Globalization has created entirely new challenges, but it doesn’t excuse an inadequately dynamic labor force. The financial crisis revealed a horrific meatloaf of bad policy and bad actors, but it does not excuse an individual for refusing to keep personal financial commitments. Government policies and regulations have wreaked havoc on economic incentives, but they do not excuse a pitiful work ethic. China can manufacture products cheaper than many domestic companies and Mexico has added labor at the lower end of the wage scale. However, those facts does not excuse someone who refuses to develop new job skills or adjust to economic realities that offer both challenges and opportunities. Wall Street has often behaved recklessly, but that behavior does not justify a reckless Main Street. Automation and digital innovation create a daunting headwind for parts of the labor force, but that does not unlearn over one hundred years of lessons about “creative destruction” and innovation. Higher education has failed millions, but that does not mean it can disengage from society. Government has grown far too big, but that does not mean the people should capitulate and become entirely dependent on the state.

We do too much to feed angst without curing it. We can caricature successful corporate executives as “fat cats,” but that does nothing to heal the covetousness driving the caricaturing. We love the idea of “recalling” politicians who disappoint us, but that does nothing to restore responsibility to the voters who elected them to begin with. The need of the hour is to empower a renewed sense of responsibility, including facing the consequences of our actions. Our crisis of responsibility cannot be overcome if we are insulated by a perpetual safety net from the consequences of our actions. We reap what we sow, and so it should be.

Bahnsen, David L.. Crisis of Responsibility: Our Cultural Addiction to Blame and How You Can Cure It (p. 157). Post Hill Press. Kindle Edition.