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This website is an archive. It ran from 2006-2010. Virtually everything on here is outdated or inaccurate.

Economic materialism is a mistake we all make. I don't believe anyone would claim to be nothing more than a materialist, but there is some amount of material tanha in all of us. Collectively, materialism fuels money worship. However, materialism is not the only thing wrong with society.

The (RED) campaign is evil.

Where virtue is the slave of pleasure it no longer deserves the name of virtue.
St. Augustine

The (RED) campaign at has a simple premise: to raise money for charity, they will sell Americans materialist toys such as credit cards, cell phones, iPods, and sneakers. I wish I had made that list up but those are the actual things being sold under the (RED) brand. When people buy these toys, the charity will get $10, which they can spend on Africa. They have raised something like $30 million this way, which means that at least a million people in the United States are completely shameless consumer whores.

How did I reach this conclusion? Well, what the (RED) campaign is doing is inherently evil. The campaign rewards greed by making consumers think they have done good karma by buying totally useless crap. This is lying to yourself in its purest form. The guilt that you might feel when you buy an iPod for yourself is an essential part of consumerism. It's okay to indulge in yourself, but you have to recognize it as indulgence, not be deluded into thinking you're doing something nice for the poor orphans in Africa. Any nice things that you do, such as donating to charity, must be recognized as separate acts, good karma to counter bad karma.

The first counter-argument to this, I can imagine as, "I'm smart enough to distinguish the two acts in my mind." Then, why buy (RED) products at all? Buy yourself a regular iPod, and donate $10 to charity. Better yet, donate $150 to charity and don't buy an iPod at all.

The second counter-argument would run like, "I want to buy (RED) to show my support." If you really support something you don't need bribes. You will enjoy the act of giving itself, not the material object you get in return.

The third counter-argument would be, "The (RED) products are colored differently. By using them in public I can encourage others to donate as well." Back in the day, flaunting your donations wasn't known as encouragement. It was known by its proper name: bragging. And bragging, especially about the nice things you've done, is not a good thing. Do you know how much (RED) bragged? Participating companies spent over $100 million in advertising. That's more than three times as much money than the amount actually spent on Africa.

But now that that's out of the way, I'd like to emphasize that (RED) is not just wrong. (RED) is evil. (RED) equates the people who want to do something genuinely nice, by giving money to HIV/AIDS charities or even volunteering and putting their lives into AIDS work in Africa, with indulgent consumers who spend $150 on an iPod, and because $10 of it goes to charity, they think they are making a little miniature version of a good work. Let's make this clear: they are not doing something nice. They are realizing the straw-man materialist, that mythical hedonist who thinks that the nicest thing you can do is to do something for yourself. They are turning the old saying, "Those who help others help themselves," on its head, so that they can get maximum pleasure out of minimum effort.

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