Monday, January 10, 2011

Quote of the Day

"We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions." ~ Ronald Reagan

2 comments:

Kadim said...

Curious...why did this quote resonate with you so much?

I wonder what the context of this quote was. When I read it, my libertarian side gets a bit agitated, thinking about all the stupid laws that are enforced but should never have been codified.

Maggie Thurber said...

Kadim - the impetus was the recent Arizona shooting wherein many in the media and the left are blaming conservatives for the act. It's not the first time that this has happened - blaming society for criminal acts.

Is it possible that societal factors influence individuals who then commit crimes? Yes - and there are plenty of court cases where those who commit crime blame their parents, their upbringing, etc... for their actions.

But we are human beings with the ability to make a choice. We can choose NOT to commit a crime as much as we can choose to. No one but you can pull a trigger on a gun - no matter what has happened in your life up to that point.

Sadly, I believe that too many people these days want to blame others for things that are 'wrong' in their lives. In blaming others they then have no obligation to do anything about the situation since it's not their fault. They also can refuse any accountability for the act - and, sadly, our current society seems to go along with this erroneous idea. All this creates a society of envy and irresponsibility.

As for the libertarian side of you, I'd agree wholeheartedly that too many laws are on the books and only serve the purpose to make criminals of people who otherwise wouldn't be.

As for the context of the speech I believe it was during the civil unrest of the 1960s. It was part of a speech Reagan gave as Governor during the Republican National Convention's Platform Committee Meeting in Miami, FL, on July 31, 1968 (according to the Reagan Library). Here is a link I found to a book that contains part of the text that should provide the context of the comment.

http://books.google.com/books?id=6NQxbamo8skC&lpg=PA176&dq=We%20must%20reject%20the%20idea%20that%20every%20time%20a%20law's%20broken%2C%20society%20is%20guilty%20rather%20than%20the%20lawbreaker.%20It%20is%20time%20to%20restore%20the%20American%20precept%20that%20each%20individual%20is%20accountable%20for%20his%20actions&pg=PA176#v=onepage&q&f=false

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