Today is Thursday, which means today is Debate Day here on Tossing It Out. I'm going to toss out the question to you, pose a few arguments, and then leave it to you to toss a response back to me. Here is todays question:
Are self-indulging vacations that involve leaving home and spending a lot of money selfish and socially irresponsible?
We are in an era of change, social responsibility, personal accountability--or at least that is what some would have us believe. Each of us impact our world by our actions. In absolute reality, the "fun" vacation of taking trips, going to touristy places, and spending lots of money to indulge ourselves and our families is not a necessity for us to survive. Why do we feel the need to have these unnecessary excesses in the name of relaxation and entertainment? Why might these types of vacations be a good thing?
With all the talk about "carbon footprints" and the like, it is probably important to assess the environmental impact of the travel entailed by vacations away from home. Said travel uses up fuel for no practical goal oriented purpose. Often energy used up at vacation destination is frivolous waste as it is sucked up by amusement and entertainment venues and travel for the sole purpose of seeing sights. If people stayed home instead of traveling to a vacation destination it is probable that a great deal of energy would be conserved. Also, one should consider the environmental damage done to more sensitive areas like national parks and similar destinations. Travel vacations are environmentally unfriendly.
These are economic hard times for many families. Many people are out of work, not to mention the huge financial hits that have been taken by many investors and homeowners. People should probably be putting money away for what may be hard economic times to come. Charging vacations to credit cards should not even be an option. And even those who feel a sense of financial confidence might be better off thinking of socially responsible ways to put their money to work helping others. Why should any of us be thinking about amusing ourselves with frivolity when so many in our communities are in need? At the very least perhaps it would make more economic sense to use our accumulated savings to invest in home improvements. Hire local out of work craftspeople and buy building supplies from local sources in order to provide some cash flow to our hometown economy. Investing in ourselves and our neighbors will have more long term benefits than accumulating a few photographs and memories.
Also, Americans should consider what kind of message our travel sends to the rest of the world. Do other countries really want to see Americans in their countries? Sure, they want our money, but does the money ultimately go to a good place and does money spent abroad help the U.S. economy. We may be very well supporting political regimes that would like to eventually see the U.S. put down. So far as spending our money in countries that are U.S. allies, the question as to whether it would be better to spend our money at home still arises.
If the financially able truly must go anywhere then they should consider the social significance of their travel choices. Volunteering for aid missions helping poorer countries to become better or rebuild after disasters would be a merciful activity that would be more important than mere pleasure seeking. Instead of going to Disneyland we should be taking our families to help build housing in poverty stricken areas. Cruises should be replaced by spending time on the frontlines feeding and caring for the homeless. Camping and hiking in the wilderness could be replaced with assisting farmers to bring in their crops. It's sad to be having fun and recreation when many other cannot afford it or don't have the time because they have to work so much.
What do you think? I've just tossed this argument out there as one side of the debate. I'm not going to say what my real stance on this debate question is because I want to hear your opinion. But I will give a hint by saying that the arguments that I've presented here would probably be embraced by some people, but I have approached it somewhat tongue in cheek. I don't want to say anything else right now. Tell me what you think about this topic.
Are you planning to go anywhere for a vacation this year? Where are you going? What do you like to do on vacation?