Sick and Tired

Yes, I am.

I love you, Theraflu. Especially with two packets of Splenda.

I’m still sick and feeling crappy.  My cold has migrated from my throat and invaded the sinus and ear regions.  I can’t taste anything and am pretty certain that I sound like Donald Duck when I talk.  My diet consists of Thera-Flu, crackers, and tea.

Bedtime has been rather early each evening (about 7pm), but I thought I’d stay up and share some not-so-coherent thoughts with my favorite blog readers (that’s you!).

A tragedy occurred yesterday in Tuscon, Arizona.

If you haven’t heard about it, don’t bother to turn on the news.  The Media Machine is set to “spin.”  You’ll discover no truths there.

By Susan Walsh, AP

Basically, what happened is this:  A complete nutjob opened fire on a group of people who were in attendance at an event called “Congress on Your Corner,” which was hosted by Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Six people were killed.  Many more, including Rep. Giffords, were wounded severely.  They are all in my thoughts and prayers, and I hope you’ll put them in yours.

While I was driving to and from school today, the local talk radio station I listen to played sound bite after sound bite of media spin, each more inflammatory than the ones before.  Each attempting to place blame where none is deserved.

The idiot who committed this heinous act is a psychopath.  He has a documented history of

Does this asshole look sane to you? (Getty Images)

deviant behavior as witnessed by family and school-mates.  I refuse to put his name on my blog because I don’t want search-engines to find my post in such a way.  Everything I’ve read about the guy gives me the creeps.  Including his mugshot.

And nothing I’ve read makes me want to blame any political party or organization.

Still, many are up in arms, blaming guns, the media, the left, the right, the liberals, the conservatives, the Tea Party, etc., etc.  But why didn’t anyone report his behavior to the police, for godsakes?

Too few are actually blaming the guy who pulled the trigger.

What the hell has happened to personal responsibility?

Our government is entirely too interested in making us dependent, complacent, and irresponsible.  Our liberties are being stripped away, and with that removal comes a lack of a need for personal responsibility.  If the government takes care of everything, why ought we care, right?

Before I get too fired up, I’d like to know what you think.  Are these two, personal responsibility and liberty, related?  Will removal of one denigrate the other?

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About DrPretzel

Student of philosophy and medicine, mother of 2 Creatures of Mass Destruction (a.k.a. "boys"), Soldier, sister, daughter, friend, cat person, social inept, INTJ, blah, blah, blah...are you even reading this?
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10 Responses to Sick and Tired

  1. Charisse says:

    Yes, but I was also trying to reach up to another point. It’s best summed up the way my husband does with his HS history class. He shows them the beginning and then the very end of Saving Private Ryan. Then he asks them to think about “Earn this.” And reminds them that this isn’t just a message for Private Ryan, it’s really a message to all of us.
    “Yes, you have the freedom of speech (for example), and yes, men and women have DIED for your freedoms. But do you REALLY believe that they chose to die so that you could tell your teachers to go f* themselves?” “Or perhaps, they died in hopes that you use your freedoms for a little bit more than that?”

    Liberty/freedom without virtue is also meaningless. Getting to do whatever the heck you want to without regard for WHY you do it, is no better than an animal. Neither is using your freedom solely to satisfy your hedonistic desires. Freedom isn’t free, it has been paid for in blood and we owe those who sacrificed a minimum of service, attentiveness and the pursuit of virtue in return.

  2. Brian Gillum says:

    A couple extra comments:

    Liberty unrestrained by responsibility on the part of the personweilding the liberty is amoral and anarchic.

    A person is free to wield their liberty as they wish, especially in pursuit of their own happiness, until such time as their own liberty begins to infringe upon or impedes upon the life or liberty or the pursuit of happiness of another (unless of course that persons liberty is attempting to infringe upon your life or liberty). The responsible person is almost always aware of thelimits of their own liberty when it comes to regards of other persons.

    • drpretzel says:

      I think you’ve succinctly summarized Charisse’s comments. I agree.

      For liberty to exist at all, we must respect the liberty of others. This requires that we be personally responsible for how our actions affect ourselves and others.

  3. Brian Gillum says:

    Liberty does ABSOLUTELY come with Personal Responsibility. We have a right to speak freely, but we have a responsibility to not libel/slander depending on whether we say it orally or in writing. We have the liberty to seek and follow a higher power (or none at all), but we have a responsibility to not force that religion/spirituality on others or proselytize to such a point it is harrassing. We have the liberty to assemble and to speak honestly with our government officials, but must accept responsibilty for the content and conduct of ouselves in that assembly and how we go about “fighting” City Hall/Statehouse/Congress. We have the liberty to be armed, but must accept the INDIVIDUAL PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for how we secure and use that weapon.

    Going to a peaceable assembly with a grievance about government/a governmenat official and using a weapon to attempt not only to settle the grievance with deadly force but to use the weapon indiscrimanately upon peaceful, innocent civilians is ubconscionable, and to blame those actions upon anyone other than one’s own self (unless under extreme duress of one’s own life or the life of loved ones) is cowardly. A person like that does not deserve liberty.

  4. Charisse says:

    Okay, I’m going to start the same way as Majeh85:

    Liberty without personal responsibility is to live as an animal or young child. I believe it has A meaning, but it is not a world I would choose to live in. Our actions have a deeper, more mature meaning when we hold OURSELVES accountable for them.
    Whether a community sees our actions as our own responsibility is a completely new level of meaning. I believe the best communities are built upon the premise that we are ABLE and WILLING to act responsibly and with a desire to improve ourselves and our decisions. This would be a society based on virtue. One I would dearly like to see come to pass.

    But, I find it perfect to quote Confucius right now. “The common people can be made to follow it, but they cannot be made to understand it.” Analects 8.9
    Now, I honestly believe some people prefer to live without personal responsibility out of ignorance. They choose to ignore ‘the path.,’ because personal responsibility is not easy, it is not fun, and it often does not lead to …. the ‘goals’ some people have, like becoming financially ‘successful.’ They often choose external goods, above, and often at the cost of goods of the soul.

    Part of living in a community that values liberty is to give people the freedom to live their lives in such a manner, so long as it does not cost another liberty to pursue their lives in the way they choose, or so long as no one else is harmed. Upon this, I believe we agree.

    Now I am tempted to go on and on about what a mistake it is to put liberty as our highest goal, and to value it above and at the cost of other goals… But I will keep it short. I will simply say that only VIRTUE can be given such a position in a community, and that we need to realize that liberty is simply the mean to an end -which is virtue. Because with out virtuous ends (& without the personal responsibility that leads to virtue) Liberty within a community does not have the same meaning. -Which is what I believe you were saying in your comment. 🙂

    Now, the events of this weekend and how varying people responded…

    This guy was insane. In our society people like this are often treated as little more than animals (not a moral subject/member of the kingdom of ends, ect… )
    Two good references on Moral Agency and Moral Responsibility:
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-responsibility/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_agency

    We can wonder about this man’s status as a moral agent and how he should be treated and what should reasonably be expected of him, but without more information this cannot be productive. Regardless of whether he is fully responsible for his actions or not, there is no one who can be directly blamed, and at this point, from everything I have seen it does not look like he was ‘politically’ motivated. He seems to have been ‘insane conspiracy-ly’ motivated.
    I have seen many comments on this (Mr. Obermans was very thoughtful, but as usual, fairly heavy and slanted) But BY FAR the best comment has been from Jon Stewart:
    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-january-10-2011/arizona-shootings-reaction

    If you have not seen this, PLEASE take a few minutes and watch it. He is amazingly good at cutting through bull* and getting to the point.

    My comment on his comment and yours:
    Taking this event as a freak insane and sickening act with no connection to the real world, it still highlights the necessity for PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY in the actions of those who put themselves on platforms of leadership. This includes those elected, those listened too, and the media who claims to be a trusted source of info and understanding.

    Leadership without personal responsibility is at best, meaningless; at worst, dangerous.

    • drpretzel says:

      I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Stewart’s commentary. You can’t “figure out” crazy.

      And while we ought not censor speech, we should also really consider and carefully choose our words. Words have a lot of power. Why should someone in the media say to another what is not acceptable in polite conversation? Truth certainly ought not be censored, but it also ought not be spun.

      When I look at the media today, I see very little “reporting” and a whole lot of “story-telling.” I don’t want a story, with embellishments and rhetoric. I want a report of facts so that I may utilize my own reasoning ability to draw my own conclusions. I think that if the media respected our ability to draw our own conclusions, the political climate would be a lot better off.

      However, going back to the AZ nutjob, I still think he’s a nutjob and would have likely done something nutty regardless.

      • Charisse says:

        Yup. In total agreement! I miss reporting like good ol’ Walter Cronkite. He was the man. 🙂

        Now ALL news has become too much of a business, trying to give people what they think we WANT and what they think will sell. Sensationalizing everything. Reporting hours on celebrities and balloon boys…
        Bunch of baloney. Everyone needs held accountable.

        speaking of which. I don’t think people NEED to be censored (Not unless its TRULY dangerous, and that is rare… fire! in a theater and all that…) BUT we should feel free to use our own freedom of speech to put peer pressure or to criticize those we feel are abusing their soapbox.
        It might have been wrong to jump to conclusions about Sarah Palin, but it was not wrong to point out her rhetoric was distasteful. And I am comfortable saying I feel it’s pretty damned irresponsible. I hope we start looking up to more mature people.
        President Obama isn’t perfect, but I really like the way he handles himself.

  5. Majeh85 says:

    Alright, I’m going to ignore the story in your post to make it easier for to answer the question you posed at the end, it’ll help me focus. So here I go.
    Without our liberties we have no choice in our actions, since liberty is synonymous with freedom(looked it up to be sure), so then therefore there would be no such thing as personal responsibility since everything we would do would be compulsory. And removing personal responsibility is like taking a massive, steamy dump on the words freedom and liberty, in my opinion.
    Sure we can have freedom and liberty without personal responsibility but it would be meaningless. If I’m not held accountable for my own actions, what is there for me to do that I would enjoy? Personal responsibility comes in both good and bad forms, praise for what I do right and punishment for what I don’t. And as I grow older I learn to feel good of the good things I do regardless of whether or not I have received praise, and the same for the bad things I may do. If I was never taught this then how would I know to be proud or ashamed of what of done, regardless of receiving praise or punishment? There would be no meaning behind my actions and my existence would merely be to exist and show that our government and society “care” about me because they haven’t left me to fend for myself and, most likely, die from poor decision making habits.
    So I don’t know if removing one would denigrate the other but without one the other is definitely pointless, in my opinion, again. Not gonna touch the political stuff because that’s a whole different monster and not one I plan to wrestle with.

    • drpretzel says:

      “And removing personal responsibility is like taking a massive, steamy dump on the words freedom and liberty, in my opinion.”

      My sentiments exactly. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

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