‘Helping Professions’ has become an oxymoron

The following is a bit of a rant.  Spare yourself.  It’s a bit nuts.  I am getting weird.  I wrote it because I believe it.  Because it is true.  And, because I just went to help a non-profit deal with a landlord and came face to face with good humans doing good things but still putting money foremost in their considerations.  They have to, they think.  They are in the ‘money-making’ business and, as the one said, ‘gotta make a buck, eh?’.  I wanted to reply, “No.  You don’t gotta.  It’s a choice.  You can give as well as get, ya know?”

But I didn’t say that.  Waste of breath.  Foreign concept to the point of a foreign language.

But it made me think…..

If you help and get paid for doing so, aren’t you somewhat diluted in your kindness and caring account?  Are you helping someone or selling your service?  I mean, is a prostitute in the kindness and caring business?  And, if a prostitute is a moral sell out, what then is your doctor?  Your lawyer?  Your therapist?  What then of the institutions that control those professions and do so to maximize income for their members?  Are those institutions there for the benefit of society and community or to keep their members wealthy and from being strung up?

Quick gut check for an answer: how do you view the BCMA?  The Law profession?  POLITICIANS!  Courts?  Police?  Gotta lot o’ love, do ya? 

Short answer: Yeah, they care but they have been taught NOT to.  They have been counselled to ‘limit their caring’ or else they will burn out (which is partly true).  They have been advised to ‘makes sure to first get paid’, ‘fill in the form – get their name and identification number.’  The ‘client’ and their needs or problems is NOT where the attention is focused first.  Not ever!

Caring and humanity have left the building.

For the record: if you are hit by a car on the street outside the emergency room of a hospital, no one in the Emergency Department will attend.  Rules require an ambulance to bring the victim in.  For the record: if your 16 year old is strung out on heroin, you cannot legally snatch him/her and put them in treatment.  (Even if you accidentally hit a deer with your car and it is wounded, in pain and lying at the side of the road, you are not legally allowed to ‘put it out of it’s misery’).  Doing good?  First, get a permit.

None of those rule-following situations are there for the benefit of the victim or even the Good Samaritan trying to help.  They are there for the professionals that might be involved later down the process.  And those would be those ‘HELPING’ professionals.

Worst-named oxymoronic profession: Conservationist.  THEY kill animals!

A doctor friend of mine told me that when being interviewed by the BC Medical Association, the entire conversation was around how to ‘max out’ billing fees, get tax advice and set up RRSPs.  Nothing on the Hippocratic oath.  Nothing on patient care, nothing on making the system work better, nothing on ‘how to do a good job’.  It was all financial advice.

Another way to make the same point: If I do something nice for you and help you, you say thanks and we build a relationship and all is well.  If you pay me for the assistance, you are saying, “Here.  Take the money.  We are now even.  Goodbye.  Don’t call me, I’ll call you.  We are done here.”  If I take the money, I am saying, “Fine.  I agree.”    In effect, the monetary transaction served to separate us.  No relationship.  So, if money has that effect and the helping professions are all well-paid, are they really helping?  If so, who? Or, better put: ‘who first?’

I dunno.  I guess it is helping.  Kinda.  In a corrupted way.  But NOT with care, kindness, humanity or compassion.  More like ‘management’ than care.  It is business because of the monetary transaction.  And money separates us.  Is the ‘professional perspective’ only a money-getting one?  Helping by separation?  Is that even possible?

“Dave, what ARE you going on about?  Money is a necessary means of exchange and common to our way of life.  You are attributing traits and characteristics to it that are in your imagination.”

I guess.  Clearly it is a means of exchange.  Clearly people have to eat – even lawyers.  And clearly our means of distribution and service in large numbers requires that medium-of-exchange otherwise things would not get done.  I agree with all that.  It is just that in the helping professions care and humanity (and the original motivation) is ALSO severely eroded by the money exchange.  And money has that same affect everywhere.

Looking at an exaggeration as an illustration:  Trump wants people to pay ‘their fair share’.  Wants NATO to pay more.  Wants NOT to pay into the UN. The effect of holding off the dogs of war has no value to him.  Trump only knows how to measure life in money.  He has no decency, no manners, no morals, no honour.  He lies and he cheats.  And he is rich.  I dunno….those two aspects of the elite life seem to have a natural attraction…they seem drawn to one another.  Sociopaths and money go hand in hand.

They say a rich man can never get into heaven.  But it is a ticket into politics.  

Put yet another way, do you trust the super wealthy or powerful to be good people?  Well, do you?

Here’s what I really think…I think money was a necessary evil and I think it still is.  But it is evil.  At all sorts of levels, money is bad.  It IS convenient, I will give you that but it is MORE convenient for corporations and governments than it is for Bubba and Joe.  And governments and corporations are sociopathic by design.  The more we ‘value’ by money and ‘think’ with money, the more money plays a role in our life and makes our decisions for us.  And the more absorbed we are into the nightmare that we are currently seeing unfold with climate change and Trumpism and family erosion, drug use, street violence, terrorism, and on and on.

Money may be necessary but it is NOT benign.

Would giving up money and just ‘doing favours’ for one another work better?  Strangely, the answer is: that kind of behaviour does seem to work better way out here but, honestly, ‘doing favours’ cannot work without relationship and it is hard to have that in an urban setting.  Even harder when dealing with 7 billion people.  So, no.  Money is here to stay.  But the point of this rant is to say, “Do not love money.  Love people first.  Dogs second.  The planet is tied for first and second.  Money should be the last thing on a very long list. 

These days, it’s first.  And that madness is showing up a lot.

Jus’ sayin’…..  



13 thoughts on “‘Helping Professions’ has become an oxymoron

  1. ‘’Cupiditas sit radix omniun malorum.” The love of money is the root of evil. Chaucer in “Canterbury Tales” citing 1 Timothy 6:10. Chaucer had observed the selling of pardons by a Pardoner from Rome. Absolution from sin was for sale by the Pardoner.


  2. Does gun kill people or people kill people.
    I remember There was an interesting experiment done a while back. Wallet with money and ID was left in a poor neighborhood and a rich neighborhood. The percentage that got returned was more or less the same. Both poor and rich can be good and evil, the problem is not money, it’s people. Trump and Gates both have money, and yet they are doing wildly different things with it. The people I grew up with, including myself, were very poor. Some amongst us got rich, some were left behind. Those who were obnoxious, remained more so with money, and those who were benevolent, are contributing more.
    Oh , and for me, dogs come first.
    Jus’ sayin’ …. 😆


    • I agree with the point but, of course, disagree somewhat, anyway. Firstly, people are a common denominator present in all circumstances, and so I am talking about the variables. One could, I suppose, with intent and anger kill with water balloons or down pillows but rarely in a short-burst rage or even in a school or MCDONALDS. Guns make killing a lot easier. So guns are inherently and potentially more evil than water ballooons.. And the same is true for money. Not as much, of course. And rarely in the moment. But money is an easily misused tool and has, by means of corrupt capitalism , the tool-of-choice for bad people. And sociopathic institutions. My point is that the ascendancy of money from tool to weapon is evil and, worse, all too common.
      Bill Gates is noted as the exception that proves the rule.
      It is hard to claim greater poverty but I can assure you it would be a contest. We were poor in every way including living hand-to-mouth. Money/lack of it was an oppressor for my first three decades and by then, disrespected as part of the problem. And I think it still is. From life draining mortgages and student debt to poisonous landills filled with crap, we have abused and been abused by the system and the system is money based.
      Still, I agree with your point.
      And I am very pleased you write.


      • Thanks Dave, I am reading your old post from the start. I am now at October 2010. I am seriously considering getting a place around Campbell River,maybe not OTG, but on a piece of rock at least. 😆


  3. “Money doesnt by happiness but it sure makes misery easier to live with…..” Anonymous.

    Yeah I had a discussion something along those lines with a devout , born again Christian when he trapped me in my driveway , waxing my car.
    If I didnt believe in God…Hellfire awaits.
    So I asked, ” Sooo, if I’ve been good all my life, helped people, never hurt anyone, donated all my money to charity when I die….because I dont believe in God….I’m Damned?”
    “And if the most vile, brutal, evil, sadistic serial killer like Robert Pickton repents his sins and finds God on the eve of his death….he goes to heaven?”
    “Thats not very Christian!. We could all be mean and nasty to each other and repent at the last minute….and its all good? What kind of world would that be?

    I had him stuttering and spinning.


      • But Wing, “Is it religion that lies to the people or people who lie to the people?”
        Remember: Religion is to God what Safeway is to food. Marketing, packaging, processing and selling. And, in the whole process, unhealthy.


    • I know. I know. I really do know….I spent 12 years in social services. And the first few were entirely out of a sense of humanity. But then as the years mounted, I cared less. I still cared. But I cared less. Skid row, drug addiction, teen delinquency, refugees. It was too much. The tide of human misery was overwhelming. Finally, I moved out of it. But, all the while, I saw an industry based on suffering that brought none of the right ingredients to the recipe. And I see the same thing in the assembly-line doctors offices. I know, I know, ‘they gotta pay the bills’ but that mandate works against caring and the Hippocratic oath. We have a conflict of interest.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Which local politician dubbed some of the other politicians “poverty pimps”?
        I seem to recall |Jim Green managed to get a cushy job after retiring from the political arena and then landing a sweet apartment at the old \Woodwards condo rebuild…..


  4. Yeah, I guess so….poverty pimps…..but I don’t think of Jim Green or Jean Swanson in those categories. They didn’t do it for the money or the perks. They did it out of zealous moral battle. Like religious fanatics. They were true crusaders hell bent on setting a moral standard of their own design. And giving no mercy or quarter. They were of the belief that all was fair in hate and war. They would bankrupt and ruin in their political zeal. Truly nuts. Very ugly.
    Libby Davies was similar but more successful politically.
    To me it was the ministry social worker with a large caseload who did their job from a desk and left the office at 4:00, in their Volvo, to Kitsilano and went to professional seminars, government paid French lessons and didn’t give a flying about the people in their care. Those pros were legion. Real people dont work like that. Real people in need don’t respond to that.
    I know some real social work heroes. But not many.


  5. Wow what can I say after all that much of which I agree? When is enough money enough, apparently never? Just look at the corporations that moved to Mexico and Asia just as soon as they could to make even more money after NAFTA et all. “Corporations do not have a conscience it is all about making more money for their shareholders”. All the money removed from Canada so they can avoid taxes (by the way what has our government done about that)? All I can do is my little bit, joined a local Rotary Club in this case not a money club but a hands-on club mostly working to helping needy seniors and young people as best we can. I was raised by a single mom until she remarried when I was 8 we lived in rentals basement or attics all the while even after she remarried. My parents never owned a house or even a car the majority of years I lived at home. I was able to raise myself to the middle of middle class with the help of my wife. I would say I have had a wonderful life and am trying to give back. We were at a fundraiser last Thursday for yet another great cause, I mentioned that if I won the 50/50 I would donate it back to the cause I was virtually laughed at by the rest of the table oh well.


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