Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Quote for the Day

"Liberty cannot be caged into a charter or handed on ready-made to the next generation. Each generation must recreate liberty for its own times. Whether or not we establish freedom rests with ourselves." -- Florence Ellinwood Allen

On Liberty Pt. 3 (Personal Responsibility)

Personal responsibility is perhaps the cornerstone of true liberty. It is not always easy for a person to say that "I am responsible for myself and my actions at all times", but this is the reality of life, and the sooner this is understood the sooner all people can start living free. How can such a simple statement be so powerful? If I am responsible for myself (my safety, well being, health, economic standing, etc...), then I will also be on the lookout for things that could harm my self interest and take the necessary measures to fix them.

Selfishness! In a way yes, but in the broader scope of things it works out differently. How do "selfishness" and "self-interest" actually coincide with a better community for all? If each person in a community were to be personally responsible for themselves and their actions then they would not do anything to jeopardize their "self-interests". This would include not committing crimes against people or property. This would also mean if I wanted to make money from my investment in my home that I would want to be on good terms with my neighbors. (Human nature is strange, make a friend and more often than not there will be friendly competition on a subconscious level. "I can make my lawn look better than his", or "Her flower garden is beautiful, but I bet I can outdo her"). However make an enemy and oftentimes out of spite they will let themselves go to make you look bad.

The best thing about personal responsibility is being in full control of your own life. If I do not have to depend on anyone for necessities then I am beholden to no one. As soon as you turn to someone else to take care of your needs, you are no longer the one in control of your life. You have chosen to allow someone else to control you and you are along for the ride. Do not misunderstand this in certain respects, charity in many instances is to help, if the charity is freely given. Once charitable contributions are forced (taxes) then there is a sudden rift between those being forced to be charitable and those choosing to accept the charity (tax money).

In a community where people are responsible for themselves charity is freely given, because each person usually realizes that things can happen. Homes can burn, crops can whither and die, fatal accidents do happen, sudden illness strikes, etc... In times like this it is best to turn to friends and neighbors for help. However if you have been responsible and charitable yourself, you will not have to turn far because help will usually be there before you even have to ask.