Accepting the consequences of one's actions

Articles

Book Review: Criminal Justice? The Legal System vs. Individual Responsibility Edited by Robert James Bidinotto, by Joseph Sobran, The Freeman, Sep 1995
"Progressives used to talk confidently about 'building a new society.' ... The intellectual cornerstone of the New Society was ... that human behavior is in principle caused by factors outside the agent's control. ... Even our official language expresses the regnant ideology. Hence we now have departments not of penal justice, but of 'correction.'"
Related Topic: David K. Walter
Creativity and Criminality: The Two Faces of Responsibility: Do the Mentally Ill Lack Self-Control?, by Thomas S. Szasz, The Freeman, Nov 2000
Questions the distinctions made between "good" creative geniuses and "bad" (mad, criminal) geniuses, and the contention that so-called insane individuals cannot control their behavior
"Accordingly, we view the mad person as having a disease (insanity) that deprives him of moral agency and hence responsibility. The evidence? That mad persons (mental patients) disavow choosing their actions and attribute their (illegal, destructive) actions to other agents, typically God or 'voices'; and that psychiatrists eagerly validate this misinterpretation by accepting the patients' claims as valid, attributing their 'symptoms' to irresistible impulses lodged in the chemistry of their brains, and excusing their crimes as the products of 'sick brains.'"
UpdEscape from Responsibility, by Sheldon Richman, May 1996
Discusses a number of cases where victims attempt to hold third-parties responsible for crimes or other harms
"In a free society, a basic distinction is made between acts and words. Furnishing information on how to kill a human being is not the same as killing a human being. Many novels and movies, not to mention technical nonfiction works, provide information on how to kill. That information could be used to murder. Are novelists, movie producers, and technical authors to be held responsible for the use to which their information is put?"
Feeding Obesity, by Scott McPherson, 13 Feb 2004
Freedom, Virtue, and Responsibility, Part 1, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Apr 1994
Freedom, Virtue, and Responsibility, Part 2, by Jacob G. Hornberger, May 1994
Freedom, Virtue, and Responsibility, Part 3, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Jun 1994
Individual Responsibility Is Key to Health Care Concerns, by Milton Kamsler, M.D., Heartland Institute Health Care News, 1 Apr 2002
Persuasion vs. Force, by Mark Skousen, Liberty, Sep 1991
"Too often lawmakers resort to the force of law rather than the power of persuasion to solve a problem in society. ... Character and responsibility are built when people voluntarily choose right over wrong, not when they are forced to do so. ... Freedom without responsibility only leads to the destruction of civilization ..."
Responsibility, by Charley Reese, 10 Apr 2006
"... some folks view the tort system as a trip to Las Vegas or as a lottery. If they are involved in a single-car crash, then it's the car's fault or the road's fault. ... If they get fat or harden their arteries, it's the food industry's fault. ... If they stupidly shoot themselves, it's the gun manufacturer's fault."
The Humanitarian with the Guillotine, by Isabel Mary Paterson, The Freeman, Sep 1955
Reprinted from The God of the Machine, 1943; analyses the negative consequences of "humanitarians" (or professional philanthropists) and politicians act to provide relief to the needy
"If the primary objective of the philanthropist, his justification for living, is to help others, his ultimate good requires that others shall be in want. His happiness is the obverse of their misery. If he wishes to help 'humanity,' the whole of humanity must be in need. The humanitarian wishes to be a prime mover in the lives of others. He cannot admit either the divine or the natural order, by which men have the power to help themselves."
Related Topics: Communism, Life, Taxation, World War II
Tobacco Medicaid Litigation: Snuffing Out the Rule of Law, by Robert A. Levy, Cato Institute Policy Analysis, 20 Jun 1997
Treating Us like Children, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Nov 1998
Comments on the Republican-controlled Senate approval of a provision outlawing Internet gambling
"There is also no reason to think that people generally act irresponsibly in their private affairs. Some do, but most don't. If we don't trust people to conduct their own lives responsibly, I see no reason to trust them with the vote. In fact, I'd sooner trust them in their own affairs than in my affairs and everyone else's. Running one life has to be easier than choosing on behalf of everyone. At least the errors will have less-widespread consequences."
A Clarion Call for Health Independence, by Wendy McElroy, 31 Jan 2007
A review of the movie Lorenzo's Oil (1992)
"... Lorenzo's Oil is a counterargument to the assumed need for government funding and law to regulate all things medical in order to ensure progress and quality care. The movie is a clarion call for individuals to take control of their own bodies and their own medical well being. It is the triumph of personal responsibility over bureaucracy, the individual over the system."
Related Topics: Health Care, Marriage
Alternative Medicine Is Libertarian Medicine, by Butler Shaffer, 2 Dec 2006
Discusses several aspects of healthcare, including self-ownership, being responsible for our own care, decentralised information, the collapse of external authorities and the dehumanizing decisions resulting from institutionalized healthcare
"Perhaps the most encouraging consequence of this movement toward more individually-centered, alternative systems, is the emergence of an increased willingness of men and women to take the responsibility for their lives. Liberty and responsibility are obverse sides of the same coin, inseparable from one another. Each of us is responsible — in a causal sense — for the consequences of our actions because we were in control of those actions."
"And the Pursuit of Happiness": Nathaniel Branden, RIP, by Sheldon Richman, 12 Dec 2014
Memorial essay, including some personal recollections, with emphasis on Branden's work on self-esteem and self-responsibility
"We want and need freedom not because it is right and good in itself in some simple deontological sense, but so that we may live happy lives. An essential ingredient of happiness is self-direction: the setting of one's life course, the choosing of worthwhile goals, and the striving to achieve them. To the extent one is not free, to the extent that the state or anyone else is able to commandeer your resources and time without regard for what you want to do with your life — to that extent you are deprived of essential control over your life."
Related Topic: Nathaniel Branden
Another Meaning To September 11th, by Butler Shaffer, 19 Sep 2001
"These passengers represent the real 'new world order': men and women taking control over and responsibility for their own lives and, in the process, bringing decision-making back to the individual. We are once again reminded that whatever orderliness prevails in our world is determined by how ordinary people respond to the immediate events in their lives."
Related Topic: September 11, 2001
Conscience on the Battlefield, by Leonard E. Read, 1981
Pamphlet written in 1951, during the Korean War, updated with prologue in 1981; Read recalls the 1918 incident when the troopship he was on was sunk by a German submarine and wonders about his thoughts if he were dying (in 1951) on a Korean battlefield
"A woman is a woman. A child is a child, with as much a right to an opportunity for Self-realization as you. To take a human life – at whatever age, or of any color – is to take a human life. You imply that you feel no personal responsibility for having killed these people. Why, then, did you personally accept the 'honors'? According to your notions, no one person is responsible for the deaths of these people. Yet, they were destroyed. Seemingly, you expect collective arrangements such as 'the army' or 'the government' to bear your guilt. "
'Date Rape' on Campus, by Murray N. Rothbard, The Rothbard-Rockwell Report, Feb 1991
Discusses recent alleged epidemic of "date rape" on college campuses, as reported by the New York Times
"Are we now to include in rape any sex taking place after liquor is imbibed? ... Everyone is responsible for whatever he or she imbibes, unless the guy spiked the girl's drink without her knowledge (not mentioned in any of these cases) and everyone is responsible for their own actions, liquor or not."
Related Topics: Sexual Pleasure, Romantic Love
Dialectics and Liberty: A Defense of Dialectical Method in the Service of a Libertarian Social Theory, by Chris Matthew Sciabarra, The Freeman, Sep 2005
Written ten years after publication of the first of Sciabarra's "Dialectic and Liberty" book trilogy, discusses Hayek's and Rand's dialectical analysis approaches and suggests that such context-keeping analysis is important in radical libertarian theory
"Hayek understood that under advancing statism, culture tends to both promote and reflect those social practices that undermine individual self-responsibility. Likewise, a free society is one in which the culture tends to promote and reflect those social practices that require individual self-responsibility."
Give Me Liberty, by Rose Wilder Lane, 1936
Originally published as an article titled "Credo" in the Saturday Evening Post; describes her experiences in and history of Soviet Russia and Europe, contrasting them with the history of the United States, emphasizing the individualist themes
"But anyone whose freedom has been, as mine has always been, freedom to earn a living if possible, knows that this independence is another name for responsibility. The American pioneers phrased this clearly and bluntly. They said, 'Root, hog, or die.' There can be no third alternative for the shoat let out of the pen, to go where he pleases and do what he likes. Individual liberty is individual responsibility. Whoever makes decisions is responsible for results."
Henry David Thoreau and "Civil Disobedience," Part 3, by Wendy McElroy, Future of Freedom, May 2005
Further examination of themes in "Civil Disobedience", including unjust laws, politicians and reformers, voting, when to resist the state and the influence on Gandhi
"Thoreau's disdain for politicians may seem a logical extension of his disrespect for 'the law' but many reformers disrespected the law without holding lawmakers personally responsible. The viewpoint of such people overlooked the role of 'choice,' Thoreau argues. Every politician who enacts a law chooses to do so; every agent who enforces a law chooses to do so. If officials create or enforce a law with which they disagree, then they have surrendered their conscience to the state and should be held personally responsible for that decision."
How the Welfare State Corrupted Sweden, by Per Bylund, Mises Daily, 31 May 2006
"People seem unable to enjoy life without responsibility for one's actions and choices, and it is impossible to feel pride and independence without having the means to control one's life. The welfare state has created a dependent people utterly incapable of finding value in life ..."
Related Topics: Sweden, Day Care, Unemployment
Iraqi Death by Political Abstraction, by Sheldon Richman, 5 Jun 2006
Examines the causes of the 2005 Haditha killings, reflecting on Leonard Read's notable essay "Conscience in the Battlefield"
"Realization that responsibility rises to the very top does not, of course, exonerate anyone below. The Marines at Haditha didn't have to pull the triggers ... What they can't do is deny responsibility on the grounds that they bought the Bush administration's line that they were serving their country. ... There is no obligation to obey an immoral order."
Law, Property Rights, and Air Pollution, by Murray N. Rothbard, Cato Journal 2, 1982
Examines the principles of tort law, how to determine what is just property and how to deal with invasions of property such as air pollution
"In reality, a 'corporation' does not act; only individuals act, and each must be responsible for his own actions and those alone. Epstein may deride Holmes's position as being based on the 'nineteenth-century premise that individual conduct alone was the basis of individual responsibility,' but Holmes was right nevertheless."
UpdRoads, Cars, and Responsibility, by Scott McPherson, 7 Apr 2004
Test your freedom IQ, The Orange County Register, 18 Jun 2006
20 multiple-choice questions covering the role of government, free enterprise, taxes, property rights, free speech, religion, civil liberties, transportation, war and foreign policy, the Nanny State, gun ownership, education and immigration
"Every year thousands of new laws are passed by Congress, the state Legislature and local governments, governing such things as shower water pressure, helmets for motorcyclists, smoking on beaches. Is this a good thing? ... No. A nanny state law will never substitute for good parenting, self-responsibility and common sense."
The Drug War's Immorality and Abject Failure, by Anthony Gregory, Future of Freedom, Jul 2006
Discusses how drug use differs from criminal, property-rights violations, the justifications for the drug war and the many areas where it has had detrimental effects on society: inner cities, rule of law, foreign relations, etc.
"Some people argue that, regardless of its myriad troubles, the drug war must persist because people are less responsible if they abuse drugs. But this could also be true if they watch too much TV, or gamble, or sleep around, or get into a bad relationship, or eat too much sugar or not enough vegetables. People can also have serious problems with legal drugs. ... Nevertheless, it would make no moral or practical sense to arrest and jail people to make them act more responsibly in these respects."
Why Are We Afraid To Be Free?, by Butler Shaffer, 27 Nov 2001
Examines the question of how to bring about freedom in individuals' lives, discussing how government influences people to be in conflicted states and how one must look within oneself and act accordingly to begin to be "free"
"Because we are self-controlling beings, we are also responsible for our actions. This is not a moral or ethical proposition, but simply a causal one: I am responsible for what I do because I am the one who controls my actions. By the same token, to the degree we seek to control the lives and property of others, we help to foster, in their minds, the illusions that they are not responsible for what they do."
Winning the Battle for Freedom and Prosperity, by John Mackey, Liberty, Jun 2006
Updated from speech given at FreedomFest 2004; after a brief background on himself, Mackey criticises the freedom movement from a marketing and branding perspective and suggests a different approach by de-emphasising some issues and prioritising others
"Most importantly, our health and well-being are our own responsibilities. Our doctors cannot assume these responsibilities. ... The freedom movement must first advocate the ideal of self-responsibility for health. We own our own bodies, don't we? This is no minor thing, because the Left, by supporting socialized medicine, demonstrates a belief that common citizens are too stupid to take responsibility for our own health and therefore need the 'experts' to step in and control things for our own good."

Cartoons and Comic Strips

Dan Wasserman, by Dan Wasserman, 7 Feb 2004

Books

Taking Responsibility: Self-Reliance and the Accountable Life
    by Nathaniel Branden, 1996

Videos


Where's my bailout?, 29 Oct 2008