Monday, April 25, 2005

Entitlement vs. Responsibility

There's a war being waged in our Rhode Island streets. It's not the drug war. It's not the Micky D's vs. Burger King war. It's not even the losing battle I, and many other married men, have with their wives over movie selection. 'No, I don't want to watch The Stepford Wives, honey.' This war is much more subtle, yet impacts us much more than many other aspects of our lives. It's the battle between entitlement and responsibility. Let's take entitlement. Entitlement - Give it to me, baby Entitlement says, 'you owe me, something.' You listen to any hardline liberal and they'll repeat something like this-'the state owes the people cheap housing, good education, healthcare, etc.' The thinking goes that if I am a citizen of this state, then if my needs are not being met, the state must do everything in its power to provide for me. This is Socialism 101. Responsibility - Suck it up and deal Responsibility, on the other hand, says 'if I can do it, so can you. Now get to it!' Listen to any uber-conservative or libertarian and they'll tell you that income tax should be revoked, the education department disbanded, and local police and fire departments should be utilized only to keep the peace-security and fire prevention details should be privatized by citizens willing to pay the price. In other words, the state has only one function, maintain peace among its citizens and allow for a free market whereby hard workers can rise from nothing. If you don't want to work or are lazy, you need to take responsibility for that fact while I pass you buy in my BMW. Which One? I'm sure you can see many problems with both arguments and you may find yourself in agreement with one more than the other. However, we have countless number of crises facing our state: property tax, affordable housing, education funding, and many others. Personally, I'm tired of the 'entitlement' theory rampant among many politicians, community organizations, and average joe residents. If we want change in our communities, we must make change happen. Sitting around and waiting for the government to do for us what it is unable to do for itself (i.e. balance the budget, remain uncorrupt, et. al.) is just plain dumb. We have a responsibility to ourselves and our children to take on the problems in our communities and be unwilling to yield until we solve them together. If we continue to believe we are entitled to things, then we can only hope to gain table scraps and downcast looks from surrounding states whose citizenry have chosen the more narrow and better road. Yes, the playing field may be unequal-but Jackie Robinson still played the game. I challenge you to think of one problem facing your household and begin to think in terms of how you can bring change to it versus how the government can solve it. You'll find the results fascinating.


Anonymous Andrew said...

Let me pick-a-nit here. What you are describing as the views of "uber-conservatives" and libertarians is really mostly just the libertarian view -- and maybe the view of the Republican managerialists, who really don't fit neatly into the liberal/conservative paradigm, but wield a lot of power within the Republican party.

Conservatives do see the value in the idea of a community that is more than just a set of economic arrangements.

4/25/2005 10:23:00 PM  

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