Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: How can you be so supportive of what you and Abraham Lincoln and Steven Pinker call “the better angels of our nature” when the news of the world is so depressing and so full of stories about dishonesty, hypocrisy, cheating, violence, barbarity, and savagery?

A: The best way to answer that question is to request that you pay attention to the materials on our website, in our You Tube clips, and in our educational materials. Meanwhile, please remember that what you see on the news is not normal – that’s why it’s called “news.” Also remember that people who peddle dramatic imagery of violence and barbarity in mass media are exploiting the natural human instinct, developed over millions of years, to pay close attention to threats, signs of danger, and violent outbursts of sound and fury. They are making lots of money exploiting us that way.

Q: Why should I join Our Better Angels for $20 per year in order to support my own Good Cause when I can send my own Good Cause $20 directly and be done with it?

A: The best answer to that question is that the Better Angels Community pitches in to help you multiply your support by celebrating and promoting your Good Cause through our website, our You Tube channel, our social media, free Internet advertising, and our perpetual, reciprocal, worldwide crowd-funding process, all of which add up to at least $150,000 worth of support to our whole Better Angels Community. At Our Better Angels, we encourage generosity and altruism whenever and wherever possible, but we also recognize the power of a community to support a Good Cause WAY beyond the power of an individual. Joining the Better Angels Community means that you not only help us support your own Good Cause directly, but you also agree to help us help you help your own Good Cause indirectly by inviting others to join the Community. Our founders at the Wisconsin Leadership Institute (WLI) encourage, support, and celebrate collaborative leadership in all of its positive manifestations; when you join the Better Angels Community and agree to make a good-faith effort to invite others to follow your example, you are acting as a collaborative leader. The world needs unselfish collaborative leaders, and we try to support and develop them within the Better Angels Community.

Q: Will OBA address political issues? Will OBA encourage member Angels to express their opinions on political issues?

A: OBA will encourage member Angels to express their opinions on issues they care about, but we will avoid political partisanship as much as possible. In fact, we see political partisanship, and ideology in general, as major obstacles to clear thinking and wise decision-making. The tendency to make snap judgments and to accept uncritically the beliefs of people in our own tribes is in fact part of our ancient, pre-civilized heritage. We will encourage member Angels to think slowly, think twice, and then think again. This does not mean that we will always avoid commenting on political issues, since political issues are ultimately based on moral and humane values. Why not join in and find out how it works for yourself?

Q: What do you get for joining the Better Angels Community?

A: In a word, opportunities. In six points, your $20 annual subscription gets you:

  • An opportunity to participate in a global improvement movement
  • An opportunity to support your favorite Good Causes
  • An opportunity to grow your own personal Better Angels Community
  • An opportunity to help others help others
  • A healthy sense of meaning and purpose in your life
  • An occasional squirt of oxytocin, a brain chemical that promotes caring and trust

 

Q: I will gladly give more than $20 per year to support my favorite Good Causes. Why should I limit myself to just $20 per year? And why should I limit myself to just one Good Cause?

A: That’s two good questions. You can give as much as you want to all the Good Causes you want to support as often as you’d like. That’s completely up to you. You can also donate as much as you want to support the Better Angels Community itself in return for a tax deduction from the IRS, since we are a 501c3 nonprofit organization sponsored by the Wisconsin Leadership Institute. Your $20 annual subscription to OBA, however, is the heart and soul of the Better Angels Community, since we are more interested in building a large community of small donors than attracting a small cadre of large donors. (We are not happy about the influence of big money in modern cultures.) Your annual subscription(s), backed up by a little effort to invite your family members, friends, associates, organizations, and additional Good Causes to join the OBA Community can multiply your own membership dues many times over. If you persuade a local service club to join the OBA Community, for example. that club can then invite its own members to join, who can then invite lots of others to join, and so forth. Pretty soon people who live thousands of miles away and never heard of your local service club will be supporting it unawares.

Q: If I successfully challenge a bunch of new Angels and they successfully challenge a bunch of new Angels and so on, how will I be able to keep track of everyone in my personal Angel Community and how will I be able to make sure everybody’s subscription fees are going where they are supposed to go?

A: We will be tracking memberships and payments, so you won’t have to. That’s one of our primary responsibilities. If you participate significantly in the OBA system, of course, you will want to keep track of things for yourself as well, and we welcome the verification of our own accounting. OBA will keep track of the new Angels you invite and the dues they pay. We won’t be sending small checks to Good Causes frequently, since that would add to our overhead and would not help our Good Causes anyway; rather, we aggregate the amounts accruing from member Angel dues and send out checks at the end of each calendar year or when the amounts owed reach $1,000 or more.