“Better to do nothing than to engage in localized acts whose ultimate function is to make the system run more smoothly. The threat today is not passivity, but pseudo-activity, the urge to “be active”, to “participate”, to mask the Nothingness of what goes on. People intervene all the time, “doing something”; academics participate in meaningless “debates,” etc.; but the truly difficult thing is to step back, to withdraw from it all. Those in power often prefer even “critical” participation or a critical dialogue to silence, since to engage us in such a “dialogue” ensures that our ominous passivity is broken. The “Bartlebian act” I propose is violent precisely insofar as it entails ceasing this obsessive activity-in it, violence and non-violence overlap (non-violence appears as the highest violence), likewise activity and inactivity (the most radical thing is to do nothing).
Slavoj Žižek, In Defense of Lost Causes
The Bezos backlash: Is ‘big philanthropy’ a charade? By Joe Miller, BBC Business Reporter
Don’t put a Band-Aid on cancer
“According to Anand Giridharadas, Mr Carnegie’s approach helped give rise to mass inequality.Mr Giridharadas, whose book Winners Take All tackles the so-called “charade” of modern philanthropy, characterises Carnegie’s approach as “extreme taking followed by extreme giving”.The super rich, he argues, stop short of “transforming the system atop which they stand”.While Mr Bezos’s donation is admirable, he says, it does not tackle the “deep and complex root causes” of homelessness and poverty in the US – which include Amazon itself, as the firm has been a beneficiary of the new world of precarious employment.A good motto for the likes of Mr Bezos, he suggests, would be: “Ask not what you can do for your country, ask what you have already done to your country.”