YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE: The Heroic Potential Within Us All by Earl Babbie

YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE: The Heroic Potential Within Us All

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A plug for personal responsibility in the public domain--vs. apathy, disillusion, cynicism--built around tales of modern heroes, sung and unsung. Babbie is an est-connected California sociologist, active in Werner Erhard's Hunger Project (and Zero Population Growth), with a standard inspirational spiel. ""The choice for greatness, though it may carry risks and even some suffering, is fundamentally a joyous undertaking."" ""You and I are the heroes who will save America and the world."" The examples of individual outreach range from 11-year-old Philadelphian Trevor Ferrell's blankets-for-the-homeless to Maine age-mate Samantha Smith's letter to Andropov, and from Martin Luther King to Helen Caldicott. There are stories of public-service workers' personal involvement, and of prisoner commitments. Babbie chronicles responses to his world-hunger appeal: young children wanting to ""do something right away,"" preteens ready to organize, college students embarking on lengthy discussions, older persons ""not feeling they make a difference."" Says Babbie to one such: ""I guess you have to weigh how much you want to end hunger against how much you don't want to look stupid."" From a college course he gave, there are also examples of fixable problems--one student heroically unplugged a public toilet, another tenaciously bearded the transportation bureaucracy. Oversimplification is rife--but can-do instances abound too.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1984
Publisher: St. Martin's