X-Message-Number: 10280
Date: Wed, 19 Aug 1998 11:51:14 -0400 (EDT)
From: Charles Platt <>
Subject: Volunteer Help

Chris Fideli wrote:

> In cryonet post #10121, I made what I considered to be a reasonable 
> argument for the wisdom of retaining representation for congressional 
> lobbying.  My argument was neither dismissed nor refuted, but just left 
> to hang there, sort of twisting in the wind.

Possibly because someone else had made the same suggestion relatively
recently, on sci.cryonics, where it was debated for a while. Opinions
ranged from "Good idea, we should do it, but we don't have any money for
this purpose" to "Bad idea, cryonics is safer if it maintains a low
profile; the last thing we want is to bring cryonics to the attention of
legislators who may try to regulate it or outlaw it completely, once they
understand what it's about." 

I tend to sympathize with the second statement, because politicians
generally do favors only for special-interest groups that have some clout
(i.e. money and members). Why should any politician bother with a minority
as tiny as the cryonics movement (fewer than 1000 people worldwide)? Also,
bear in mind the possibility that a legislator might feel it would be
politically popular to come out AGAINST cryonics. Lastly, you'd better be
very clear regarding the political favors you are seeking. What do we
really need right now, from federal or state legislators? I can't think of
anything. But I'm open to suggestions. 

> And this is a question I've asked a couple of the members of cryonics
> organizations that I've come in contact with: "Anything I can do to 
> help? No one seemed to have any ideas for me.  Here I am, a 24 year 
> old kid willing to work for free!  I've never been involved in an 
> organization in my life that didn't jump all over an offer for 
> volunteer work.  

I don't think you made your offer to me, or anyone else at CryoCare. If 
you did, and you didn't get a satisfactory response, please remind me of 
the details. I apologize if we were unresponsive.

Personally I am a bit cautious about relative newcomers promoting
cryonics. You need to be able to answer fairly technical questions about
cryobiology, procedures used by transport teams, perfusion, insurance,
corporate bylaws, and trust funds, to pick a few topics at random. I'm not
saying that volunteers can't do this; just that it is nontrivial. Of
course there are simpler tasks too--but they may require the volunteer to
be at a specific location. (I don't know where you are located.)

I am not trying to be discouraging, because I'm usually able to find an
application for some special skill in any volunteer who presents
him/herself. I'm merely suggesting some reasons why your offer may not
have been taken up eagerly by organizations that you approached, if you
expressed the specific intention to "sell" cryonics. 

Please email me if you have any further interest. In particular I would 
be very happy to find any volunteer who can deal reliably with billing, 
electronics hardware, or computer programming. But, that may not be what 
you want to do.

--Charles Platt ()
CryoCare Foundation

PS. You mention that other organizations usually leap at the opportunity
to use volunteer help. Actually this has not been my experience when
dealing with the ACLU, Libertarian Party, and a few other nonprofit
groups. Usually the group is skeptical and requires the volunteer to
prove himself in some way (maybe just by hanging around for a while).

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