Don't Just Give Thanks. Pay It Forward One Act Of Kindness At A Time

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

It’s been a hard, heart-wrenching, stomach-churning kind of year filled with violence and ill will.

It’s been a year of hotheads and blowhards and killing sprees and bloodshed and takedowns.

It’s been a year in which tyranny took a step forward and freedom got knocked down a few notches.

It’s been a year with an abundance of bad news and a shortage of good news.

It’s been a year of too much hate and too little kindness.

Now we find ourselves approaching that time of year when, as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln proclaimed, we’re supposed to give thanks as a nation and as individuals for our safety and our freedoms.

It’s not an easy undertaking.

How do you give thanks for freedoms that are constantly being eroded? How do you express gratitude for one’s safety when the perils posed by the American police state grow more treacherous by the day? How do you come together as a nation in thanksgiving when the powers-that-be continue to polarize and divide us into warring factions?

It’s not going to happen overnight. Or with one turkey dinner. Or with one day of thanksgiving.

Thinking good thoughts, being grateful, counting your blessings and adopting a glass-half-full mindset are fine and good, but don’t stop there.

This world requires doers, men and women (and children) who will put those good thoughts into action.

It says a lot (and nothing good) about the state of our world and the meanness that seems to have taken center stage that we now have a day (World Kindness Day) devoted to making the world more collectively human in thoughts and actions. The idea for the day started after a college president in Japan was mugged in a public place and nobody helped him.

Unfortunately, you hear about these kinds of incidents too often.

This is how evil prevails: when good men and women do nothing.

By doing nothing, the onlookers become as guilty as the perpetrator.

It works the same whether you’re talking about kids watching bullies torment a fellow student on a playground, bystanders watching someone dying on a sidewalk, or citizens remaining silent in the face of government atrocities.

There’s a term for this phenomenon where people stand by, watch and do nothing—even when there is no risk to their safety—while some horrific act takes place (someone is mugged or raped or bullied or left to die): it’s called the bystander effect.

Historically, this bystander syndrome in which people remain silent and disengaged—mere onlookers—in the face of abject horrors and injustice has resulted in whole populations being conditioned to tolerate unspoken cruelty toward their fellow human beings.

So what can you do about this bystander effect?

Be a hero, suggests psychologist Philip Zimbardo.

Be an individual. Listen to your inner voice. Take responsibility.

Recognize injustice. Don’t turn away from suffering.

Refuse to remain silent. Take a stand. Speak up. Speak out.

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation,” stated Holocaust Elie Wiesel in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in 1986.


“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.”

Unfortunately, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, too many Americans have opted to remain silent when it really matters while instead taking a stand over politics rather than human suffering.

That needs to change.

I don’t believe people are inherently monsters. We just need to be more conscientious and engaged and helpful.

The Good Samaritans of this world don’t always get recognized, but they’re out there, doing their part to push back against the darkness.

For instance, earlier this year in Florida, a group of 80 people formed a human chain in order to rescue a family of six—four adults and two young boys—who were swept out to sea by a powerful rip current in Panama City Beach. One by one, they linked hands and stretched as far as their chain would go. One by one, they rescued those in trouble and pulled each other in.

There’s a moral here for what needs to happen in this country if we only can band together and prevail against the riptides that threaten to overwhelm us.

Here’s what I suggest.

Instead of just giving thanks this holiday season with words that are too soon forgotten, why not put your gratitude into action with deeds that spread a little kindness, lighten someone’s burden, and brighten some dark corner?

I’m not just talking about volunteering at a soup kitchen or making a donation to a charity that does good work, although those are fine things, too.

What I’m suggesting is something that everyone can do no matter how tight our budgets or how crowded our schedules.

Pay your blessings forward.

Engage in acts of kindness. Smile more. Fight less.

Focus on the things that unite instead of that which divides. Be a hero, whether or not anyone ever notices.

Do your part to push back against the meanness of our culture with conscious compassion and humanity. Moods are contagious, the good and the bad. They can be passed from person to person. So can the actions associated with those moods, the good and the bad.

Even holding the door for someone or giving up your seat on a crowded train are acts of benevolence that, magnified by other such acts, can spark a movement.

Imagine a world in which we all lived in peace.

John Lennon tried to imagine such a world in which there was nothing to kill or die for, no greed or hunger. He was a beautiful dreamer whose life ended with an assassin’s bullet on December 8, 1980.

Still, that doesn’t mean the dream has to die, too.

There’s something to be said for working to make that dream a reality. As Lennon reminded his listeners, “War is over, if you want it.”

The choice is ours, if we want it.


Bes jbvtme Thu, 11/23/2017 - 10:35 Permalink

hahahahathis article is a joke here on zh-------a place that has degenerated to the point of genocide being touted constantly-------and where morons look the other way as Trump builds the MIC, Wall Street, the Police/Prison State, Saudi Arabia, and Israelbecause he insults citizens on twitter-----fucking pathetic

In reply to by jbvtme

ILIKEMITTENS jbvtme Thu, 11/23/2017 - 09:51 Permalink

Amen. Good lookin out.Thank you for the holocaust. Thank you for letting me know why. I wish it had of been real and more had died. Unfortunately, only about 600k of the filthy theiving decieving manipulating vermin were ever brought to justice.  Thank you that i now know they brought it on themselves and deserved that and much more. And still do.Thank you for .308 and 5.56.Thank you for silver and gold that hasnt yet been stolen by the zooish animals.Thank you for allowing iran to obtain better nuclear weapons technology.Thank you.

In reply to by jbvtme

Tzanchan Thu, 11/23/2017 - 09:31 Permalink

Oh yeah and next time I'm on the bus and 4 guys from the hood are giving $#!t to some goth girl, I'll step forward and say, "Gentlemen, please leave the nice lady alone," whereupon I am set upon by them stabbed 37 times and left to bleed out before I can even pull out my carry piece. Can't brandish it first, just sayin'...Yeah I know all about the Burger King commercials in the UK, with the abused Whopper, but it wouldn't be so bad if some punk ass kid behind the counter was kneading me instead of some punk asses maiming/killing me for speaking up for the girl in the hijab.

Number 9 Thu, 11/23/2017 - 09:42 Permalink

The good guy at a disadvantage because we have a law that states we can't shoot first and ask questions later. To be The Shining Knight in armor this day and age means you will be descended upon by hordes violent leftists screaming feminist pissed off politicians crooked judges hungry lawyers and a justice system that depends on fleecing you for its existence. My advice is keep your head down keep your guns loaded keep your powder dry and if the time comes that you must be the hero kill everybody in the fucking room.

e_goldstein Thu, 11/23/2017 - 09:43 Permalink

Happy Thanksgiving to the Tylers, Sacrilege (or whoever is keeping the place running these days), Banzai, Hedgeless, the other contributors and all the space monkeys in the peanut gallery. Stay safe and enjoy your holiday.

Ms No Thu, 11/23/2017 - 09:54 Permalink

"I don’t believe people are inherently monsters. We just need to be more conscientious and engaged and helpful....People are not inherently monsters but psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists are.  They also have control.  We cannot afford to be in denial of this, nor will being engaged and helpful work when dealing with them, it's actually how they thrive.  For every good deed you do they can kill a million and they have to be seen for what they are and dealt with.  This forced positivity and Tony Robbins rose colored glasses movement has that all wrong and you'll notice it was highly promoted by the MSM.  It's more important to have faith in yourself then to believe that all people are good.  This shows up in all the research involved in these types of things and believe me, I have read damn near all of it.  Confidence is far more related to outcome, not delusion (there is a difference in one you can except negative possibilities but remain confident and upbeat.  The other is just delusional unicorn shit) although sometimes that can be helpful in the beginning for our poor self esteem populations because it often helps to fake it until you make it. Another thing that correlates with better outcomes is not collapsing on future outcomes, similar to how scientists are supposed to behave, you can make predictions or see possible negative outcomes (because you have to not to be delusional and irresponsible) but don't be convinced that they are coming.  Sit back and wait without being attached to the result, anything could happen.  Don't get attached to the result of your efforts and possibly affect the collapse possibilities.  It also has very little to do with the conscious mind deciding to only see the positive.  It's all in the subconscious mind which is primarily programmed in altered states.  If you think about it these newager types are always trying to force positivity in some desperate manner and it's just an indication of how scared they actually are underneath (I know this because I have spent way too much time around Sedona and you can't miss it with them).  You can't fool the subconscious like that.This world requires doers, men and women (and children) who will put those good thoughts into action. "I am going to have to be a tad contrarian on this as well.  Yes, action is good and far too many people do nothing but it is more application of knowledge, or working smarter and not harder. You would also be amazed, and very likely not believe, what you can accomplish by doing very little physically by having a positive effect on the subconscious of others. It's a long story. Here is a book from the 1800s that very correctly explains these things and how they discovered it with hypnosis and suggestion research.  A tremendous amount of money has been spent on this research and it never hits psychology text books because the shit is always classified.  A very good possibility for many of us giving a shit and thinking differently then the general public could be that we don't tend to be perpetual TV viewers.  That or we are somehow more resistant to the effects of constant suggestion, maybe both.   

Number 9 Ms No Thu, 11/23/2017 - 10:05 Permalink

The way I see it and how it should be in my opinion is everybody should be depended upon to furnish their own security to what ever they can afford. The blatant disarming of the poor that can't afford a gaggle of armed bodyguards is what causes situations like the mugging of the Japanese man who didn't have the means to protect himself. Now if this Japanese man was carrying a long sword in a cane, whipped it out and chop these fuckers heads off that would be Justice. Soon enough as the atrocities escalate people will realize it's time to quit depending upon others and take their security matters into their own hands the laws be damned.

In reply to by Ms No

Ms No Number 9 Thu, 11/23/2017 - 10:39 Permalink

True.  Many problems could be solved by encouraging people to defend themselves as opposed to calling the cops to open an investigation that will never be solved.  Of course the highly secured tyrants need to be taken down and see trial as well.  That's a tougher problem I guess.  They usually don't die well though so that must really suck for them. 

In reply to by Number 9

BandGap Thu, 11/23/2017 - 09:59 Permalink

Adopt a local family for Christmas.Donate time or money to the local food pantry. Or both. Be humbled by the diversity of our world.Thank God every day for what you have, including the love of others.Listen to some funk and be thankful for the 60s & 70s.

Dilluminati BandGap Thu, 11/23/2017 - 10:16 Permalink

Take care of yourself first, but yes take the extra annually to a local church, go through your clothes and if you are not going to wear it: DONATE IT.  Remember that for the grace of God that could be you and acknowledge that you put up with more shit, sometimes just STFU and put up with abrasive people but that that is what being an adult is all about.  remember there is no garuntees in health and career.. so humility and empathy at the holidays is critical for setting a pattern of expectations that you want your children to follow so they are prepared.  I did the foodbank.. we got allot of tomatoes this year so they got allot at the bank allong with four other boxes of canned goods.   As a tip: consolidate all of your bills possible to a cash back card, if you or your spouse travelsfor business and expense, offer to pickup the tab.. track that cash back and prep..   Cut the cord and share the wealth with small local vendors.. but yeah this time of year food banks and clothes though we take them for granted aren't a given.. unless we give.    People are lonely.. if you know of a family member alone.. invite them.. even if it is an inconvenience if you will

In reply to by BandGap

Dilluminati Thu, 11/23/2017 - 10:05 Permalink

I have carried chairs up a flight of steps, gotten a bench out of the garage and put a comforter on it for skinny people: we're seating by weight.  Crushed garlic 12-cloves, cooked down 5lb of bacon, did the giblets and stuff (whatever they leave inside a turkey isssh) for gravy, prepped 8lbs of brussel sprouts, greased down a turkey and rubbed it down with olive oil, and will have to peel potatoes here soon.  Now that the Turkey is off the shelf in the fridge will go down for some more rolling rock and raging bitch beer (keep it redneck or best of the IPA's), fill the bottom freeze with store bought ice.. we are country have our own well.. and then tune to TV to football.. so I done enough for others: now looking like 20.   If the best by date is within 6 mos I donate off of my prepper shelves, I dropped off close to 30 dollars in canned meats last week.  There were 4 daks in there somebody is going to eat probably today.  Put up with some and some not so snooty former coworkers but was sincere in my hopes they are happy, health safe the new year.. maybe except the vegetarian (they're special).  But you can't fix big world problems, these types of challenges been around since mankind, can't make everyone happy so be honest to yourself.  I don't even pretend to have the answers to allot of the big questions, just my prejudices when you get right down to it whhich are often self-serving.   My hope for the day is to possibly get a couple hours at the range and run a couple 100 rounds through targets.  If the game sucks before the sun sets.. I'm going to steal an hour and practice weak hand shooting.  I attended a brown belt ceremony Tae Kwon Do for daughter this week, three belts to go.. but she can take care of herself, my son 25 I bought a 357 for this last 1/2 year.   Most people cannot take care of themselves and the only person I relly upon is my spouse who I kept telling "put down the knife" as we squabbled this mornning in the kitchen, we cant seem to agree on the amount of time and temperature for optimal turkey cooking and is the bible.  Nothing matters but family.. people get confused on that topic, but when you really think about it.. nothing else matters and when it is all said and done the others probably won't be there.  It's a strange world.. I was reflecting as I walked up to the store where I had bought the canned good, and inside the entrance was a huge bin like for pumpkins and dropped of the donated food.. that I had probably bought allot of it there previously.. but charity starts at home.You can't fix the world.  Fix yourself as much as that is possible.  Stay away from drugs.  You do drugs you're a cocksucker, not because it is illegal but because it's stupid.  Charity starts at home, be kind.. don't be that cocksucker in the news fighting, shooting, stabbing someone at the dinner table.. those folks are on drugs.  Drive safe and don't drive like a cocksucker..  Season's Beatings fellow ZH 

Dilluminati Number 9 Thu, 11/23/2017 - 10:23 Permalink

I don't drink to drunkness.. and yeah I like a raging bitch beer like a cold, damn cold rolling rock in the bottle on a hot day when I have finished cutting my lawn... I don't connect having a beer with opiods, dope, or crack, heroin, etc.. and if you can't manage your drinking you're irreponsible and a cocksuckerAnd finally I never allow somebody to pawn off their problems onto me.. don't pour too much stupid oil in yourself, but yeah I'm heading down to buy some raging bitch right now.. so fuck you instead on this holiday! lulzOn a real hot day.. that rolling rock has a sweet corn taste to it.. but yeah I like a cold beer and I don't do drunk

In reply to by Number 9

Number 9 Dilluminati Thu, 11/23/2017 - 11:01 Permalink

So tell me there High and Mighty anti-drug Man. Who would you rather face the teenager on a fifth of tequila or the teenager that smoked a doobie 10 minutes ago while driving his dad's F350 Ford?Oh and by the way I don't give a fuck about your drinking habits I talking about others so I don't need any of your fucking preaching on the dangers of drugs savvy?And like the poster below me States get your ass to Facebook if you're trolling for likes with your inflated ego and quest of vanity 

In reply to by Dilluminati

Dilluminati Number 9 Thu, 11/23/2017 - 11:06 Permalink

I never had any control over what some other stupid cocksucker does, including you.  If this is your weed ought to be legal infantile rant moment well let me say that I agree with you.  It ought to be damn legal for you to shoot heroin.  But don't call the whaaambulance for cleanup in your life aisle when it all falls to fucking shit.  Again let me be real fucking succinct: I care up until it is rational and wouldn't argue with any unless I cared.  Now to your ingantile "lurid and insidious" argument, your proposition: "what would rather face" a dirty deek in your mouth at Thanksgiving or a washed one?  Either way.. you're a cocksucker.  You know I could have damn well of have thrown the canned goods out, not bought a beer.. you are that liberal scum hollering about your preferences or judgements upon behaviors, where your preferences are prejudices.  So in all holiday cheer fuck you...  lulz  "what would rather face"If you have a fucking statement then simply make it.  I think there is no evidence which would support criminal marijuana as being more detrimnetal than alcohol which is legal."what would rather face"  a 357 with a 200 grain hot hand load or a fucking baseball bat to the head after whinning about some slippery liberal relativism bull shit?  Let me straight up.. people with that goofy fucking stupid grin from being high I find annoying.. I don't do the shit.. wouldn't if it were legal.. is that straight forward enough?  You myst be a millenial the way you did your argument.  Cocksucker

In reply to by Number 9

Dilluminati Arrest Hillary Thu, 11/23/2017 - 11:33 Permalink

I'm just warming up for the guests that tell me how wonderful the affordable care act is.  lulz..  That is the problem with the world.  I don't even pretend to have the answers to allot of the big questions, just my prejudices when you get right down to it whhich are often self-serving. I was driving to the airport and stuck in traffic Tuesday and this woman was on CSPAN and with a straight face (being serious) advocating censorship at 4chan and reddit, why you would ask?  (she disagrees!)… is the article… is the segmentBut seriously we are now a nation more intollerant of a competing meme where even pepe the frog is a threat simply due to disagreeing.. and then there is the framing of the argument: "what would you rather face" a succinct example of framing the argument when supposedly discussing the health impacts of substances?  But the difference in this year at Thanksgiving is the struggle for the narrative.   Look I'm not in the business of "answers", just calling people cocksuckers!Unless it is of course referencing Hillary who I always refer to as "ridiculous cunt."But yeah have a Happy Thanksgiving.. go easy on the family, they are all I really have if I'm truthfull

In reply to by Arrest Hillary

california chrome Thu, 11/23/2017 - 10:25 Permalink

Now we find ourselves approaching that time of year when, as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln proclaimed, we’re supposed to give thanks as a nation and as individuals for our safety and our freedoms.----I too give thanks to ZH --for the freedom to safely laugh at wherever my mind takes me.  I have never laughed as hard in my life as I have this year, reading the comment sections at ZH.  The tears and makeup running down my face sometimes make it almost impossible to see my monitor.  It is the kind of laughter I experienced before becoming sober 21 years ago from Cannabis, my drug of choice.  Laughter is one of those sacred, spiritual experiences in which the body and mind are deeply connected. It feels so good to laugh.  You have wonderful minds and I feel priveledged to overhear your thoughts you give shape to in the privacy of your home.So thank  you.  Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving.

Jasher Thu, 11/23/2017 - 10:12 Permalink

If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.18 Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion. 19 Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God. 20 For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart.