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Your Screwed Up Life Is Your Own Responsibility

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

“There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.”P.J. O’Rourke


“We seem to be moving steadily in the direction of a society where no one is responsible for what he himself did,but we are all responsible for what somebody else did, either in the present or in the past.”Thomas Sowell

It’s truly bizarre how often in Obama’s America that we are being presented with “victims” we’re supposed to feel sorry for without anyone even seeming to notice that they created their own dilemma with their bad behavior.

Just to name one of many examples, while we shouldn’t condone excessive force by the police, citizens dealing with the cops should also be expected to behave responsibly. Attacking a police officer or even resisting arrest is an inherently dangerous activity just like climbing Mount Everest. If you do any of those things, there is a not insignificant chance that you will be injured or even killed. Again, that doesn’t mean the police should have a get-out-of-jail-free card, but if you fought the law and the law won, MOST people won’t shed a lot of tears for you, nor should they.

Along similar lines, we already have a way for foreigners to enter this country legally and become American citizens. Millions have done exactly that and have been welcomed. On the other hand, millions have also crossed the border illegally. They did so knowing that the penalty for coming to this country illegally is deportation. On some level, it HAS TO BE deportation because if foreigners can cross our borders with impunity, then in effect, we no longer have borders. Yet, we’re supposed to feel sorry for people who broke the law and are now faced with a just penalty for breaking the law because it will disrupt their lives. If their lives are harder because they chose to break the law, isn’t it their fault for behaving so irresponsibly in the first place? Why should anyone expect the welcome mat to be rolled out for him after he’s entered a foreign country illegally?


Then there are the people making minimum wage who want more money, but don’t want to earn it. Rather than building their skills so they can be promoted or moving on to a better job, their solution is to ask the government to force their employers to pay them more than they’re worth. Why should someone who can be replaced by a 16 year old with two weeks of training get $15 an hour for his work? If you’re dirt poor and you don’t want to do what it takes to earn more money, then you deserve to stay poor – and no matter what the government does, you will probably get exactly what you deserve.

The same goes for college loans. If you went $100,000 in debt to get a degree in philosophy and can’t pay it back, whose fault is that? You had five kids by five different daddies and now you’re struggling to pay the rent? You don’t say! You have tattoos all over your forearms and neck and no one will hire you? Why, who could have guessed that you’d have such a problem?

What’s the reaction to saying things like this? Shock? Outrage? Accusations that you have no heart or you’re not compassionate?

What’s shocking about common sense? What’s outrageous about telling people that they’re better off if they behave responsibly? What’s compassionate about habitually excusing bad behavior that consistently leads to bad outcomes?


I don’t want anybody to get shot by the police, but it’s probably truthful to say that 99% of the people who do, whether they’re black, white, green, or purple, could have avoided it if they had behaved responsibly when they were confronted by the police. The same illegal aliens most conservatives would LOVE to see deported would be welcomed here as citizens if they respected our laws and did it the right way. Plenty of people who have made the minimum wage (myself included) move on to make a lot more money if they’re responsible enough to work smart, work hard and keep making themselves more valuable.

The problem with encouraging irresponsible behavior is the more you feed the beast, the more it grows. You’re not “helping people” by excusing behavior you find abhorrent. That kind of “help” decimates people and when it’s done on a large enough scale, it ruins societies.

In America, we’re getting to the point where we’re stepping all over the people who work hard and play by the rules to cater to the irresponsible. Instead of wagging our fingers at the people who make society work because they’re not giving enough, what’s wrong with asking all of us to take a minimum level of responsibility for our own lives before we start pointing the finger at other people?


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