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Assessing our responsibilities outside the Ivory Tower

February 22, 2005 Articles, Princeton writings
Having a moral conscience is harmful to your wallet; it urges you to fight for social justice, often at the expense of a lucrative career.  For this reason, I wish that I were not held back by the mortgage of guilt in the inequality and destitution that I see in society. Although I have little sympathy for adults who make bad choices and end up on the short end of life, I cannot help but feel despair for those born into poor circumstances or saddled with bad luck in life. But why should I care about the welfare of strangers?  I am not burdened by the guilt of privilege.  I am neither tall, nor white, nor rich, nor blessed with beauty — traits that confer positive rewards to their owners.  If anything, the world has left me to die — literally and figuratively — more than once in my life (but I'm still kicking, although the lack of NHL hockey on TV is making me go insane!). Why should I fight against policies that will hurt the poor?  Regressive measures would have hurt me when I was young, when I was growing up as a poor immigrant child, but now…

Activism includes work for others

October 15, 2003 Articles, Princeton writings
Many people say that activism on campus is nonexistent. Without a doubt the Princeton climate does not provoke the kind of activism that is seen on other campuses like Harvard or Berkeley. Maybe we as ambitious Princeton students are so focused on "success" that we are too busy to care about other peoples' problems. Or maybe because we are smug in knowing that we attend an elite university and feel that the world should call on us. Nonetheless, every now and then you will see people demonstrating in front of Frist, or in the dining halls trying to collect signatures for a petition, etc. What little activism there is on campus, however, normally tends to be activism in one's own backyard. Now I certainly should not be criticizing anyone that takes time from his or her schedule to promote a good cause. But what bothers me is that there are not enough people who care about their fellow human beings, as a whole. Yes, the world is a messed up place and we need to focus our battles. But if we choose to ignore matters that do not directly affect us, then how are we any different from perpetrators of…




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