Monday, December 19, 2011

Simple Truth: Responsibility is the Inverse of Liberty

If you want Liberty, you must shoulder the burden of Responsibility.  The two cannot be separated- Liberty without Responsibility is Privilege (to be discussed in a future post), Responsibility without Liberty is slavery.

A man drives his car late at night.  It's been a long day, and he's tired.  The light is bad.  It's been raining, so the roads are slick.  He loses control of his car and crashes into a home.  Who is responsible for repairing the home?

With all the words I've written on Liberty, I would be remiss if I did not mention that even Liberty comes with a price.  That price is Responsibility.  The two are inseperable.  In our example, of course the driver is responsible for repairing the home.  He may have insurance which pays for the damage, or he may have to pay himself.  If the loss of control was not due to any error on his part, it is possible that he could hold the company which made the vehicle responsible. 

Our Liberties require that we accept Responsibility for our actions and for their consequences.  A man who uses his Liberty of gun-ownership to commit murder should be held responsible and punished appropriately.  A man who uses his Liberty of free association to hang with gangsters and hoodlums, or to become a member of the KKK, or pal around with anti-Semites, must be held responsible for the company he keeps, and be ready to accept any consequences of that choice.

People who smoke should be held responsible, and should be willing to shoulder the consequences thereof: from cancer, to emphysema.
People who drink should be held responsible, and should be willing to shoulder the consequences thereof: whether a DUI, or Drunk-and-disorderly, or other, non legal consequences.

Anyone who would have you believe that Liberty comes without responsibility is lying to you; so is anyone who suggests that Conservatives believe that.  Indeed, that is why we believe in harsher justice than Liberals- we believe that people make choices because of the Liberty, and must take Responsibility for those choices.

Indeed, only if Liberty was removed, could Responsibility also be removed.  If I do not have liberty, if I cannot make choices, then how can I justly be held accountable for my actions?  They weren't "my" actions any more than the car drove itself off the road, or any more than the gun aimed and fired itself.

So, on the one hand: beware of anyone offering you liberty without Responsibility.  On the other, beware anyone who tells you they will relieve you of your Responsibility- the only way they can do that is to relieve you of your Liberty.


  1. But, in a welfare state, it is far easier to sacrifice responsibility for a loss of liberty than it is to desire more liberty at the cost of responsibility (and its sister accountability). Once the welfare state paradigm has been accepted, you will never get much freedom anyhow.

  2. Forget the welfare state. If we're talking about "easier" it's always easier to purchase irresponsibility for the low, low cost of Liberty.

    I'm not sure most people understand that such is the required transaction, however. At least, I'm hoping they don't. If they do, we are (as the Ace of Spades HQ official Style Book now states): Flayed. (Which is beyond "boned.")

  3. Paragraph two of the Explanation perfectly describes our President. I can't see him ever paying up.
    Even if we are able to replace him with a Conservative, Obama will be hanging around our necks like an Jimmy Carter Albatross.
    We, the average American, will pay and pay and pay and, I fear, never get back the Liberty that was traded for nothing.