The other day, I spoke with a close friend of mine, who is successful in just about every way. He is articulate, exceptionally well educated, and aware. And much like myself, he is an avid and voracious “consumer” of news. He reads, listens, watches and questions. And also like me, his views are neither entrenched in the “right” nor “left”. Depending upon the issue, he will lean either way.
Unlike me, his opinion about giving foreign aid to Africa is positive. At least it was until we had a chance to speak at some depth. My friend is a very successful business person with the heart of a liberal. He is not reluctant to help the needy, and he is all for foreign aid. But; even he has limits.
I raised the arguments about why NOT to give foreign aid to Africa. All of which he simply sloughed aside. Until I mentioned Lybia, Khadafi and the UN’s “International League For Human Rights”. My extremely aware friend didn’t know.
He didn’t know that Africa voted en masse to elect Lybia to chair the UN’s “International League For Human Rights”. After-all, how could he? Even though this issue was in the news, it wasn’t a news headline. It should have been. But it wasn’t. Just like the close and personal friendship between the murderous Khadafi and Nelson Mandela, which the civilized world prefers to ignore.
The greatest enemy and threat to our Western democratized way of life, is not knowing. If we are not aware of all the actors, and where they stand, we can not possibly understand the plot. It took far less time for my friend to say forget aid to Africa if they elected Lybia to chair the UN’s “International League For Human Rights”, than it has taken me to relate this story.
Being open minded, generous and willing to offer the benefit of doubt, even to people and nations who are suspect, is in many ways a virtue. But being so open minded, generous and willing to offer the benefit of doubt, to the point where you can’t see beyond your inclination to do good, is not a virtue, but indeed a vice.
Our Western inclination is to reach out and help. And that’s a good thing. It is our Western democratized way. But, sometimes we forget why we have, enjoy and prosper under our democracy. And we tend to forget who our enemies are, and why they are our enemies. And that can cost us everything we have. Everything!