In response to Karl Neathammer's diatribe on individual responsibility, I generally agree with his assessment that individual rights coupled with personal responsibility is the ideal we should all, as concerned parents and citizens, strive toward.
The issue has its reflections in our modern capitalist world community. The individual responsibility of investors in new business ventures (speculators) is often ameliorated by government bailouts as in the S&L's of the '80s ($500 billion) or the IMF exploits on behalf of Mexico ($25 billion) or long-term capital management on Wall Street, or better yet hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to sports team owners for stadiums. The reasoning is something about "too big to fail."
Mr. Neathammer's allusion to "gang members, miscreants, psychotics and the other scum that violate us" reveals a side hardened to the realities of a vastly unbalanced economic system. I would submit that real compassion (a universal spiritual precept) is to be found in the desire to implement "experiments in social engineering" and that I, as a taxpayer, see at least as much credence in that as in bailing out a bunch of wealthy speculators.
It seems Mr. Neathammer is trying to have it both ways. On one hand, everyone should be self-reliant, honest, moral and not weekly in need of some form of social insurance, and on the other hand, in the name of free markets, self reliance and individual responsibility, it is OK to have social programs which bail out the more fortunate for merely speculating for extreme profits.
There are no easy solutions, but the one inspiration I can inevitably take is that America is a symbol and grand example of a successful and still evolving "experiment in social engineering."