A Facebook friend who is a bit of a hippie re-posted a picture on their wall yesterday:
I/m sure that she meant this picture to be about tying yourself down to the "corporate rat race" or missing out on the "little things in life"--but I hope that she also agrees with the idea that people need to be held accountable for the decisions they make in life.
The greatest trend in our society today has been the move away from accountability and consequences. For awhile, the phrase "through no fault of their own" was real popular--especially when it came to people who had greatly over-extended themselves with mortgage or student loan debt. It was why the rest of us--who hadn't followed that path--were supposed to help pay for those debts. But aren't we saying that those people were just going along minding their own business when someone jumped out of an alley and saddled them with a mortgage they couldn't afford or a degree in a field that cannot financially support the cost of that degree? Even if the borrowers didn't fully understand what they were signing, no one was holding a gun to their heads on the way to the bank.
We only seem to be interested in enduring consequences when they aren't bad. One of the things that has led to endless wars since the 1960's is that we don't experience the consequences of those military actions. There has been no gas or food rationing because of the War On Terror. We just continue to borrow the money to fund the war effort--instead of hiking taxes on civilians to pay cash as best we can to fight. Imagine how soon militant Islam would have been wiped off the face of the earth if Americans had to make the same sacrifices the past 14-years that our grandparents and great-grandparents made for just five years in the 1940's.
The great thing about consequences--and actually dealing with them--is that they tend to change behaviors. You think the person who works so hard to get out from mortgage or student loan debt is going to rack up the red ink after they finally get back to even? Is the person who is forced to take care of someone who didn't plan properly for their retirement going to make the same mistakes just assuming that the next generation is going to take care of them? And will entire nations spend themselves into a bottomless pit of debt, now that Greece is being made to trim its entitlement programs and pay back it's creditors?
Consequences are real and they may be painful--but not forcing people to face them is not in any way "fair" to them--or to the rest of us.