Today, I will investigate the best solution to personal and societal issues: personal responsibility.
Table of Contents
- If You See Problems, You Should Have Solutions
- False Solutions Are Pointed Outward
- Personal Responsibility Is The Only Solution
- They Offer No Solutions
- The Only Thing We Can Control Is Ourselves
- Reading List
If You See Problems, You Should Have Solutions
“Nothing is more deadly to achievement than the belief that effort will not be rewarded, that the world is a bleak and discriminatory place in which only the predatory and the specially preferred can get ahead.” – George Gilder
Whenever identifying problems in society, one must look for a solution. It’s easy to spot a problem. It’s harder to deliver a solution.
The more effective you are as a thinker, the more solutions you can bring to a current situation you are looking at.
What are some current problems?
- Hostility toward the majority
- Hostility toward and exploitation of the virtuous, innocent, and productive
- Addiction to security, drugs, and outrage culture
- Mass ignorance and stupidity create generations of people unable to solve complex moral and social issues
- Supply chain issues
- Ever-growing A.I. and the corrupt politicians and corporate leaders in charge of such technology
False Solutions Are Pointed Outward
You know a solution is not practical when it is pointed outward. The more external a solution is, the less effective it is.
Only the individual acts. You cannot have a forest without trees. Therefore, we cannot divorce the individual’s actions from the chaos that arises from situations such as inflation to mob violence. If individuals act differently, things will be different. Systems are only as corrupt as the individuals who operate within them.
People externalize solutions to avoid personal responsibility. For example, crime in black neighborhoods is not because of criminals victimizing others. We are told the problem is “systemic racism.” Or, obesity is objectively a negative thing for the individual and society. Therefore, we are told the issue is fat-shaming, not individuals refusing to care for their health.
In each instance, is the issue solved? Has fighting “systemic racism” made inner cities safer? Has fighting “fat shaming” made people healthier and reduced the cost of health care? Or have the victims and victimizers externalized their pain and their responsibility to overcome it?
Personal Responsibility Is The Only Solution
But if an individualized approach was taken, then what would happen? Black individuals would have to police their communities, expel criminals, and refuse to go down a path of criminality. An obese person accepting responsibility would have to go on a diet, exercise, and remove toxic people from their lives who chant “healthy at every size.”
Yet, seeing that your pain and suffering are mainly your own is hard and unbearable. How is any of that easy? Of course, it’s much easier to say society is at fault and externalize the change needed.
But the solution has always remained the same: personal responsibility. The individual suffers when he seeks virtue and pursues his most virtuous self. However, he will overcome his pain to reach new heights. He will defeat his addictions, achieve his virtuous ends, and become an asset to his community.
The only way to resolve societal and personal issues is for the individual to accept more responsibility for his or her life. There has never been and will never be another viable solution.
Is Personal Responsibility Pragmatic?
Obviously, most people will reject my solution. The greatest black pill I ever had to take was admitting most men do not want to be free. They do not want to be responsible. They are pleased with addictions, abuse, and trauma.
Your average voter will not directly support his community or make himself more informed. Black individuals will not dedicate themselves to lowering crime in their communities and quelling any internal desire for violence. Obese individuals will not fight to lose weight and achieve happiness.
So, individualism must not be pragmatic. Surely, if most people refuse to become better, then such a philosophy is one of idealism?
Firstly, idealism motivates us to be more than we are today. You cannot desire anything if you do not have an ideal worth desiring.
But secondly, what are the other solutions? Has the government delivered a better society? Has it increased the standard of living? Has it ended wars, fixed potholes, or fed the hungry?
What about systemic racism? Has our obsession over this nonsense actually improved the people such a battle was meant to help? What about reducing “fat-shaming”? Are obese people happier? Do they live longer now? Have we truly reached great heights?
They Offer No Solutions
The “solutions” put forward by the critics of individualism are just as ridiculous. Do you expect a government official to act honestly with extraordinary powers? Do you expect individuals to behave themselves once all systemic, external burdens have been lifted?
Our societal issues exist because most people hate being responsible for themselves. Of course, such a mindset is dangerous and crazy—either internal tyranny or external tyranny. Without proper self-control, we lose greatly.
The Only Thing We Can Control Is Ourselves
“Many who are self-taught far excel the doctors, masters, and bachelors of the most renowned universities.” – Ludwig von Mises
We start, of course, with ourselves. If you live responsibly and embrace your duty to your most virtuous self, your life will improve.
Critics will say such idealism is unrealistic, but have they tried it? Take a month and pursue your most virtuous self: focus on your goals, cut back on your vices, build a sustainable life, and follow the 13 virtues. Would your life not improve immensely?
Alone, you can’t change the system or society. Maybe you can join groups or vote for different leaders. But I wouldn’t ignore your personal greatness. If your group becomes corrupted or your politician betrays you, you always have yourself to fall back to.
- What problems in the world do you see? What solutions have you thought of?
- How has embracing more responsibility for yourself making your life better? For example, how do things improve when you take better care of your health, control your emotions, and pursue your virtuous ends?
- What are the problems you see in your life? Why are they there? What can you do to resolve them? Do you believe you can resolve them? Trust me; you can.
- The Road To Serfdom by F.A. Hayek – Hayek details “the abandonment of individualism and classical liberalism inevitably leads to a loss of freedom, the creation of an oppressive society, the tyranny of a dictator, and the serfdom of the individual.” His solutions for avoiding such an outcome are practical, and his aims are virtuous.
- Practical Anarchy by Stefan Molyneux – Molyneux breaks down how a stateless society, i.e. a society with institutionalized violence, could practically work. It’s a great book and offers practical solutions to the drawbacks naturally created by the state.
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.