Earlier tribal societies had one thing easier than we do. It was easy for them to see that the individual needed the community, and the community needed each member, fully functioning—often for mere survival. Both self-sufficiency and contribution to the group were highly valued and inextricably woven into the fabric of life. The social order encouraged and supported personal development in accord with life’s very real demands. Those who did not adapt fared poorly and on occasion were cast out—presumably to learn from the rigors of life directly and not disable the community at large.

Other things have gotten easier, but becoming a fully functioning human and community member has not. We increasingly accommodate dysfunction—for who is without some trace of it? Social complexities have made things murky and after all, our survival is not at stake—is it?

Despite social complexity and political correctness, dots are being connected. Discerning leaders see that individual responsibility is still core to the health of both the person and their community. Those who wish to rescue others and those who wish to be rescued innocently weaken society. One unwittingly robs another of personal responsibility and the other abdicates it. If we are to reach our personal potential and create a social order that will adequately serve our children, our social policies must stress greater individual responsibility.

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”

— Abraham Lincoln