Today a friend sent me a link to Crowdrise, a new Web site to assist individuals and charities in fundraising and volunteering. It was founded by the actor, Ed Norton, and launched on May 12. My friend is promoting the page for the David Lynch Foundation, which is raising money to pay for school children to learn the Transcendental Meditation program. The TM program is not a religion and does not compete with any religion. There is a lot of research showing that it improves the ability to learn and there is new research showing that it is helpful for children and teens with ADHD and ADD. I’ve heard in-person the testimonials of a couple of teens who participated in the ADHD research when they were attending American University in Washington, D.C., and they were very moving and impressive. So I do think this is a worthy cause.
Crowdrise strikes me as an example of people on the Left not knowing they really are fiscal conservatives, not the socialists they think are. I am amused that the Left doesn’t seem to understand that one of the purposes of socialism is to kill all the projects that flourish as a result of the individual being allowed to keep enough of his or her own money to decide which charities to support and the liberty to choose which ones to volunteer for. Just in case any Lefties/liberals have stumbled in here and are puzzled by that statement, the backstory is that the point of socialism is to give the government control over most of your money and time on account of how smart people in government know better than you do how to spend your money and time. One result is that only the projects the government approves of get funded and done. The problem with this is that it causes stagnation because the distributed intelligence of crowdsourcing is millions of times more powerful and efficient than the intelligence of centrally planned anything, plus most endeavors would never get government funds. The detailed explanation is in The Road to Serfdom, by economist Friedrich Hayek.
Update, 5/15/2010, Sat.: Thanks to a post by Purple Avenger at Ace of Spades HQ on a group of students who are working on creating a site that will rival Facebook while preserving its users’ privacy, I found out about the site that allowed the young entrepreneurs to raise money for their venture online: Kickstarter.com. It allows creative people to raise money for their ventures, including publishing books, while keeping ownership of their project. I’m going to be looking into this — since my book on the conservative arguments for lesbian and gay equality is something that neither conservative nor mainstream (i.e., Leftie) publishers would be interested in, although it HAS a market, I’ve been thinking I need to turn to my readers and online marketing for the equivalent of the publisher’s advance. Dear gentle readers, what say you?