“Why have we had such a decline in moral climate? I submit to you that a major factor has been a change in the philosophy which has been dominant, a change from belief in individual responsibility to belief in social responsibility. If you adopt the view that a man is not responsible for his own behavior, that somehow or other society is responsible, why should he seek to make his behavior good?” – Milton Friedman
I read recently read this magnificent quote and I’ve been pondering what it means and how it relates to our culture. There’s no doubt that there’s been a shift from individual responsibility to social responsibility. No one wants to hear about taking individual responsibility. It seems like everything has been outsourced to the state.
Slate had a very reasonable article today about preventing sexual assault in college. What was the author’s suggestion? Stop getting drunk! I know, common sense, right? Warning women in college that getting drunk is dangerous should be a no brainer, but just read through these tweets. There are a ton of them and the oxymoronic brain dead intelligentsia is awe inspiring. Here’s a representative sample:
There’s a special place in hell for warning women that if they get drunk at a party some scumbag might assault them? What can you even say to a person who actually believes that? This isn’t lunatic fringe; this is how many educated liberals think. It’s delusional, but it’s based on the rejection of individual responsibility.
Reason has a terrific article today about oreos and illegal drugs. Jacob Sullum goes into much detail about the research and about addiction, but the point of the research was to scare people into more state control. Sullum goes even further and turns the idea on its head.
Cocaine and heroin are less addictive than Oreos. Which makes you wonder why people go to prison for selling the drugs but not for selling the cookies, especially since Oreos and similar foods “may present even more of a danger.”
Well, I’m sure the nanny state will get there eventually. And that’s how this goes. Citizens give up more and more control to the state. The state decides what we should eat, drink, read, watch, and worship. Who educates our state’s leaders? The same people who have convinced CJ that asking people not to get drunk is horrible. We can shrug off these delusional people, but for how long? How long before this type of bizarre thinking is the prevailing view? It’s probably closer than you think.
When you surrender individual responsibility to social responsibility who do you hold accountable? Our culture is always looking for someone or something to blame. It was my parents. It was the cigarette commercials. It was the gun. It was the weather. It was the teacher. And on and on it goes.