Monday, November 21, 2005

Dealing With Brownshirts

If you are an active social entrepreneur, you are going to encounter rejection. Some of it will be thoughtful, but far more of it will be ignorant and malicious.

How ignorant and malicious?

One recent comment on my NTC activity reads:

"There's a precise wavelenghth true bottoms give off. And a particular kind of bottom - the most egregious kind, the kind that create predicaments of chaotic violence just to please themselves and the appetite-god they serve-gives off an almost irrestibly seductive pheromone that demands it be beaten into submission. This guy drips those chemicals all over the page; no mean feat considering it's a digital representation."
Juke the Moron
Wealth Bondage

Such brownshirted and scatological remarks, when encountered, should neither surprise, nor unsettle you. The disdain of brownshirts is no disgrace, and their respect is no honour.

Visit the Wealth Bondage site (see link above) and read what Juke and others of his ilk have to say. Become familiar with their methods. Learn to combat their sophistry. And, most of all, develop an indifference to their sneers.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Chris Jordan said...

Hear! Hear!

6:52 pm  
Anonymous The Happy Tutor said...

Social venture philanthropy is an interesting option for anyone with money, a social conscience, and business acumen.

Maybe it would be helpful to post something about the whole ethos of social ventures, and link to some of the many sources and examples.

Any specific venture can always be criticized as too commercial or too ineffective in its philanthropic strategy, but the idea of combining profit and social good makes sense and appeals to many people who would not otherwise get involved much in giving.

3:40 am  
Blogger Tom said...

The Happy Tutor writes:

"Maybe it would be helpful to post something about the whole ethos of social ventures, and link to some of the many sources and examples."

I probably should provide more links and examples.

Links to the Stanford Social Innovation Review and the Social Enterprise Reporter have been up from the beginning, but there are, of course, many more worth adding to the list.

Jim Fruchterman's Benetech (www.benetech.org) is a social venture that I've offered up as an example in the past, and relevant academic work by Joel Podolny, Charles Leadbeater, and John Gray has served as a backdrop to many of my entries.

HT adds:

"Any specific venture can always be criticized as too commercial or too ineffective in its philanthropic strategy, but the idea of combining profit and social good makes sense and appeals to many people who would not otherwise get involved much in giving."

I agree.

2:50 pm  
Anonymous The Happy Tutor said...

Social enterprise, green marketing, cause related marekting, socially responsible investing are still "maverick" efforts and misunderstood or regarded with suspicion by many wedded to prior models (either/or, business/philanthropy).

Measuring social good is so hard, though. And if we had a social good yardstick we would also have a social bad yardstick. And that would be an embarassment to those whose companies turn out on that yardstick to be profitable but socially not so good.

So, you can imagine that the companies will want to hire people to prove that they are socially good. You see that today with Wal-Mart. They come up with ads, pr, and some actual new busienss practices, but how real is it? How deep? And does one net it out against their low low prices and low low wages?

To have a theory of social good is to have a theory of the good, and that is political and moral philosophy. We don't all agree on one, so the discussions seem inevitably become political and heated, or vacuous.

Nevertheless, it is critical that profit making firms consider their social impact and internalize it with the support of market, political, and moral forces.

The hashing out process that you saw on WB was not too pleasant and not too well informed about social investing, but how other than open debate and skepticism, in a public venue, can we get to the bottom of claims that a company is really socially good as opposed to really pretending?

"Reviewing" a firm for socially responsible practices may be more common in the future, and maybe it can conducted without acrimony, though necessarily from within a moral and politcal viewpoint. That would a step forward.

Thanks for not getting upset or losing your focus.

2:34 pm  
Anonymous SansFaim said...

The Happy Tutor said

"The hashing out process that you saw on WB was not too pleasant and not too well informed about social investing, but how other than open debate and skepticism, in a public venue, can we get to the bottom of claims that a company is really socially good as opposed to really pretending?"

Debate has been called "a vital part of humanistic education and democratic citizenship" . From Aristotle and Plato to Saint Augustine and Richard Whately, it has absorbed the energies of some of the greatest thinkers ever known

The skills of debating are many, and here are just a few:

1.the ability to present an argument persuasively

2.the vision to understand that there are two sides to most arguments

3.the respect for others, to let them have their say

4.the structure to order thoughts, to introduce, develop and summarise points

5.general and specific knowledge of many current topics, learnt through research.

6.the flexibility to react quickly to new ideas, and to remain unflustered in crises

Too often there are those who are of the opinion that dogma and personal abuse constitute debate. There is no place for personal abuse in an open civilised debate.

12:45 am  

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