Saturday, March 24, 2007

Fallacy of Individual Responsibility

'then let them die and decrease the surplus population'

People do have, however they vision it, a responsibility for themselves, family, community, country and God, as they see God, but for a variety of reasons both legitimate and illegitimate within ones control and outside of it, these responsibilities may become compromised. The conservative Republican mantra of ‘individual responsibility’ is designed to absolve oneself of any responsibility except for those so conveniently cherry-picked while easily lowering the dignity and humanity of those in need.

Individual responsibility means everyone else’s responsibility but mine. It’s an ideological principal embraced by modern conservatives that is designed to protect the conscience of the individual or group from social or religious liability. It’s used to absolve one from long held Judeo-Christian principles such as ‘by the grace of God go I’ and ‘to those who have been given much, much is expected’. It implies that the gifts from God which we all possess in one form or another have been distributed in equal measure with similar qualities. It’s been used as an excuse from responsibility from everything from the homeless addict to the poor and those with mental and physical illnesses, to such extremes as victims of natural disaster.

I remember hearing of a painting where Jesus was depicted as a junky. I never saw the painting and I don’t care to or need to because I’ve embellished on it in my mind. I picture a Christ-like figure in a urine soaked alley with empty liquor bottles and needles nearby. I consider it a holy image. Why? Because I think we should insult Christ or say He’s something He’s not? No! It reminds me that we are supposed to see the suffering Christ in the most lowly of individuals. That Jesus is served best when we show love, mercy, and caring for all those in society especially those who, for whatever reason, are most looked down on or deemed unacceptable.

In a world with a superabundance of information, but which paradoxically finds it so difficult to communicate and where living conditions are scandalously unequal, it is important to spare no effort to ensure that everyone feels responsible for the growth and happiness of all. Our future is at stake. An unemployed young person, a handicapped person who is marginalized, elderly people who are uncared for, countries which are captives of hunger and poverty: these situations all too often make people despair and fall prey to the temptation either of closing in on themselves or of resorting to violence.....

"NO TO SELFISHNESS"! In other words, to all that impels man to protect himself inside the cocoon of a privileged social class or a cultural comfort which excludes others. The life-style of the prosperous, their patterns of consumption, must be reviewed in the light of their repercussions on other countries. Let us mention for example the problem of water resources, which the United Nations Organization has asked us all to consider during this year 2003. Selfishness is also the indifference of prosperous nations towards nations left out in the cold. All peoples are entitled to receive a fair share of the goods of this world and of the know-how of the more advanced countries. How can we fail to think here, for example, of the access of everyone to generic medicines, needed to continue the fight against current pandemics, an access — alas — often thwarted by short-term economic considerations?
Pope John Paul II

1 Woe to those who enact unjust statutes and who write oppressive decrees,
2 Depriving the needy of judgment and robbing my people's poor of their rights, Making widows their plunder, and orphans their prey!
3 What will you do on the day of punishment, when ruin comes from afar? To whom will you flee for help? Where will you leave your wealth
Isaiah Chapter 10

31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne,

32 and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
33 He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,
36 naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.'
37 Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
38 When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
39 When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'
40 And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'
41 Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
43 a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.'
44 Then they will answer and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?'
45 He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.'
46 And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
Matthew: Chapter 25

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