When It Comes to Helping the Poor, Self-Righteous Talk Is Cheap

There is a fascinating video on YouTube that was uploaded on April 8 to The Pilion Trust Charity’s channel. At the time of this writing it has more than 3 million views.

The video attempts to get people to donate to the poor (presumably through The Pilion Trust Charity) by calling them hypocrites—a unique tactic to be sure. While it may or may not translate to increased donations, it certainly gave viewers the chance to express outrage that people other than themselves are not helping the poor.

In the video, shot on hidden camera, an actor stands out on the public sidewalks of London with a sandwich board hanging over his shoulders reading “F–K THE POOR” (without censorship).

As he stands around, calling out in a harmless tone, “F–k the poor,” and handing out little fliers, he is met with an abundance of hostility from the non-actor passersby.

“What do you mean, ‘F–k the poor’?” asks one man. “That’s disgusting,” a woman grumbles.

Some try to engage in a conversation with him to get him to come to his senses. “What do you think we should do?” asks one. “It’s hard to get a job if you ain’t got a place to be,” explains another. “They’ve hit rock-bottom,” says one young woman trying to get the protester to see the error of his ways; “there’s a reason for that.”

One girl stops to chastise him, “You should be thinking of a better way to get them off the street.”

A young Muslim man (the unfortunate future face of Great Britain) says, “If a guy is cold down there, go ahead and give him a blanket.”

The video shows increasing hostility to the “F–K THE POOR” man.

“Have you got no f–kin’ heart?”

“You’re just standing there like an idiot!”

“Get the f–k out of here!”

It’s at this point that the video fades to black and these words appear: “We know you care.” Then it fades back to the sidewalks of London. This time, the same actor is standing around with a different sandwich board over his shoulders. It reads “HELP THE POOR.” He rattles a donation cup.

Nobody stops or gives him a second glance.

It’s easy to get outraged and point out the injustices of the world, but when it comes to action, most of those same self-righteous people can’t be bothered.

People would rather feel important by getting outraged than to go through the work of doing something that actually is important.

Who is more disgusting–Man #1, who publicly and proudly acknowledges he doesn’t care for the poor? Or Man #2, who tells Man #1 how wrong he is, how ashamed of himself he should be, but then just carries on with his day as if his righteous indignation were enough of an effort to help the poor?

If you think Man #1 is still the worse of the two, think of it this way: Is it better to be an honest man who doesn’t help, or to be a phony who doesn’t help?

See the video here (language warning, obviously).