Monday, December 5, 2011

Liberty and/or Death

Here's an interesting thought. We constantly hear from Republicans that people are generally responsible for their own fortune or failure. Cain became notorious for saying "if you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself." Gingrich's comments about child labor are somewhat more overt, but generally make the same claim: that a person is responsible for their own station, and can move up in the world if they have the motivation. I don't know where Republicans got the idea that the poor could all be rich if they wanted (and believe me, most of them probably want to be), but it's a slap in the face to all those who actually have to work for a living, and work hard.

But my question is this. If we are supposed to be responsible for our own station, even if it was brought about by things beyond our control, then why do we have an insurance industry? Let's say that you get in a car accident. By the conservative logic it's your own fault because you are responsible for everything, even the other guy who ran the red light and hit you. Now, if that's the case, and you have to own the consequences of that situation, then why should you get an insurance claim? It seems to go against the Republican philosophy, doesn't it? Maybe it just goes against the super-conservative philosophy.

So, the choice is, either we have ultimate freedom and ultimate responsibility over what happens to us, in which case we can be forever abused and defrauded by the system and take all the blame for it, or we must resign that we are not always responsible for how things turn out. I went to school, have a job that allows me to pay my bills, and I live fairly well. If I get sick, or my car is stolen, or some other tragedy strikes, am I ultimately responsible for that? I don't think so. It's like saying that rape victims are responsible for their own rape, and that it was their bad decisions that led to that. People are responsible for their own decisions, not the decisions of others, and certainly not for things they have no control over.

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