Wednesday, March 23, 2011


You are NOT "helping" if your "help" is not wanted.

This applies to individuals as well as governments.

My daughter was playing today and wanted to "help" a smaller child. The kid did not appreciate her "help" and fussed. She told me she just wanted to help him, but I suggested she ought to see if he wanted her help first. She may learn, at 3 1/2 years old, what no president, congresscritter, mayor, or cop has ever apparently managed to learn.

That lesson, again, is that it is not "help" if the person doesn't want it, no matter how "noble" your intentions, and no matter whether the person is in actual danger.


  1. Makes me think of when a good guy I knew told me that unsolicited advice was critism.

  2. Indulge me in a not so original hypothetical fer a minute...

    You're standing in a field watching a bunch of unsupervised young children at play. There is a cliff/ravine nearby, hidden in the tall grass that the children cannot see. They keep running dangerously close, you warn them of the cliff and try to convince them to play somewhere else, somewhere safe.

    But they're just kids and aren't quite capable of fully appreciating the gravity of the situation(pun intended). When warned, they say "okay" and just kinda ignore you, keep running around. They don't care. They don't really want to take your advice.

    What do you do?

    You can't force them. You can't just round them up, hog-tie them and deliver them to their parents.

    If you could leave, you could go tell their parents of the situation, but if you leave them be, even for a short period, there will likely be at least one, maybe a few, that run off the cliff.

    I suppose you could lure them to safety if you happen to have a treat of some kind handy. A bag of Twinkies/snack cakes and candy would be nice to have.

    You could warn all of the children, collect any of them you have a responsibility toward. (I.E. - Your children, family members, friend's children, etc..), take 'your' children elsewhere and go tell all of the parents. If any fall off in the meantime, oh well, that's nature weeding out the careless stupid ones with careless stupid irresponsible parents.

    You could risk your own neck and stay there near the cliff and play goalie. You could catch them before they fall to their deaths. You're basically stuck there until they're done playing and decide to go home.

    What do you do?

    I'm thinkin' that if you don't have a means of luring them to safety. ...warn 'em all, grab 'yours', leave and tell the parents.

    Any other ideas?

    What is appropriate and/or reasonable? Why?

  3. Probably, in that case, I'd stand between the cliff and the kids in order to stop any from going over the edge- assuming that none of the kids were my responsibility. Or I might "get scary" and convince the kids to leave. I could do that without threatening to initiate force. ("Wanna see something REALLY scary?")

    This might be one of those cases where I would choose to initiate force (grab a kid) if I thought one was about to fall off, knowing that I was acting outside the bounds of what I have a right to do, and deal with any consequences that crop up.

    Another thought- are the kids trespassing? Would I be trespassing if I went to intervene? That could change the situation a little too. If the kids were trespassing you would have more ethical leeway in what you could do to get them away from the dangerous area.

    Even though I mentioned my daughter's experience with the younger kid in the post, I was actually thinking more of people who are self-responsible (even if you don't agree with their choices or even trust their self-responsibility). But it's a good mental exercise to weigh the options.

  4. I love these types of mental exercises as it promotes identifying core values.

    I like "The Catcher In The Rye" hypothetical because it is a twist of not only rights and responsibilities, but moral/ethical as well. It forces you to decide between ethics and rights/responsibility. Which will you compromise? Where will you draw the line?

    I rather like the idea of scaring them away. If positive reinforcement/incentive methods won't work because you don't have a bag of treats handy, you can always use negative means of motivating them and just scare the shit outta them. lol.

    Stand near the cliff, pull out your knife, act nuts, and yell...

    "RAAAAAAARRRRRRR! I EAT CHILDREN! Look at all those tender tasty arms and legs. Yuuuummmmm!"

    ...Any typical 5 year old would run like hell...all the way home to the safety of mom and dad.

  5. I would just crouch, get "crazy eyes", bare my teeth, and growl. It even scares aggressive dogs away (while I get my hands on a weapon). Usually.