May I have a dose of personal responsibility?
I read Ed Lasky's blog piece yesterday on President Obama's hypocritical data-mining efforts versus his public pronouncements on privacy policies. One sentence of Mr. Lasky's article stuck in my craw:
He wants to capture the young and libertarian-minded people by loudly broadcasting his desire to protect their privacy on-line, while he commands his campaign to spend millions of dollars to snoop on them for campaign purposes.
It struck me as an odd statement, because I see a lot of my contemporaries that want to have their cake and eat it too. I think Mr. Lasky exposes a separate, but related, issue entirely, and it's the same as the root issue with President Obama's contraception mandate, and a lot of the Occupy protestors too.
With the case of private corporations' privacy policies, some people take exception to all of the data collected, which is then bundled and sold to data brokers. Here's my problem with their misplaced anger: no one forced them to sign up for Facebook. When you obtain a membership to Facebook, Flickr, or any of the other online companies, you have to check the box saying you agree to the terms of service. If you don't bother to read the entire TOS before agreeing to it, who is to blame? Furthermore, with sites like Facebook, users can choose not to share information like your email address, current location, etc. Now, Facebook might still be able to collect that same information through other means, and so I would caution people to ask themselves: did Facebook commit a crime in collecting that information? If not, feel angry all day long but do not ask the Government to create new laws to deal with non-crimes. Anti-Facebook anger reminds me of this hilarious but poignant YouTube video.
As for Ms Fluke and her defenders/supporters, they posit that unwanted pregnancy is a big, lurking fear amongst all women. It might be, but the one sure-fire way to not get pregnant is to not have sex. Instead of socializing the risk of pregnancy, why not just accept the fact that actions have consequences and weigh the risks accordingly? Here's a basic test: "Am I ready for parenthood right now? No? Take the steps needed to make sure I don't become a parent." Case closed.
Spend some time doing a cursory search of current social issues, and I'd bet one of Mitt Romney's paychecks that the root of those issues lie in a lack of personal responsibility. Occupiers lament that banks got bailed out but individuals didn't. The underlying question is: why do you need a bailout? What decisions did you make that got you into this position in the first place? Did someone shove a pen into your hand, wrap your fingers around it, and then sign your name to the loan documents for your mortgage or student loan? No? Then you did it of your own free will. Do the due diligence required. You make only $40,000 a year as a house cleaner, but you're trying to buy an $800,000 mortgage. Even with excellent credit, your current situation doesn't give you the means to buy that house. You want to get a college degree, and you also want to pursue your life's dream of being a puppeteer. Excellent. But before you take on $50,000 of student debt getting an MFA in puppetry, realize that most jobs you'll find in your chosen field won't pay you enough to discharge that debt. Then make a decision on your education.
Instead of looking for a government solution, look in the mirror.