Sunday, June 25, 2017

Personal responsibility not that difficult

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for May 24, 2017)

Responsibility seems to be in short supply these days. It's an endangered species; unpopular and under-valued.

It doesn't have to be this way.

Being responsible isn't hard. Don't hurt anyone on purpose, and be accountable if you hurt someone by accident. Clean up after yourself. When you finish with something, put it back where you got it. Do what you say you'll do.

Do you live responsibly, or do you leave a trail of disgusted victims in your wake?

If a person drives dangerously or aggressively, even if they don't cause an accident, they will scare other drivers and make them angry. These scared, angry drivers will decide it's a wonderful idea to have police swarming the roadways, interfering with travel and shaking down travelers. Some of us would rather not have to deal with the mess created by irresponsible drivers.

What about those who find it hilarious to smash glass bottles around picnic tables-- like the teenager I saw do this last week? They are short-sighted and childish. Their amusement matters to them more than a child cut by broken glass. They are costing you by making otherwise reasonable people believe they need to use tax money to clean up these messes. The lack of forethought or concern is inhuman. I picked up his broken glass, by the way.

Irresponsible people give others excuses to try to govern them with "laws". This hands government an opportunity to destroy everyone's liberty because of the behavior of a foolish minority. Hold irresponsible people accountable for their behavior, but don't treat everyone as if they are irresponsible. People live up, or down, to your expectations.

Being responsible for your own behavior doesn't only apply to situations where others might decide you need to be governed.

If someone eats in a fast food place, makes a huge mess by leaving trash on the table and food on the floor, they make dining there more expensive, because more work is needed to recover from their presence. Maybe they don't mind paying more for the privilege of being irresponsible and not cleaning up after their children, and in this case perhaps they'd be happy to pay an extra fee to cover their behavior. The rest of us shouldn't subsidize them.

You don't even necessarily need to try to make the world a better place for your having been here; just don't work to make it worse. It's really not that difficult.


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Non-verbal communication: government

I can communicate so many things without words. Many nice, friendly things, without even using any standardized sign language. I know, because I've done it with people who couldn't hear and people who spoke no language in common with me. And we always managed to get the point across.

But think about how to wordlessly communicate the concept of "government"; The State.

I suppose grabbing someone by the shoulders and shaking them, or slapping their face, would work. I seriously can't see how you would make it understood that you are speaking of government without showing it is thieving and aggressive. Because that is the defining trait which changes an act into a State-like act, different from all other types of behavior.

But, then I wonder why it would be necessary to communicate such awful things to someone.

It's not voluntary; it's aggressive

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