Yeah, I just made that up. Still, hyper-responsibility is in my opinion the perfect term to describe one of the core beliefs of right-wing ideology; the myth of personal responsibility on steroids...
I believe it was during the 2012 Republican primary elections when Ron Paul was asked who would pay the medical bills of a person without health insurance who had a severe accident or fell into a coma. Ron Paul is a libertarian who strongly beliefs in God, the free markets and personal responsibility. He answered by pointing out that it's the beauty of freedom to be responsible for your own fate, meaning that the hypothetical person in the question didn't take the responsibility to buy health insurance, and is therefore responsible for whatever bad fate he meets. The moderator follows up by asking if that person should be left to just die, and while Ron Paul hesitates to answer some voices in the right wing conservative Republican audience start screaming "YES!!" Yes this person should just be left to die, it's his or her own fault to not buy health insurance, or to not be in a position to afford such insurance.
It's easy, and wrong, to simply say that these right wing ideologues are cold-hearted bastards. Sure, some of them are, but most are not. If they all are heartless, and if 50% of voters vote Republican, it would by extension mean that half the American population consists of these cold-hearted bastards, and I refuse to believe that's true. No, I think most of them truly believe that their radical beliefs about personal freedoms and personal responsibility are in fact beneficial to society as a whole. They say "pull yourselves up by your bootstraps", not to punish or belittle, but because they truly believe in each and every individual's potential to do better. And they truly believe that if you help these individuals you're not helping them at all, you're just denying them the chance to find and express that potential. Worse even; you ultimately deny society as a whole to take advantage from that individual's potential.
This belief also bestows upon us a great sense of power, or at least it can. To truly be the master of one's own destiny is a recognition of one's own power to change things for the better. It's literally empowering to not only believe but to know that what you have and what you achieve in life is the result of your own choices and actions. It's no coincidence that rich people, the ones that "made it" are generally more right-wing than poor people. The poor people who believe this though, and remember that most of us are poor people, are often miserable; they believe that their failure to "make it" in life is their own fault. It's also no coincidence that stress, depression and suicides are on the rise, and Jordan Peterson is getting rich by selling a self-help book, 12 Rules for Life to make these depressed person slightly better about themselves, while still advocating for the belief of ultimate self-responsibility.
See? There's always two sides at the very least, there's always more than one perspective from which to observe each ideology, always multiple angles from which to attack any problem. However, they're still wrong, or at least the radicals are, like the anarcho-capitalists and the capitalist libertarians or right-wing libertarians, who endorse the type of libertarianism or anarchism that supports capitalism and private ownership of resources and other means of production. Their belief that everything you are, everything you achieve and every failure is your responsibility, and yours alone, is a denial of reality. In reality we all are for the most part a product of our environment in the broadest sense of that word; our social, natural, geographical environments as well as the time into which we are born, raised and pursue our professional goals, they all work together to define the person we become. Only a very small part of what we are is hereditary, they contain instructions that dictate how a person's body is made, and even our genes are influenced by environmental forces. We all are the sum-total of our experiences, and what else is experience than our interactions with the environment we find ourself in and all the other persons, things, plants and animals in it?
To simply say that each individual is a conscious, calculating agent who's free to choose what to do, when to do it and with whom, is denying reality. It also flies in the face of the very reason why we form communities, and to say that we don't form communities is another blatant denial of reality. When Thatcher said "there is no such thing as society", she told a bold-faced lie. To believe that a billionaire like Bezos or Gates earned their billions all by themselves, is a denial of reality; no one person is capable of creating that much wealth, only communities can manage that. But in the eyes of the right-wing libertarian it is a criminal act to subscribe to that reality by raising taxes on those billionaires. Their belief in radical responsibility moves them to say that taxes are theft, rather than to say that taxes are a simple way to admit to the reality that only many hands can produce so much wealth.
That's what I have to say on the subject, but I found this video discussing all this as well, and I liked it, so I would be selfish to not share it with you, dear reader ;-) It's by LuckyBlackCat, and she calls it "radical responsibility"... I like "hyper-responsibility" better, even if I say so myself. And I just did. Please enjoy!
The Seductive Power of the Right-wing Fantasy: Can We Break the Spell? | [Radical Responsibility]
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