“Stranger rescues” and exploitation of altruism in the developed world.

Yesterday, commenter Ronald McDonald, noted the willingness of civilized First World inhabitants to lend a helping hand to strangers whose lives or safety are in danger. This was contrasted with the leering and voyeuristic Third World inaction that was to be witnessed in a video that appeared in the post under discussion.

Coincidentally there was a story in The Guardian this morning about a wheelchair-bound genius who decided to drive his wheelchair over the edge of a subway platform in Washington D.C. The video shows a couple of bystanders launch into action after they witness the tumble. They quickly join forces to lift the man out of danger and back up to the platform. He sustained facial injuries, but thankfully his body remains intact and there will be no subway conductors losing sleep tonight or seeking prolonged treatment for PTSD.

Of course, Ronald McDonald is correct in asserting that certain “cultures” appear more readily helpful and altruistic, especially as compared to the developing world. He cited several links to news stories illustrating such examples of stranger rescue.

However, watching this video illustrated one more thing that has not been said: each case of stranger rescue seems to involve the concomitant self-sacrifice on the part of people seeking to extinguish and neutralize utter stupidity.

In the video above, there is no other possible reason, besides stupidity, why someone would knowingly drive a wheelchair over the edge of a subway platform. In just about every instance involving those noble stranger rescues in the First World, there exists some very moronic people who put themselves in a position that required emergency assistance. Is this not emblematic of the civilized, democratic world? Altruism is exploited by by those with no sense, no morals and no brains.

The drawback of living in our civilized wonderland is the fact that we end up, in one form or another, picking up the slack of the leeches of society who gravitate toward helplessness and who are emboldened, even empowered, by such a generous system that seems riddled with naivete.

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