Assuming that all US schools are still teaching some American and World History, it appears that some of our young adults just did not understand it. Or perhaps it is logic and critical thinking they have missed. According to the Gallup Organization, since 2010, about 50 percent of our young adult’s view socialism positively.
I am writing today to link the presence of service clubs to the existence of personal freedoms in general and specifically those related to capitalism as an economic system. Rotary International, the world’s first such club was founded in 1905 in Chicago. Since then, many more have been formed. These include Kiwanis, Lions, and Sertoma that I am aware of in the area.
What makes them possible? Our constitutionally guaranteed right of free association and our relatively high levels of income. Since we are free to choose our pursuit of higher education, field of productive work, and how to spend the compensation we receive, human nature causes us to band together and to attempt to improve our environment, both for ourselves and for millions we will never know.
I often think back to 1985 when Rotary International’s Board at its world convention in Kansas City decided to take the challenge of eradicating polio from the rest of the world. In my younger 30’s at the time, I was amazed that any organization would make that attempt. Since Rotary is about Service Above Self, it only makes sense that all others, not just Americans, would want their children and descendants to be free of this scourge.
After contributing and getting buy-in from wealthy donors and governments, we have spent billions to vaccinate children everywhere on earth. We have been 99.9 percent successful thus far. Unfortunately, conditions of war and distrust have left the virus alive in Afghanistan and Pakistan through the limited number of children who have not received the drops. Almost all foot soldiers in this battle have been volunteers serving without pay, but motivated by care and concern.
Rotary’s Six Causes are Promoting Peace, Fighting Disease, Providing Clean Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Saving Mothers and Children, Supporting Education and Growing Local Economies. There are more than 1.4 million volunteers in more than 46,000 local clubs in 130 countries.
Since Rotary is self-governing and members are usually paying their own way, socialist countries such as Communist China, Laos, North Korea, Russia, and Viet Nam do not allow clubs to exist or flourish. If leaders in these countries want you to have an idea, the Party will give it to you and any money necessary will be exacted from the sweat of its equally miserable citizens.
Here in Independence, the older Rotary Club is holding its 8th Mardi Gras celebration this Saturday to benefit the work of the Fairmount Community Center and the Northwest Community Development Corporation, headquartered at 217 S. Cedar in Independence. We hope that over $300,000 net will be raised to help this, the most challenged part of the city. Previously the event has funded Polio Plus, the Uptown Market, the Truman Library improvements, and Kansas City Scholars program among others.
Freedom allows us to help others in the best ways that our talents and resources permit. We do not need any government sanction to do so.