Personal Responsibility

We’ve used an in-progress car crash to describe the state of our Republic.
Recall: a car, midair, on fire, full of people yelling about who should drive next.

One of things that keeps people motivated in life, is traction. When we move towards our goals – even slowly at first – we build momentum. Momentum builds speed. And both come from traction.

No one can do this for you. Where the proverbial rubber meets the road in life, is where dreams have a chance to become real. This is your personal responsibility.

Our society doesn’t espouse the virtue of being self sufficient, self reliant, or taking responsibility. While this might seem foreign to some, please, don’t give up reading yet…

Good tires take the motion and energy of a car, – and apply that to the road to move ahead.

We can all have hopes and dreams and wishes but, without traction, we won’t get there. Good tires convert a good engine into performance. Good tires help good brakes safely slow before hazards. Good tires are the vital connection from ourselves, to our future. And each of us needs good grip here. Personal responsibility is a measure of how tightly we grab onto our dreams – for ourselves, and beyond.

What happens, though, if they lack grip when we try to turn the wheel? What happens if the tires are bald?


A tipping point in society occurs when a majority of people aren’t productive, but demand a free ride. While charity is good – when self reliance is replaced with handouts, peoples’ ability to take care of themselves fades quickly.

Hard work used to be considered a virtue.
For so many now, it’s something to be avoided.

This lack of responsibility for oneself creates a feedback loop in society: dependence. Dependence on others handouts intensifies the calls for ever more freebies and handouts. The unfortunate side effect here, is that this dependence makes people easy to manipulate.

Dependent people vote for whomever promises more free stuff….
Big government? Yeah, ok.
Corrupt politician? That’s fine.
Taxes on other people? Do it.
Borrow money we can’t afford? Whatever.

People will accept anything – just as long as they get their handouts.

A normal environment can’t sustain a lack of contributions from so many members. But of course, we don’t live in a normal society anymore… Our friendly politicians exacerbate the cycle by getting reelected with the promise of even more free stuff! Officials in charge of an unwieldy government are happy to deliver more ‘free’ programs and transfers to people who now require them for survival. Eventually though, even the best car gets overloaded when so many people demand a free ride.


It is implied in the US constitution, that each person is free to seek their own happiness. Now people wait for someone to tell them what to buy, think and feel. People seem to accept a muted existence, as long as they don’t have to do a whole lot. As long as there is a TV to watch, internet for shows and social media to complain about life… that seems to be enough for a big portion of the US public.

The sad part is, by relying on the state or those in power to provide free stuff – we give up the chance to achieve our personal dreams. Consumption of products and media, becomes more important than exploring their own potential. To paraphrase: we take drugs we don’t need, to impress people we don’t know, by making sure we are part of the group and don’t feel anything uncomfortable at all. 

When people hand over the keys to their dream to others, in exchange for free stuff, they get in return a very basic life.

What no one tells you, is the more dependent you are, the less responsibility you take for finding your purpose – the less you feel when you’re alive.

All of this can be fixed, incidentally. It’s not even particularly difficult.

People can get the lives they really want, by taking personal responsibility for the state of their lives.

(mixed metaphor follows, see the FAQ)

A young bird flies by flapping its own wings. They know no-one can do it for them. And honestly, they first fly awkwardly, maybe embarrassingly compared to more experience fliers. But, when they again and again flap their own wings – they gain the strength, experience and conviction to soar.

Instead of looking to others to provide the lift, stability or happiness we really dream of under our wings – what if we each go and get it ourselves? How would that make us feel compared to demanding others provide the world to us for free?

Getting a free ride seems like a slick play, a clever move. But, really, it just makes us weak – and eventually proud people forget how to fly for themselves.

To learn more, read all 10 short stories on What Is Wrong With America.