Opinion: Personal responsibility

The Grand Island (Neb.) Independent wrote Oct. 2 on personal responsibility:

Self-discipline and personal responsibility have long been hallmarks of the people of the United States. The understanding is that without them, freedom is impossible. Without the "self" and the "personal," someone or something else must provide discipline and responsibility. And when that happens, freedoms are diminished.

Scorecards on the nation's adherence to these two principles are mixed, and often focus on failures. We are more overweight than ever, despite the obvious health risks and costs. Our prisons are overflowing with people who couldn't or wouldn't follow basic rules that are essential for a free and civil society.

Schools have their own problems, especially with some parents who seem oblivious to the fact that education is vital in order for their children to have a chance at the American Dream. Yet teachers have long known that parental involvement is often lacking in the cases of children who most need it.

Out-of-wedlock births are alarmingly high, despite overwhelming evidence that those children face a terribly steep road in becoming stable and productive people. ...

Despite discouraging examples such as these, the good news is that self-discipline and personal responsibility are still the norm for most Americans. For example, The Wall Street Journal reports that growing numbers of young people are saving for their futures. It takes real discipline to put off spending today in exchange for benefits that are long into the future. ...

Even though examples of self-discipline and personal responsibility still outweigh the failures by a wide margin, we need to more effectively address shortcomings. Far too many people are affected, and our freedoms are at stake.

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