Crusades: Some Afterthoughts

Posted on April 7, 2015 by Robert Ringer


Perhaps the most critical element that professional cause advocates fail to factor into their crusade equations is technological advance. Not only does technology continually render perceived crises irrelevant, it also continues to raise the living standards of potential cause joiners.

In our modern age of prosperity, nothing annoys crusade leaders more than the realization that otherwise perfectly good prospects for their causes are relaxing in the backyards of their suburban homes, grilling steaks on the barbecue, and watching their kids splash around in their ten-by-twenty-foot swimming pools. Convincing these folks that they’re being exploited by “the rich” is a pretty tough sell.

But even if you believed in a group’s objectives and actually had firsthand knowledge of the facts, it still would be less complicated and more efficient to act on your own rather than in concert with others. In addition, as I pointed out in my previous article, collective action encourages one to avoid personal responsibility.

As with the charity example I discussed in that same article, if you feel strongly about a cause, by acting alone you can start doing something about it immediately. But if instead you decide to build a sophisticated organizational structure to promote the cause, you may never get around to your stated purpose.

The nature of such organizational efforts — endless politics, debates over differences of opinion, funding, and other bureaucratic obstacles — can easily use up all your available time and energy. All too often, the organizational effort becomes an end in itself.

If you feel a sincere urge to take action for or against something, don’t waste time trying to convert others to your way of thinking. If you believe in a particular philosophy, you should be too busy living it to spend time trying to get others to join a cause. If you have a desire to have your ideas heard, why not write a book about them or offer to lecture on those ideas for a fee?

Above all, don’t feel that you have a moral obligation to help people “see the light.” Chances are pretty good that you have enough problems of your own that require your full time and attention. Life burdens us with too many nonproductive projects as it is, so why look for more? The fact is that the world doesn’t have problems; only individuals have problems.

Notwithstanding all the real or imagined crises, the reality is that you have it within your power to lead a fulfilling, meaningful life — starting now. Don’t allow perceived disasters that may or may not occur during your lifetime — if ever — to rob you of the opportunity to do so.

A secure, mentally healthy individual maintains control over his actions rather than allow the desires of a group to determine them for him. Unfortunately, millions of individuals are burdened by having to spend a significant amount of their valuable time and energy fending off those who constantly try to interfere in their lives through crusades.

It’s wise to be vigilant about not allowing yourself to be emotionally swept along by the herd instinct, the rhetoric of Absolute Moralists, or the slogans of a mindless band of people. Staunchly refuse to yield to the intimidating pressures of others to become involved in group action.

A group may dwell endlessly on how it can help you become a happier individual, but such claims are meaningless. Why? Because the very premise of group action negates that possibility. When you subordinate your interests to those of an organization, you lose not only your individuality, but also precious, irreplaceable hours that could be well spent confronting the obstacles in your own life.

To a rational individual, the farther off the promised results, the more obvious it is that perpetuation of the group itself is the real objective of the leader. When the next crusader comes knocking at your door, babbling about this or that crisis, do yourself a favor and advise him to get a real job, get out of the way of those who are creating value for others, and allow entrepreneurial creativity to continue expanding the frontiers of modern technology and improving the living standards of people worldwide.

Using your time and energy to help promote a cause that advocates the use of force to make others accept an agenda that certain individuals believe is right is far removed from the noble objective of having a legitimate purpose in life, being passionate about that purpose, and taking continual and constructive action to achieve it.

If you wish to make a serious contribution to world peace and prosperity, I suggest you use your time and energy to improve the one person over which you not only have control, but the moral authority to control: you.

If you do decide to become involved in a crusade, just make certain that you do so for rational reasons — your rational reasons. And be doubly certain that you are honest with yourself about your motives. Any rational motive is fine, so long as you genuinely understand exactly what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

And for goodness sakes, don’t chastise others for not becoming involved in a cause that you believe to be worthy. How others spend their time and what they believe in is none of your business. When you start being so presumptuous as to concern yourself with getting others to become involved in a cause you believe in, you are taking the first step toward becoming a true-believing crusader/nuisance.

On the other hand, if you make the decision to focus on your own life rather than becoming involved in a crusade in an attempt to solve some group’s perception of a societal problem, I wish to extend my personal thanks to you for eliminating yourself as a burden to the rest of society. As Nobel Prize novelist and poet Anatole France so rightly pointed out, “Those who have given themselves the most concern about the happiness of peoples have made their neighbors very miserable.”

Robert Ringer

Robert Ringer is an American icon whose unique insights into life have helped millions of readers worldwide. He is also the author of two New York Times #1 bestselling books, both of which have been listed by The New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time.

22 responses to “Crusades: Some Afterthoughts”

  1. Ric says:

    This column reminds me of when I was 18 years old and first read Robert Ringer's "Looking Out for #1". In it he said something that always stuck with me and I have since passed on to my own kids – now adults. At the time, the homeless con game was just entering the public consciousness. He said the best thing you can do for the poor is not become one of them. Some truths may seem insensitive, but they are truths nonetheless. No need for crusades.

  2. Jon says:

    I realize you penned this article primarily directed at charitable causes, Robert, but I couldn't help thinking about what's happening here in the USA as I write. All my life, I tried to follow your outline with the attitude "I can out-produce the rat bastards" and was successful in doing so. Yet in the just the last 6+ years, my country has been turned upside down. I can't out-produce that. Fight or Flight seem to be the only options and now I'm too old to fight. Sometimes the reality of the circumstances dictate outright self-preservation regardless of what the teeming masses believe.

    • Jim Hallett says:

      The point you mention is exactly why lots of productive folks are leaving the USA. Some take just their assets and others take their "asses" and their assets out, so the parasites cannot steal it. The use of force, which is government's specialty, is the immoral principle which must never be violated – whether one is on a crusade mission or not. Be responsible for oneself, protect your property, and when the immoral and irresponsible come after you, you likely do have to go elsewhere.

    • himagain says:

      Hey Jon, The ancient TRUE Alchemists – who were great observers, not mad scientists, but fathers of TRUE Science said that there are always two options to everything, and when it came to flight or fight, flight was always the best survival option.
      Old City States and Empires only fell because the smart people usually fled, given a chance.
      Same applies to today – time for all thinking people to flee. The Barbarians are INSIDE the gates!

  3. psychicmindvandervoort231 says:

    Excellent case for Individualism, Mr. Ringer. Those of us who attended college on the GI Bill called ourselves GDI's. I for Independent, versus Frat Rats. Yes, the Individuals of society do, I believe, lead the way. Perhaps this thinking applies to whole countries, like the one that wants to "civilize" the Middle East. Maybe better to find their own way up some century hence.

  4. Bob says:

    Favorite: You never did tell me. Why are we here protesting?

  5. Jack says:

    once again, good call!

  6. RealitySeeker says:

    "collective action encourages one to avoid personal responsibility".

    Yes, that's why a big, crusading government destroys both personal responsibility and accountability. Federal, state and local government has replaced personal charity with public charity (welfare). There are endless welfare programs, welfare laws and armies of officious welfare workers. America has become a welfare-warfare empire.

    One result of government mandated charity ( welfare) is that personal "charity" has become mandatory. How? Some of the the mandatory taxes we producers pay are supposedly used to support charity cases ( aka welfare cases). So, in other words, the government has forced the tax payer to give, give, give……..Of course, what really happens with billions of dollars in taxes is the bureaucracy expands to meet the needs of the bureaucracy and not the needs of the charity cases. The charity cases have become a class of people who permanently live on the "safety net". And their representative politicians buy votes. A vote is the rent you pay to your pol.

    Ron Paul's son, Rand, just announced his campaign for president, today. He's not perfect, but if you are tired of the welfare-warfare state, then join a worthwhile "crusade" and help elect Rand.

    • boundedfunction says:

      too big to fail came first, & with saber toothed vengeance (& i don't mean the recent predators, either). the rest are are just copycats. gettin' rid of remoras does nothing about sharks. which is not to suggest or imply anything can be done about sharks….

      neither a crusader nor a crusadee be…cuz both is just crudités to be nibbled up by the plutocracy…

      gillnets are the fishers-of-men's – not the fishes – safety nets…..

      as for rand, or any of the rest, i am content to let "perfect" be the enemy of the "good"… wood borer beetles kill forests, as they are supposed to. there are no beetles that are here to help the trees. "i'm from the beetlement, & i'm here to help (myself). i do like the heft & weight of kruggerands, tho…lol

      • RealitySeeker says:

        "neither a crusader nor a crusadee be"

        Yes, but you better be ready to go under the sword one way or the other. You can run, maybe hide, but the government crusaders now cover the entire globe, and they are "here to help" themselves to everything. Jesus said, "put away thy sword" and "turn the other cheek". Not long after he "went where they could't follow".

        Death is the only hiding place, just remember that. Rand is a crusader, so was Ron, but neither is crusading to take my guns away' or to tax my house away; or to regulate away what little freedoms are left.

        I agree, the bankers and Wall-streeters are bigger problems than the welfare mom or some old lady from NYC who needs a handout.

        I'm looking over your emails. I'll be in touch…..

  7. Phil says:

    My wife has just received a firm job offer with a good company on New Zealand, so we may be deciding on the flight option. Especially tempting as it comes with perm residency…

    • Robert Ringer RJR says:

      Take it. You'll never regret it unless there are reasons why you need to be in the U.S. Even though NZ is a socialist country, it is small enough for the tens of thousands of individualists to be able to keep the lid on. They basically humor and pacify the radical left.

  8. joesugar says:

    To your quote, "If you do decide to become involved in a crusade, just make certain that you do so for rational reasons…" I would add "and don't be afraid to walk away when those reasons no longer apply." I wish I had back all the hours I lost before figuring that one out.

  9. Thomas Sleeva says:

    Great post on individualism (As usual).
    The Thieves and Parasites ALL engage in perpetual group thiink and group think. "Hey, it's for the children" immediately comes to mind. This ALL comes under "Tyranny of the Weak".

  10. Kerry says:

    I started a nonprofit organization and I turned it into a worldwide movement to protect the environment, with supporters in 59 countries. I have enriched the lives of tens of thousands of kids, provided teachers with educational materials they could not acquire elsewhere, and given hope for endangered wildlife species. Long after I am gone, my vision will continue, and that is from having trained and inspired countless people who are not content to see the world destroyed. Environmental destruction does exist and technology will not protect the world's wildlife species unless there are people who care about them. Find something you believe in and don't let the naysayers stop you from making the world a better place.

    • himagain says:

      Kerry, "Never hide your light under a bushell" is a wise old saying.
      WHO are you, where are you, HOW did you do it?
      ( See next person's comment below….)

  11. george says:

    I once helped a poor girl, 10 years old burned in a gasoline fire in the Philippines.
    Her face and chest were a big scar of melted flesh. 2 churches took up her cause. I sent pictures
    and sent them to one of the churches. They collected money. I asked them to send the girl $300 to buy
    clothes for a trip to the USA for surgery. They never sent a penny.
    They kept telling me they wanted do "The wise thing." After a couple months,
    I realised they were going to keep the money.
    I then recommended they use the money locally to help someone. They got angry at me after that LOL. My friend was a member of the church. I wonder what they did with the money? I am not against Christians or churches.

    • himagain says:

      George, don't give up. MOST of those "Charities" are simply job creators for a few. First move is to check whether they are really "on the ground" wherever.
      (Most aren't) If serious, Church "outreach" groups that work from exclusive volunteers are second best to medical help groups like Mercy Ships and Medicin Sans Frontiers, who ARE on the ground out there.

  12. george says:

    I took picture.. (NOT SENT )

  13. Scott theczech says:

    I know, I know… but it would be a lot easier to take on the, e.g., IRS if I had some help from my fellow "voluntary tax" [payers]!

  14. himagain says:

    THIS article by Mr Ringer is excellent. I will be pointing others to it.
    He must be very smart – he agrees with me………………….. :-)