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Old 07-24-2019, 03:56 PM
Manda JO is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 11,909
What's interesting to me is that often "personal responsibility" is extended more to family/immediate community. I hear it all the time as a teacher: "Why should we have free breakfast, lunch and snack for poor kids? Shouldn't the parents be responsible?"; "School choice makes sense because parents need to take responsibility for their kid's education." This is really noticeable when it comes to food stamps--most people on food stamps are children, so complaining about lazy people on food stamps is really complaining about people with lazy parents. You also get a lot of "should have thought about that before they had kids you can't afford"

The same thing is visible when it comes to things like child abuse and domestic violence: "If someone hurt my family, I wouldn't wait for the government to act, I would take responsibility myself to handle the situation"; "In my day, if a boy was a problem, he got a visit from a dad or an uncle with a shotgun" and "I don't think we should interfere in this bad situation, it's really the family's responsibility to handle it internally".

Personal responsibility is important. But I think a critical difference between the traditionally conservative and liberal points of view is whether or not children are basically an extension of their parents; the conservative point of view seems to feel like the children are so closely aligned with the parents that if the parents fail to take responsibility, then the responsibility doesn't transfer to society--it's not the kid's fault, exactly, but that doesn't make it anyone else's job, either. I think there's generally an idea that if parents are not given another option, they will pull their shit together and take responsibility, or wouldn't have had kids to start with--the problem is that we don't force them to, so they don't. If it's a game of chicken, Conservatives think Liberals swerve too soon and create irresponsible parents; Liberals think conservatives are risking kids's lives and hurting their future based on principle.