Accepting the consequences of one's actions


UpdBook Review: Criminal Justice? The Legal System vs. Individual Responsibility Edited by Robert James Bidinotto, by Joseph Sobran, The Freeman, Sep 1995
Related Topic: David K. Walter
"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.'"
UpdCreativity 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.'"
Escape 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."
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
Related Topics: Health Care, Marriage
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."
Another Meaning To September 11th, by Butler Shaffer, 19 Sep 2001
Related Topic: September 11, 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."
UpdConscience on the Battlefield, by Leonard E. Read, 1981
Related Topics: War, Government, Liberty, Non-aggression Principle, World War II
Pamphlet written in 1951, during the Korean War, updated with prologue in 1981
"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
Related Topics: Sexual Pleasure, Romantic Love
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."
Dialectics and Liberty [PDF], by Chris Matthew Sciabarra, The Freeman, Sep 2005
Related Topics: Dialectics, Aristotle, Ayn Rand
"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."
How the Welfare State Corrupted Sweden, by Per Bylund, Daily Article, 31 May 2006
Related Topics: Sweden, Day Care, Unemployment
"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 ..."
Iraqi Death by Political Abstraction, by Sheldon Richman, 5 Jun 2006
Related Topics: Haditha Massacre, Leonard E. Read
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
Related Topics: Law, Randy E. Barnett, Cancer, Richard A. Epstein, Ethics, Property, Property Rights, Freedom of Speech
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."
Roads, Cars, and Responsibility, by Scott McPherson, 7 Apr 2004
Related Topics: Private Roads, Fairfax, Virginia, London, England, Singapore
TGIF: "And the Pursuit of Happiness": Nathaniel Branden, RIP, by Sheldon Richman, 12 Dec 2014
Related Topic: Nathaniel Branden
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."
Why Are We Afraid To Be Free?, by Butler Shaffer, 27 Nov 2001
Related Topic: Individual Liberty
"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
Related Topics: Libertarianism, Business, Educational Freedom, The Free Market, Health, Health Care, Life Extension, Socialism
Updated from speech given at FreedomFest 2004
"The freedom movement must first advocate the ideal of self-responsibility for health. We own our own bodies, don't we? ... 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


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


Where's my bailout?, 29 Oct 2008