Individual Responsibility

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So this is the deal: society today frowns on giving the individual responsibility. We are governed by a set of rules that limits the ability of any individual to make a choice, because we believe that the individual will make the wrong choice, for either himself, others, or both. For example, take traffic rules. Rules such as stopping at stop signs and not running red lights should be entirely optional. A cop should not have jurisdiction or the responsibility to enforce such rules; they should merely be considered as social "recommendations." "You are recommended to stop here, but you may proceed without stopping at your own risk." Sitting at a red light when no traffic is coming makes one feel like a fool and a cog. Why do we sit there, comfortable in our upholstered seats, staring at a red light waiting for the green when we can obviously see that there is no cross-traffic and that it is safe to cross? Because we are scared that we will get a ticket. Why are we scared that we will get a ticket? Because we are scared of what others may think when they find out that we got a ticket for running a red light. Because we will be ostracized by our peers, and considered an unsafe driver. Because we are scared that it will go on the infamous, anonymous "record" and that we will be scarred for life as if with a scarlet letter. Why do we respect the "record"? Why do we place such value in not even making a single mistake if we can help it?

Because society values its existence as a whole over the existence of individuals. Individuals are valued only so far as how they can contribute to the creation and maintenance of a society, and beyond that, all their individual needs must be satisfied on their own. We choose to restrict the choices that individuals can make because we don't believe that they will make the "right" choice, whatever that may be. As a result, we feel demeaned and stupid, sitting at a red light at 2am, waiting to cross as the city sleeps. In New York...
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