Whatever happened to individual responsibility?



(compiled by Eddie Romano)



In media current affairs and political discussion we hear a lot of questions and demands directed at governments. We know that politics is a slippery evolving business, with promises made and promises broken or abandoned in the face of administrative complexity.


Increasingly however, people are expecting more and more from governments, in fact far more than what appears to be relevant.  We constantly hear interviewers asking government Ministers to “guarantee” such and such, as a result of their policies.


“Hello”!!! Haven’t people worked out that nothing is guaranteed in life? Anyone who attempts to guarantee anything is being foolish. It’s one thing to be positive and optimistic, but another thing to be realistic and relevant.  Everything in life is fluid and in a constant state of flux. In fact life itself, is a very tenuous and temporal experience for most people. This includes individuals taking personal for their actions, non-action, and motives.


We know that governments have an obligation to make laws that are aimed or designed to achieve a particular outcome, but if people wantonly break the rules, then governments can’t really be held to blame for a flagrant disregard of the laws. If people drink under age, and indulge in downing “shots” of spirit in rapid succession for an “instant hit” to wind up in a drunken stupor, and then go and drive a car, how can a government be held to blame for the “road toll” statistics. Similarly if men get bashed or women get raped in a state of drunken stupor, we can’t just blame governments. Governments can’t legislate to protect people from their own stupidity. Whatever happened to some basic discipline, parental duty of care, and setting boundaries? These are personal responsibilities.


Similarly, governments have progressively put social security systems in place over decades 

in an attempt to protect disadvantaged people in our society. Unfortunately, everyone now expects some level of “welfare”. We have now advanced to the “middle class welfare state”, where even the well-off members of society also expect handouts from government. This was encouraged by “the politics of envy mantra” from the previous Howard government, in their response to anyone who questioned the need to subsidize already well-off people.  


So now in 2010 we have reached the stage where everyone expects the government to provide for everything, solve everything, and then blames the government if it can’t. Yet alternatively, the public has little enthusiasm to make any real financial sacrifices or major contribution towards solving major issues as global Climate change, which can seriously and adversely affect the Australian continent. We can’t “have it all” at no cost. Even the simplistic Abbott policies will be have to be funded from the Budget, which means cutting other vital services or raising taxes.


The biggest issue of 2010 and beyond, is that of assuming personal responsibility, and being accountable for our energy usage, our pollution levels, radiation levels, noise levels, alcohol consumption, water conservation and recycling endeavours. We can’t simply demand that governments solve everything. Governments traditionally were commissioned to take care of the affairs of the nation, primarily in Defense, Customs, roads and ports, essential services, health, taxation, and Industrial relations laws These are already substantial portfolios of responsibility and administration. Now 24/7 media responses have added to the process.


However, our governments are now expected to also deal with Child-care, Maternity leave, Voluntary Euthanasia, Invitro-fertilisation, Surrogacy, Climate change, Renewable energy development, Superannuation, Gay Rights, Binge drinking, Petrol pricing, Supermarket pricing, and many other areas where individuals previously had to make their own decisions.


In many cases, personal responsibility for ones own behaviour is the issue. Parental neglect, delinquency, binge drinking, driving without a license, excessive speed, drink driving, theft, violent assault and other crimes or social ills are now expected to be solved by governments.


Issues like investments and dealing with financial markets and real estate are also a personal responsibility. We have seen how rampant greed has clouded some people’s judgment in financial and investment decisions and credit card use, as well as a lack of due diligence in researching products or services to check if they are reputable, and of genuine quality and integrity. Checks are also essential to determine sustainability and long-term viability. We also need to check the credentials of people purporting to be “experts” in the field they are operating in. Motive and intent and customer service are good barometers of integrity.


We look around the world and see an evolving world, sometimes in various stages of chaos.

This is a result of natural change dynamics, and also an outworking of the natural laws of cause and effect. In ultimate truth, nothing is hidden, secret, or unaccountable. Some people still operate on the assumption that there is no accountability unless they are actually caught “red-handed” in the act.


Everyone is a part of the Tapestry of Life in some manner or another. Therefore, we are

all accountable. Whatever we do or think will have an effect on others around us. Those in positions of power and influence have a duty of care to their constituency, They affect many lives and the environment. We are personally responsible for our personal environment. This includes the quality of what we eat and drink, the air we breathe, and the company we keep.

We are accountable for our behavior, and our social and sexual habits and practices.


Many people and philosophers continue to ask; “What is the purpose of life”? Life is about perception (appearances) as well as practice. In practical terms life is about self-expression, growth and learning. On a more esoteric level life is about becoming fully conscious and spiritually empowered. This of course requires a path of self-discipline, balance, empathy, and an expansion of consciousness. In its entirety, it involves understanding Life expression as a “web of interaction” or inter-dependence. This requires accountability & inclusiveness.


One of the big lessons of physical life and expression is “relativity”. No, not Einstein’s Law of Relativity, but the relativity of multitudes of diversity. This means that everyone is traveling a different life-path, vocation, occupation, goal setting, and location. We are functioning within different nations, regions, cultures, religions, philosophies, and according to our maturity, age and development, and personal timing and priorities. So people are functioning at different wavelengths, whether physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually; and with different belief-systems, motives, and values.


Therefore, it is not a case of “one size fits all” in defining political policy, or social policy. The

Laws of the Land are necessary however to create boundaries of behaviour to protect the basic rights of nations, individuals and property. Governments come under much pressure from the general community to “do something”. Unfortunately there are many competing interests who are lobbying governments to retain the status quo.

This is due to big revenue received from Clubs, Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug companies, but also from the sex/entertainment industry, and people who want zero censorship, and no limits on their “rights” to “have it all”. If these interest groups were suitably accountable for the cause and effect of their actions and products, it would be a great help. Unfortunately profit is often the name of the game, and profit has hijacked the agenda of governments to some degree. It has also influenced our moral and social agenda.


We have unfortunately entered into the syndrome known as “the blame game”. People tend to allocate blame as a means of deflecting attention from their own failings, actions, lack of action, and personal shortcomings. Blaming others is easy. Discrediting or undermining others is easier than taking appropriate and personal responsibility for making ones own life meaningful, manageable, or successful. Demanding governments “fix” everything or provide everything is another easy short cut. It is the path of least resistance, and inability to make appropriate decisions to deal with issues.


A New Era of Accountability is upon us. Climate change isn’t going away. Over-population isn’t going away. Crime and violence isn’t going away. The global financial crisis has eased somewhat, but isn’t going away. Out-of-control behaviour, and drug and alcohol abuse are personal issues that won’t go away until individuals correct their behaviour. To achieve this involves finding a better way of living and dealing with our issues. We can never expect, or “demand” that our governments can “fix it” or solve every problem.


We are creators, and we learn from our own creations through the cause and effect process. (Karma). So it is up to individuals to lift ourselves above the quagmire of social ills that are a blight upon our society and our nation, and collectively, and in group action, be pro-active in making worthwhile changes. The networking process is a good support system.


Compiled by Eddie Romano.