“If children have a problem, it is society that is at fault. There is no such thing as society. There is living tapestry of men and women and people and the beauty of that tapestry and the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us prepared to turn round and help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate.”
These words, spoken by Margaret Thatcher in 1987, explored the virtue of individual responsibility and the iniquity of evading such responsibility. The notion of taking responsibility for oneself, family, and community is central to the ideology underpinning American conservatism. Reflecting this principle is the American Left’s alternative, which aims to explicitly encourage individuals to avoid responsibility by placing all responsibility (and therefore blame for any failures) upon others, whether on an individual, group, or abstract level.
On an individual level, we witness such attempts on a daily basis. President Donald Trump has become the Left’s ultimate scapegoat, the source of all our ills, and therefore the sole target for electoral elimination. Deeply complex issues like poverty, racism, and crime are diluted to the point where all was supposedly perfect before Trump, and all will be perfect after Trump. For example, in recent days Trump has been blamed for the violence gripping cities under Democratic control across the United States, as if he controls rioters like puppets on a string.
On a group level, the same strategy is applied to wider collections of individuals, grouped by a particular — and often irrelevant — variable. There are the wealthy, usually categorized by possessing slightly more money than the very politicians who aim to present their success as evidence of the “greed” which requires the existence of the poor and the homeless. There are those who suffer from “white fragility,” whose race provides them with an unverifiable and yet somehow undeniable level of ignorance and bigotry on which is built an entire system of racism responsible for all levels of inequality or inequity between races. Of course, there are those whose minority status is no longer valid due to their disproportionate “success.” If your identity group counters the Left’s intersectional view of victimhood, you are then subject to the same criticism, such as the argument that our petulant insistence on maintaining the right to self-determination is the cause of all tensions in the Middle East.
On an abstract level, the topic of blame becomes intentionally over-broad. “History” is to blame for the breakdown in current systems. “Privilege” provides critics with an assumed diagnosis which can be referenced as reason for disagreement. “Unconscious bias” sidesteps the pesky need to explain the existence of inequalities without the existence of conscious decisions.
The common thread shared by the evasion of responsibility by blaming individuals, groups, or abstract concepts is the desire to conclude that certain individuals are to blame for the choices or actions of others. The objective is to entice those for whom taking personal responsibility would result in the uncomfortable realization of fault, and comfort them with the fantasy that they are not to blame after all. If you can preempt the potential future mistakes of some individuals by convincing them that, by nature of immutable characteristics such as race or gender, they are stuck behind the proverbial 8 ball, then you have succeeded in creating a reliable — and politically advantageous — cycle of blame and blamelessness.
It’s important to acknowledge that unfairness, inequity, and inequality are unfortunate realities of our world. Some differences between people are forced upon them by those who seek to gain from discrimination, and these are cases which we should condemn and address. Others exist between people as a result of inherent characteristics like strength, beauty, or intelligence, and while everyone should have the opportunity to pursue their desires, nature will always disappoint some who assume a right to equality of outcome. Those who disagree should answer why the Green Bay Packers have refused to sign me as quarterback.
However, the relevant differences when it comes to the cult of blame promulgated by the American Left rely solely on the outcomes of choices we make as individuals. Their blatant attempt to pander to certain voter blocs by absolving them of any form of personal responsibility is not only intellectually dishonest, it is deeply bigoted. With the goal of harboring votes, they treat communities which are experiencing real problems as incapable of making sound choices. Those in poverty exist because there are those who are wealthy. Those who steal are innocent victims acting out of necessity. Those who commit acts of violence are victims of a system which leaves them with no choice but to act violently.
AOC on increased NYC crime: "Maybe this has to do with the fact that people aren't paying their rent & are scared to pay their rent & so they go out & they need to feed their child & they don't have money so… they feel like they either need to shoplift some bread or go hungry." pic.twitter.com/oHSTWWJZ6a
— The Hill (@thehill) July 12, 2020
This bigotry of low expectations is fundamental to this evasion of responsibility. Those whose votes the Democrats desire cannot possibly survive without their help, and are therefore deemed blameless for their own choices and actions simply because of their race, their gender, or their religion.
If we truly wish to achieve societal equality, we must understand that this requires equality of expectations. We are not puppets on a string, or slaves to the circumstances of our existence. We are individuals with free will, who are blessed with the ability to determine our actions and choices. Such freedom is one type of choice the Left won’t protect. It is therefore one type of choice we should fight for the most.
This starts with taking responsibility for ourselves, and demanding that others do the same.
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