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Old 07-25-2019, 12:41 PM
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puddleglum is offline
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: a van down by the river
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Originally Posted by steronz View Post
We're back to a platitude, then. "People have some degree of control over their lives, unless they don't" is hardly a profound principle to build a political philosophy on. It's a statement that nobody could possibly disagree with.

Let's not pretend, though, that this simplistic way of looking at personal responsibility is how conservatives use that phrase.

This goes well beyond personal responsibility as a positive character trait, or simplistic ways of looking at self-determination. Romney's version of invoking personal responsibility seems to serve two purposes.

1) It's used as as invective, incorrectly conflating people who don't pay federal income taxes with all Democrats and excoriating them for lacking character, and
2) As I've stated in my thread title, an absolution of responsibility. It's not Romney's job to worry about other people, he says.

So I ask again, how does this concept translate to policy, except to absolve people of the responsibility for caring for their fellow citizens?
What Romney gets wrong is conflating those who don't pay income tax with those who expect the government to take care of them.
What Romney get right is that the first responsibility for everyone is to take care of themselves and their family. If everyone did that then there would be no need for other people to do it for them. The truth is that the government can't take care of people. A welfare check is no substitute for a job. Teachers, principals, and social workers can't substitute for involved, loving parents.
The idea that the government can take care of people if only the right people were elected is poison. The only thing that can help people is self reliance and if universally practiced it would solve nearly every political problem.