Thursday, September 29, 2005

Governmental Responsibility

I enjoyed reading Peggy Noonan’s essay about governmental authority and responsibility. More than the incompetence of and lack of coordination within our government’s response the recent hurricanes exposed problematic relationships between citizens and their government. Noonan states that, “We are losing the balance between the rights of the individual and the needs and demands of the state.” This problematic relationship extends beyond just emergency management; it touches all aspects of our lives.

I am still trying to work out exactly what I want to say about this essay and the problematic relationship between citizens and their government. Only individual people can take responsibility; groups, such as a government, cannot. However groups can take authority, although tragically often they often take poor or even unjust actions when no one in the group takes moral responsibility. Taking individual responsibility is inherently a moral action, but failing to take responsibility in a group is hard to define as immoral. Ultimately individuals must take responsibility for their own actions and jealously guard that responsibility because it represents their freedom. Failure to guard individual responsibility leads on the road to tyranny.

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