deserve it. Some may call me cruel and without compassion, I am merely stating the facts.

To those who think that the rich version of work consists solely of driving to the bank to pick up one's paycheck, I have met several wealthy individuals and their life consists of more work than cocktail parties as you might be surprised to know. Even when they leave work early, it is only at nine in the evening. Weekends and holidays are never assumed to mean a day off work, quite the opposite, they are required to work only until five. It should also be noted that these people did not work at the most wealthy of corporations, as it is most likely the executives at Nestle work longer. For this, I do not ask you take out a violin. I merely wish to set the record straight.

I do not dispute that Ethiopia has some legitimate justification; I am unfamiliar with the details of the situation. If so, they have not advertised it. What is advertised throughout the liberal media is the fact that they need the money. As I last checked, need is not sufficient justification to steal. Even if the best of humanity were to commit murder, we would not hesitate to apply the hand of justice; to do otherwise would be to desecrate the society of which was wronged.

This sort of foolishness was understandable in kindergarten when reading “Jack and the Beanstalk”, where the thieves are just in their actions. However, when we grow older, should we not become less naive? Stealing is stealing, regardless of the situation the two parties might be in.


  • CNN: Nestle Plans Donation to Ethiopia
  • Guardian Unlimited: Retreat by Nestle on Ethiopia's $6m Debt
  • BBC: Nestle Insists on Ethiopia Refund

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