As Townsend and Cloud explain it, a proper understanding of one’s self, which necessarily requires a proper grasp of one’s personal “boundaries,” leads one to take responsibility for things that lie within one’s boundaries. My talents, my problems, my relationships, my feelings, my needs – these are all things that belong to me, and, thus, are all things that I must take responsibility for. Additionally, the Doctors explain that while individuals must be responsible for themselves, they must also be responsible to others with whom they are in relationships. And if people do not assume responsibility in these sorts of ways – or if people make the mistake of trying to take responsibility for things that do not lie within their boundaries - then, according to Townsend and Cloud, things can get severely out of whack.
So, beyond the fun and enjoyment of engaging in a bit of psychobabble, what does any of this have to do with our current President? Well, if we can apply the “boundaries” concept to the office that Barack Obama currently occupies, then we can say that Obama has responsibilities to the people of the United States of America. Whether or not he likes our nation and its heritage, his task is to defend America and its interests. And the interests of the entire world do not lie within Obama’s boundaries – in fact, sometimes the interests of the world are in conflict with the American interests that he must uphold.
Similarly, President Obama is not responsible for the entire Muslim world. He has spent considerable time and effort (and political capital) assuring the Muslim world that Americans are not their enemies, reiterating that American values and Muslim values are compatible, and treating Muslim terror suspects more nicely than his predecessor. Yet he is not deity, and he cannot simply speak things into existence. Similarly, it is not his job to convince the Muslim world to like us. His priority must be to fulfill his responsibilities to the United States, and to ensure that our collective national “boundaries” aren’t violated, and that our nation doesn’t get incinerated.
It’s interesting that the Psychologists Townsend and Cloud use an economic principle - the principle of private property ownership - to metaphorically illustrate a very basic and essential principle of human development. And for a President whose economic policies reflect a flagrant disrespect for private property rights, this concept of “personal boundaries” may seem foreign to Barack Obama.
But how much longer can America afford to wait, while President Obama figures out where his boundaries are?
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.