Who's To Blame?

by Ben Kinchlow

The little boy looked at his Dad with pleading eyes amidst the wreckage of his Mother's favorite potted plant. "Daddy!," he wailed in his most plaintiff tones, "the monsters did it!."  From the very beginning we start trying to find a way out of being held responsible for our actions. "Shifting the heat," "pointing the finger," looking for someone "to blame." One of our most oft-used questions is, "Who, me?!"  We often assign responsibility or blame, but seldom volunteer to accept the blame or responsibility for our own actions.

Fortunately, the sociologists, social engineers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other "escape artists" have arranged for us to receive universal absolution. "It really isn't anyone's fault" or at least "it certainly isn't your fault."There are your handy parents, who probably disciplined you "too enthusiastically," maybe even (heaven forbid) spanked you, or otherwise damaged your "fragile psyche." Or perhaps it was some insensitive teacher who insisted that learning your timetables, or how to conjugate a verb and spell at your grade level, was somehow damaging to your tender self-esteem. Or perhaps you had the misfortune to be born in less than perfectly ordered social circumstances, in which case society is to blame. Of course, if we are "spiritually inclined," we all know it isn't really my fault "the devil made me do it." 

State and Federal governments have now gotten into the act by insisting that society (read thatÐ you and me) is somehow responsible for the immoral behavior which results in an inordinately great number of illegitimate children, sexually-transmitted diseases, crime, drug addiction, and even bad driving, thusÐ o fault insurance." So, if some guy has had thirteen beers, half a pint of vodka, two shots of whiskey, no sleep, and is drinking 'a cold one' on the way home, and smashes into the back of your car, well, it really isn't his fault. Somehow, you (read thatÐ society) have driven him to this deplorable state. Aren't you ashamed?
Well, I guess that solves the whole issue of whether or not the individual should take responsibility for his/her actions. Let's not insist on excellence, quality, or hard work, or sacrifice, or self-denial (as in "deny thyself, take up thy cross and follow me") or thrift, or personal initiative, or any of the other virtues that are extolled in the Bible and responsible for the greatness of America. Since no one is responsible, no one should be called upon to shoulder the burden of his/her decisions. Let's not blame armed robbers, murderers, thieves, rapists, and other "culturally challenged" individuals, let's blame you for "provocative behavior," as did the judge who freed the man who raped a five-year old girl because she was acting in a "provocative manner." True story!

Unfortunately, there is a principle that exists in business, and society, and in the family. "What gets rewarded gets done." Let me say that again. "What gets rewarded gets done."We have actually created rewards for anti-social behavior. Drug addicts and alcoholics have been granted "disability" to enable them to qualify for disability checks. People who didn't qualify for "government assistance" were actually taught how to lie to get their "entitlements." No less a figure than a former candidate for the presidency of the United States declared that for many, prisons are preferable to living at home. After having visited some of the prisons where, indeed, the prisons look like college campuses, with the best gyms, superb cafeterias with nutritionally balanced meals, color television, college courses, superior libraries, and where it costs more to keep them there than to send them to Harvard." I can only concur. 

While I am not advocating a return to whips and chains and confinement in public stocks, I do wonder if perhaps we should not at some point be held at least partially responsible for our own decisions. God holds us responsible. Perhaps we are rapidly reaching the stage where society (read that:  the government, bureaucrats, and professional social engineers) might want to consider that individuals should be treated as though they have a modicum of intelligence and are, therefore, capable of making decisions for which they should reap the rewards, or the consequences (read that: "choose Ye this day whom Ye shall serve.")