The Death of Personal Responsibility

“…You gather a group of middle-aged, middle-class, middle-income voters who remember with longing an easier time…” – Andrew Shepherd from The American President.

           For those who may not have seen that movie, the context of that statement is that people would want to go back to the “good old’ days” when everything seemed to be better than it is now.

           So, the question is why? Why do people want to go back to when things were better? What is so different about today’s society from that of our parents’ or grandparents’ day? The difference is that people took personal responsibility for their lives. That is something in today’s political and social climate you don’t see enough of. And those who do are punished for it.

          The Declaration of Independence states that all men have the unalienable rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” (Emphasis added.) Well, it seems that is no longer the case. Ambition and self-reliance have been replaced by an attitude of entitlement. People feel—no, they believe they are entitled to happiness, they are entitled to the comfortable life; and if they don’t have it, then it is someone else’s fault.

            During the campaign, Obama made the statement that we are “five days away from fundamentally transforming America.” His first and foremost plan was to pass universal healthcare legislation. The idea was the federal government was capable of providing healthcare for all Americans. The 2,000 page law is chock-full of rules, regulations, and restrictions that even doctors are no longer responsible for medical decisions they make when it comes to the care of patients.

Since the U.S. is new to the universal health care arena, let’s look at a few countries where it has already been implemented:

The average wait time for a Canadian awaiting surgery or other medical treatment is now 18.3 weeks…

…NHS patients wait an average of about eight weeks for treatments that require admission to a hospital, four weeks for out-patient treatments and two weeks for diagnostic tests.

According to a new healthcare law which came into effect in July 2010, Swedes should be able to see a doctor within seven days of first visiting a publicly financed health clinic.

Up to a seven day wait just to see the doctor?! And that’s a good thing?! From the same article:



In addition, the ‘care guarantee’ (vårdguaranti) stipulates that patients shouldn’t be made to wait more than 90 days to see a specialist and that any prescribed treatment, such as an operation, should be scheduled within 90 days of seeing the specialist.

Twelve weeks just to see the specialist and then another twelve weeks to schedule the operation. My recommendation – Don’t Get Sick!! Otherwise, you may die waiting. Especially if they determine that it is not cost effective to prolong your life as in the case of Barbara Wagner. The state of Oregon would not pay for the medication her doctor prescribed, but would pay for physician-assisted suicide.

This prevailing attitude of “it’s not my responsibility” only gets worse.

Parents are no longer even capable of making decisions about what their own children eat when they decide to have lunch or dinner at McDonald’s in San Francisco. There is even a commercial about the government intruding into everyday choices Americans make about the groceries they buy. Let’s not forget that Michelle Obama is on a personal crusade to end obesity in America. So, put down that Big Mac!!

            The “Nanny State” knows no boundaries on what it says it can and cannot do. Obama has continually referred to himself as a progressive. It is progressives who have created the most devastating examples of people giving up personal responsibility for the government handout.

            Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act during the Great Depression as a way to provide for older Americans who did not have the means to provide for themselves. On face value, this is humanitarian, so charitable; and considering the economic times, it had short-term benefits.

           Now, how is that working in today’s society? Social Security is on the verge of insolvency and some feel that it will bankrupt America. Remember, it is now an entitlement within the federal budget process (along with Medicare—which Obama said doesn’t work anyway) which means that it is automatically funded and the funding is increased annually. In spite of these alarming facts, some people have the attitude that it’s not their problem and they should retire as quickly as possible to ensure that they get what they are entitled to.

            People need to buck up and realize that social security provides no real support in maintaining a minimal lifestyle. It is up to you to provide for yourself.

          The current state of the economy is the most pressing issue on the minds of Americans. The unemployment rate is currently at 9.0% even though Obama had promised it would not go above 8% if the stimulus was passed. People have bought into the idea that it is the government’s responsibility to provide jobs for them, and Obama has fed into this attitude with the stimulus package. The Obama Administration has claimed that the stimulus created or saved 2 million jobs.

          So, why is the current rate of underemployment at 17.3% for December? Because people are still waiting on the government to provide those jobs for them! Didn’t Nancy Pelosi say universal healthcare would unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of Americans? We have passed the stimulus. We have passed universal healthcare. We have even provided up to 99 weeks on unemployment benefits.

Yet, the economy is still floundering. Why? People aren’t taking responsibility for their own well-being, and why should they when the government is providing money and healthcare for them. Most of these people have to be wondering what else they can get for free.

            As Thomas J. Powell stated, “America is the land of opportunity mostly because it applauds the achievements of the individual.” It is time for every American to take personal responsibility for their own actions, their own well-being, and their own happiness.