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Reality Check

The dirty little secret of American politics is that the government’s power to improve your life is pretty limited.

Jim Geraghty National Review

The dirty little secret of American politics is that the government’s power to improve your life is pretty limited. The best education system won’t help you if you drop out, the best economic policies can’t get you a job if you don’t apply for it or you’re not qualified, and the best health-care policies can only mitigate the damage if you don’t take care of yourself. Your problems will multiply if you succumb to the siren call of addiction. When people lie on their deathbed and look back on their lives with pride or regret, the political changes during their lifetimes aren’t usually a major factor. Your life is primarily shaped by your decisions, your determination, your judgment, your mistakes, and often how you responded once you realized you had made those mistakes. (And yes, luck.) The concept of individual responsibility for the quality of one’s own life is a frightening one; we greatly prefer scapegoats. To really come to terms with the idea that our lives are not what we wanted to be because we didn’t work hard enough, didn’t study hard enough, quit too soon, bristled at needed and accurate criticism or chose to ignore it . . . it can be devastating, thinking of all of the time wasted and opportunities missed. But concept of individual responsibility is also an empowering and liberating one. It means you don’t have to wait for someone else’s permission to improve your life. You can take action, right now, one little step in the right direction. Sometimes we don’t know what we ought to do, but a lot more often, we know what we should be doing . . . we just can’t quite motivate ourselves to do it.

Read more at:Jim Geraghty on Personal Responsibility

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