On Responsibility

Responsibility: A detachable burden easily shifted to the shoulders of God, Fate, Fortune, Luck or one’s neighbor. In the days of astrology it was customary to unload it upon a star. ~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary, 1911

A few weeks ago our cars were illegally entered into during the early morning hours, and some cash stolen and our belongings tossed about. Immediately, my husband called the sheriff and made a report. After reading the paper, it seems that others in our town have had the same thing happen to them. At this point, I got angry. It was obvious that all they were looking for was money, and although we don’t keep much in our cars, it was still ours, not theirs. How dare these hooligans steal something that does not belong to them? Are they not responsible enough to earn their own money?

The problem with responsibility is that it often requires that you do things that require effort. It is so much easier to live life without putting out much effort. But is it really? While it may seem easier for the person involved at the time, it is certainly not better, either for themselves or society as a whole. According to Henry Kissinger, “People think responsibility is hard to bear. It’s not. I think that sometimes it is the absence of responsibility that is harder to bear. You have a great feeling of impotence.” Removing responsibility from the populace does not make our society stronger; it makes it weaker and more dependent on government. But then again, maybe that is what our bloated government really wants.

While our politicians continue to vie for the creation of a dependent voting bloc, we here in the real world know that only we can be trusted with our own futures. The shambles that is our government today is evidence of what happens when we start shirking the responsibilities of life. Everyone needs to start taking responsibility for the future of our nation. No longer is it acceptable for people to cease being contributors to society, relying on the hard work of others to pick up their slack. Everyone has the right under the Constitution to pursue happiness, but in the words of Benjamin Franklin, “you have to catch it for yourself.”

Our founders knew that we were created for a higher purpose. Taking responsibility for our future is what gives us a sense of fulfillment and self-respect; and society ends up the better for it. Removing responsibility by giving more and more Americans access to the government dole not only breeds laziness, a sense of entitlement to the earnings of others, and a dangerous dependency on the state, it actually robs people of the opportunity to become what they were created to be. And when people are robbed of what they were created to be, everyone loses. Especially America.

“Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry is own weight, this is a frightening prospect.” Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962), First Lady of the United States from 1935 to 1945

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