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Personal Responsibility Not Lawsuits
by Doug Hagin
09 October 2003McDonalds

How long until Americans are paying higher taxes on those foods deemed bad for them?

Over your breakfast of scrambled eggs loaded with cheddar cheese, bacon, grits with butter salt and pepper, hash browns, and freshly squeezed orange juice, something to ponder. How long until Americans are paying higher taxes on those foods deemed bad for them?

How long until the greedy trial lawyers and power-hungry politicians and the busy bodies of the world start punishing you for eating what they say you should not?

Before you answer, consider the recent rash of lawsuits brought against fast food chains like McDonalds.

In the tradition of the anti-tobacco lawsuits, certain dollar-sign-driven lawyers have brought suits against fast food restaurants because they claim these establishments are responsible for their clients obesity and health problems.

Sounds very familiar doesn’t it? It goes right along with the current trend of no personal responsibility which has been growing in America for years. And sadly this trend seems to be gaining momentum.

Americans who smoke for decades are not to be held the least bit responsible for their health problems. Violence is not to be blamed on criminals; it is the fault of TV or video games or guns, or poverty, but certainly not the actual perpetrators themselves.

And now fat folks are not to be held responsible just because they eat fast food three times a day. It is not their fault. They were just victims. Surely they ate fast food for years and years, knowing it was not the best dietary choice, but still it is not their fault.

Of course this is an inane notion. To blame fast food restaurants for serving burgers and fries and shakes for obesity is like, well, blaming alcohol for drunk driving, or matches for burns. Yet we are allowing these greed-driven lawsuits in our nation.

Every day we are seeing some company sued for nothing more than selling legal products. Of course we all pay the price for this in several ways. The cost of any of these products rises to cover legal expenses, but this is the least of the costs to us.

The true cost is the loss of personal responsibility. Which of course means the loss of personal liberties as well. Surely the idea that we are just too stupid or incompetent to be blamed for our actions lends itself to the idea that we are not competent enough to handle freedom.

To remain a free country we must embrace individual responsibility as well. Common sense would dictate this is a pretty simple truth. The responsibility for a drunk driver rests solely upon the person who drank too much then drove. Yet many would blame bartenders and beer companies. Why? The responsibility for teens racing on our highways is theirs alone. Yet we try to blame movies with car chases or street racing. Again, why?

Street thugs commit armed robbery or other violent crimes and we look at gun makers as responsible. Where does this insanity come from?

A teen shoots up his school and we turn our collective ire as much on video games as on the murdering teen?

Surely this culture of “my actions and the consequences of then are not my fault” is to blame for such inanities. And both sides of the political aisle are to blame on this one, my friends. One might expect a Liberal to embrace a responsibility-free ideology, but not Conservatives.

Yet many Conservatives line up like proverbial sheep to blame violence on video games, music or TV. Now don't get me wrong: gangsta rap, MTV, and like entertainment is garbage. Nevertheless, they are not causing violent behavior. Only those who commit crimes are to blame.

Rational people reject the immorality and violence in entertainment. Rational people do not get loaded and then drive a car. Rational people realize smoking too much, or eating too much, is bad for them. And rational people are sickened when lawyers, politicians, and busybodies attempt to blame people’s actions and the consequences of those actions anywhere but on those people.

So what are we to do as a nation? Shall we remain free? Or shall we submit ourselves to a society where no one is held responsible and everyone sues every time they do something wrong or foolish?

Are we going to say enough is enough? Or are we going to continue down our current path to a land of no fault, no blame, no responsibility, and no liberty?
As for me I am going to do something incredible. I am going to watch TV, play some video games, smoke a cigar, drink a beer, and eat some fast food, all in a house with several guns. And guess what? I am not going to sue anyone, or blame anyone else if one beer turns to seven and I get a hangover. And I am not going to drive drunk. I am not going to shoot anyone either. Why? One word, responsibility!

Doug Hagin resides in Dallas and hopes to one day be a nationally syndicated columnist with his own radio show

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