Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Labora et Labora

I am supposed to post a discussion on the Fourth Principle: Respect for Laws and Rules. Yet, the homily of our parish priest during our monthly mass in the Municipal Center is the one playing in my mind. He was elaborating on the two virtues of San Isidro Labrador, which is the motto of the Benedictines, "Ora et Labora".

Father Dan mentioned a very important point that I want to pick up for our reflection. He observed that many farm laborers do not anymore go to Sunday Masses to worship because they are not allowed by the corporation that hires them to be absent even for an hour from work. While others are in the churches praying, many are on the field working on a holiday. This practice reflects the kind of philosophy that this corporation has, which is in contrast to the employer of San Isidro who allowed him to pass by the church to pray before going to work.

I don't know if the reason behind is merely because of the exigency of scientific farming. But, knowing that the management are coming from an atheistic culture, I suspect there is a carry over of that atheistic culture and worse since it is being imposed on the laborers in a systemic and discreet manner. What if the people would defy the management? What if they would dialogue with the management on this matter? What if the priest himself would dare the management? Will the situation change? Will the management compromise? Will the laborers be liberated and grateful by showing themselves in the church?

The Municipality of Banaybanay, where I reside and work as government employee, is known as the Rice Granary of Davao Oriental. Being abundant in rice, we expect that people would not suffer the rice crisis experienced by other non-rice growing municipalities. However, that is not always the case here. A number of families are still without rice on their table. More than six hundred hectares out of the two thousand hectares, more or less, of ricefields are being grown with hybrid rice for seed production, not for food. Many people are mere laborers. Even landowners turn into laborers and their lands are rented out to corporations. As a consequence, these landowners do not own their produce anymore; and so they buy high priced rice from the market with the very low daily wage earned at PhP 80.00.

This alarming situation, though unfortunate, people would say: "It's better than nothing." With the soaring prices of farm inputs and without government's subsidy, people would just be contented with the very minimal income they have since, in fact, it is better than what the government is offering. What if the local government would subsidize the farmers' farm inputs? What if the provincial government would produce organic fertilizers to lessen the burden of high priced synthetic fertilizers? What if the government will buy farm equipments to be rented out by farmers at lower fee? Initiatives like these must be given serious consideration and immediate implementation or else the government loses its very essence as an agency that serves the common good.

When people are forced to work in order just to survive, they would surely work and work and work. Instead of Ora et Labora, it will turn into Labora et Labora. The Egypt experience of the Israelites is a classical example of this. Shall we wait for ten plagues to occur before we act? Shall we wait for God to appear to us on a Burning Bush before we realize our mission to liberate the people from this situation? I hope we give heed to the challenge of our Parish priest. Something must be done and it must be done NOW before it is too late!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Some Treasures of Chiara Lubich

I am blessed to have received some treasures of a Saint. Chiara Lubich, the foundress of the Focolare Movement, died last March 14, 2008. Among the many words of wisdom I learned from her, these are very valuable and among the earlier lessons that convicted me to the God Who is Love.


“… We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” When you realize this, your life changes radically. If you are objective enough to recognize that nothing is lasting, “all is vanity of vanities” and everything is relative, you will discover the sense of the absolute and make a firm choice of God because he alone does not come to an end. God will be the ideal of your life.

If you are sincere, you must make your life comply with this ideal without compromise, or reservations. How can this be done? There is a definite answer: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is logical, because it would be absurd to commit your mind, your heart and your strength to something transitory. Only the absolute can be loved with all your heart.

God is still no more than the name of someone in whom perhaps you believe but you do not know. Now he becomes more real in comparison with the emptiness of everything else. If you begin to love him, he makes himself known.


Love is not a feeling but action. “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love;” “If a man loves me, he will keep my word.” Love for God in practical terms is doing what he wants from us. “Not everyone who says to me: “Lord, Lord” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

You must unite your will with the Will of God. You must want it: your only will must be the Will of God. But aspiring to carry out the Will of God other than in the present moment is an illusion. The moment we are living in is all that is really ours.


Starting to act according to the will of God in the present moment is the beginning of an evangelical commitment. Soon, as God sees that you are loving him sincerely in the present moment, he shows himself to you and gives you his light. Gradually many questions you have always wondered about find an answer and many aspects of your life are linked by a new logic.
“My food is to do the Will of Him who sent me.” You can say the same to yourself, and you realize that the more you carry out the will of the Father, the more you become like Christ.
You no longer imitate Jesus Christ superficially in an external way. You do not strive to copy him in appearances, for instance in an outward show of poverty, in physical penances or literally traveling without luggage, but you want to resemble him in the most intimate aspect of his personal life, the heart of his life, in doing the will of the Father.
“Anyone who says, I know him, and does not keep his commandments, is a liar,” refusing to admit the truth. But when anyone does obey what he said, God’s love comes to perfection in him. We can be sure that we are in God only when the one who claims to be living in him is living the same kind of life Christ lived.”
This way is open to everyone. It is not restricted to one particular calling in life. It can be lived by men and women, by people of all ages. What really matters is that each person, wherever they are, tries to do what God suggests. Here is a realistic and practical possibility of uniting people of all kinds: doing the Will of the Father and finding as a result of relationship of brothers with the Son.
Each man has his own life and the Will of God is expressed in a different way for everyone, but it is the same Will of God which links everyone together and with the Father and the Son.
Life is transformed. So many things separate people but this one Will carried out by each person makes men brothers. They find that they are united with one another and with Christ, and through Christ with the Father. “So that you and we together may share in common life, that life which we share with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.”
This is how Christ is united to the Father. He is the living will of the Father: his will and action. It is up to us to act like him.


If you choose to do God’s Will, your whole life must change. You must reconsider the plans you have made for the future. You must throw off your old way of looking at things and become adaptable, ready to accept new or unconventional ideas. The struggle you must now wage is against yourself.

Unless you want to deceive yourself, you must live fully in the present and not rely on a future which may never come. God is a Father; it is absurd to be afraid of what he wants us to do. He can only want our full development and happiness. He knows men better than they know themselves. They can surrender themselves to him without fear.

You must believe in love, but you must not confuse surrender with lack of commitment. On the contrary, it means carrying out each moment what you understand to be the Will of God with all your heart, your strength and your intelligence. If you are always to go with whatever God suggests, you must be ready to change continually as circumstances demand. In this way you become flexible.

You have taken the plunge. You have set out on and adventure, without knowing where will it take you, but certain that it can only lead to the most perfect fulfillment of your personality since you have placed yourself in the hands of the creator of the universe, of life and of time.

You discover that God has an original plan for each man. If we let him work freely in us, he is ready to create masterpieces of our lives as he did with those we call saints. But he has chosen to need man’s agreement, freely given, moment by moment, to his creative love.


Violence is needed. The old man in us must die in order to let the new man live. In order to listen to the voice of your conscience, you must shut out the appeals of the world that prey on you.

Your relationship with others must change. Instead of only seeking the company you find congenial, go out to each person you encounter without discriminating or holding back.

It is impossible to do two things at once – the will of God and the will of the old man in you. So your attitude must be positive – to fill yourself with God – rather than negative – to be emptied of self. And then as a result you will discover you are free from your attachments and free from your ‘self’.

And if you realize that you have gone off the rails and revived the old man, the only way to pull yourself up is not to waste time fruitlessly dwelling on your mistakes, but to start loving God again, doing his will which for a moment you had neglected.


And so in doing God’s will with all your heart, your mind and your strength, you find a great peace – the peace that the world cannot give, the peace that Christ alone can give. “Peace among men with whom he is pleased.” On the other hand, outside the Will of God there is only uncertainty, confusion, selfishness and conflict.

By experiencing this contrast, you realize what it means to live at a supernatural level and you learn how to clearly distinguish this way of life from the normal level of existence.

You become aware that you are not making the fullest use of this new way of living that you have discovered. Most of the time, you behave as though it did not exist because your heart and mind are cluttered with so many things but not with God.

And in contrast to this is Christ – the model for anyone who wants to love the Father; Mary, the woman who knew how to live God’s will exclusively: “I am the handmaid of the Lord; let what you have said be done to me.”


When you live God’s will, all the references to it in scripture begin to form a pattern: “I have come down from heaven not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.” “Let your will be done, not mine.” “I will always do what is pleasing to him.” “I have finished the work that you gave me to do.” “Here I am: as it is written of me in the scroll, I have come, O God, to do your will.”

Two facts become clear if you live these words: the scriptures contain a pattern of life open to everyone; Jesus is indeed, “the true light that enlightens every man”. You must look to him. The greatness of other men and women pales beside him, and they are only of example to us in as much as they too have tried to do solely God’s Will. You will never have to copy the actions of those who went before you. Each man has his own way. God never repeats himself.


“God is Love”: John’s definition is overwhelming. If you accept it, the logical consequence is believing and trusting utterly in him. You understand the meaning of love: you must be born again of God and be love in action as Jesus was. Accepting the Will of God is accepting God. Answering love with love: this is what it means to live as sons of God, as Jesus.

Christ, the Will of the Father in action, is the word that the Father says to men. He is the expression of the Father: the expression of love. “God’s love for us was revealed when God sent into the world his only Son.” And on the other hand, as a man, Christ had his own will with which he accomplished the will of the Father: the perfect expression of the love of mankind for God.

Being like him by sharing in his life, it is possible for you also to be an expression of love for the Father.

Jesus, God made man, wants to make our humanity divine, to transform it into love, to make it God and make us the children of God.

We should be as much as possible the one will of God, one love, on earth as it is in heaven.

Jesus, both God and man, gives you the chance of becoming divine if you freely decide to be united with him: and so, moment by moment, be Jesus, be Mary, “be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect”, like God, be him, one with him.


Christ left many teachings, numerous words of eternal life, but he only gave one commandment: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I love you.”

If we have decided to love God as he wishes, we must love one another in the way he loved. Together with our friends, we must begin to live out this will of God. It is Christ’s testament, the pinnacle of his teaching.

We will be judged finally on brotherly love: “I was hungry and you gave me food…” In fact, “Owe no one anything except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, you shall not kill, you shall not steal, you shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law,”

Love for our brothers is the greatest proof of our love for God.


Without love every activity is useless. “If I have the gift of prophecy, understanding all the mysteries there are, and knowing everything, and if I have faith in all its fullness, to move mountains, but without love, then I am nothing at all. If I give away all that I possess, piece by piece, and if I even let them take my body to burn it, but I am without love, it will do no more good whatever”.
With love, on the other hand, everything, even the most insignificant action, has value, because wherever we find love, God is to be found. “God is love and anyone who lives in love lives in God, and God lives in him.” There is no sense in doing the slightest thing unless we are united for, “Above all, keep your love for one another at full strength,” and “If, when you are bringing your gift to the altar, you suddenly remember that your brother has a grievance against you, leave your gift where it is before the altar. First go and make your peace with your brother, and only then come back and offer your gift.”
God’s presence among men bound by mutual love and living the gospel literally, fills them with such light – “Anyone who loves his brother is living in the light” – such strength and drive that doing the will of God becomes easy and pleasant.
Even loving your enemies is no longer difficult. Alone, it is practically impossible not to react when someone offends us; once united with others, not only are we able to control ourselves, but to actually return good for evil. “If anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well; if a man takes you to law and would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone orders you to go one mile, go two miles with him.”
You do not even resent the insult or harm your “enemy” causes you. “If your enemy is hungry, you should give him food, and if he is thirsty, let him drink. Thus you heap red-hot coals on his head. Resist evil and conquer it with good.”


Experiencing the unity brought about by mutual love, you soon understand that, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them,” and you see the wonderful effects produced by this unity and particularly prayer in unity because, “If two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”

Christ is present, therefore, among men united in his name. This presence of Christ in the fabric of society is so fruitful that we should be prepared to go to any lengths to safeguard it. Its effects are a new insight, a peace and a courageous certainty. Its absence is felt with equal force when you or someone else turns away from unity. It seems to be the end of everything. That understanding of the word of God as something beautiful, living and essential to real commitment seems to fade.

This is the moment when we must stand our ground no matter what it costs us and go ahead believing blindly in what we have seen in the times of light when we loved. In moments like this any attempt to improve things seems hopeless. Everything seems to be empty and meaningless. We are dissatisfied with everything until unity is reestablished, as a result of an even greater mutual love. Now we know from experience that, “We have passed out of death and into life… because we love our brothers. “Let Christ’s peace be arbiter in our hearts, to this peace you were called as members of a single body.”


Without others we can do nothing. Unity is everything because it permits Christ’s presence: unity with God, therefore, being his will in action; unity with others by living out the new commandment, unity with Christ because his presence among men is in fact his presence in each one of them. “May they all be one, Father, may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you.”

Those whom Christ unites and with whom he shares his light and strength – “I have given them the glory you gave to me” – discover that, “Life … is Christ”.

Whereas previously they ‘mixed’ with others, the presence of Jesus ‘fuses’ them into one, like a fire which out of two metals makes a third, an alloy with different features from either of the components.


Mutual love does not mean sentimental feelings. It means the constant sacrifice of everything of myself so that I can live the life of my neighbor. “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me.” This means loving my neighbor in order to love Jesus crucified living within him, just as Jesus, once he had become man, took upon himself all the sins and sufferings of mankind.

We have to love our neighbor, therefore, as Christ loved us, entering into him as Christ entered into us: into our humanity, into our sufferings and into our sins without having sinned himself.

Everything which is ours, both materially and spiritually, must be shared with our neighborhood, just as Jesus gave himself to us completely on the cross, and gives us his soul, his body and his divinity in the Eucharist. “All I have is yours.”

Our neighbor is Jesus to be consoled, fed, clothed, visited in prison. Jesus lives in us and we must see him in others. “Insofar as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me,” “because we are members of his body.”


To find the spirit of Christ again, you only have to meet with those who share this way of life. You are all filled with the one spirit. “Do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together. There is one Body, one Spirit.” “As long as we love one another God will live in us and his love will be complete in us. We can know that we are living in him and he is living in us because he lets us share his Spirit.”

Going to others is going to Christ. To be one means to be Jesus, to all be Jesus. When unity is complete (which require a total renunciation of ourselves in everything) and we have to part due to work or any other reason, each takes with him no longer his own spirit, in other words his own way of thinking, loving or feeling, but that of Christ which was present in the communion of brothers.

You continue to love everyone you meet without expecting to be loved in return. “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” and preserve that inner peace. Then you will go home to your friends still capable of loving and establishing unity again.

But unity costs us dearly. We have to be small, totally poor, nothing, for God’s love to spread by means of us. The greatness of Mary is that she is the most humble of all.

To be one with our brother means forgetting yourself completely. It means losing everything, even your own soul, in order to live the other person’s joys and sorrows to prove your love for Christ: weep with the person who weeps and rejoice with whoever is happy.


Charity is all that matters. When we succeed in making ourselves one with people who have problems – whether these be moral, emotional, intellectual or simply problems of communication – they find life again and love in return. They see the light once more because they feel loved; this light enables them to recover hope and over-despair.

If you act like this you relive the life of Christ: you continue it. He made himself one with us to lead us back to the Father. He made himself darkness with us who were blind to give us light again. “For our sake God made the sinless one into sin, so that in him we might become the goodness of God.” He made himself death with us mortals to raise us up in his risen life.

We have to love every man in this way. “If anyone is weak, do I not share his weakness? If anyone is made stumble, does my heart not blaze with indignation?” Like Jesus, we must become the other person, so that we may become us and receive the fullness of joy that unity gives us.

A member of the body of Christ united with him continues the redemption in that he passes on fullness of life to others and by suffering other person’s sorrow he continues the passion: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is the church.”


When there is charity among us, Christ repeats his words, “Be brave: I have conquered the world.” Alive in us, he continued his work.

You feel you too can say the words of Christ, “I am the light of the world.” Through this small cell, something passes which those who search with a sincere and open heart recognize as coming from God.

This light enlightens men and shows them that the thousands of things they are attached that are nothing compared with Christ, who unconsciously they have been seeking. This light brings a total revolution and breaks through to many souls as a call to leave everything and follow Christ. This detachment is helped by the presence of Christ among those united in his name. They witness the upheavals the coming of Christ provokes. “I have not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” He did not come to bring the quiet life of the world which breeds such boredom: he came to destroy this false peace, to break up the selfishness of families and to rebuild one family of children of God, a family formed by his brothers, whose father is in heaven.


You must know Jesus Crucified and nothing else. To be crucified with him and especially to be crucified with him in our brothers is the most conclusive proof of our love for the Father, “So that the world may believe it was you who sent me.” This is the example of the saints. They nourished themselves with God by loving the cross: the short-cut to him.

But of all the sufferings of Jesus on the cross, the most terrible was when after hours of the most terrible agony he cried: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The God-man was crying in giving himself entirely for his brothers. He had given everything. Thirty years of his life with his mother, a life of hardship, obedience and devotion. Three years of preaching and every kind of good work. Three hours agony on the cross in which he forgave his executioners, gave heaven to the thief and his mother to men. He gave us his body and blood which he has already given in the mystery of the Eucharist.

All that was left to him was his union with the Father which had made him so powerful on earth and so majestic on the cross. This feeling of God had to penetrate the depths of his soul, the soul of the Son of God, until it was no longer left. Love was extinguished in him. All light was put out. Wisdom was silent. He was cut off – at least in his feelings – from him with whom he had declared himself to be one: “The Father and I are one”.

He had compromised himself too much with mankind. He had made himself one with sinners.


In time amongst those who have chosen God as their ideal some may fall away. This always comes as a tremendous blow. Just as in unity you find life, in the same way the absence of unity is death. Jesus forsaken is the antidote to death.

When someone forsakes us, we are in a position similar to Christ’s and we rejoice in this sorrow because we have chosen Jesus Forsaken as the only thing that matters in our lives. And if you realize that your brother who is out of unity is also forsaken and must be consoled and loved, unity will often be re-established.


Those who lived this way are like logs crossed together to be lit and burnt by Jesus among them. What matters is that they are ready to give up everything except unity. If they are, a great number of people who come into contact with them will go away on fire, with the certainty that they have met God, and around them the community will take shape.

Unity will spread everywhere: unity of souls with God: unity within families; unity in the places where people work.

People will start to share. Each man’s needs will become everyone’s concern. The only right will be to serve and the only ambition to be the servant of all. “If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all. In the community, the last in other words those who imitate Christ most closely, are soon the first.


They lived and remained in the world, but they must take care not to be affected by evil. The normal values are reversed. Joy is being poor, pure, patient, persecuted for the sake of justice, gentle; or being separated if necessary when their relations – “a man’s enemies will be those of his own household” – do not understand and try to hinder friendship in Christ. What the world hates becomes pleasant to them because it is a way of being with Jesus.

Amidst difficulties of every kind they are filled with the joy which stems from the choice of God and of other people for his sake.

They acquire the spirit and language of Jesus. His words help them to determine, justify and decide on a course of action. Nothing remains unchanged. The most thorny problems find a solution in mutual love. Everything – science, art, religion, economics, the family, politics, - is penetrated by the spirit of Christ.

He is the beginning of everything and everything must return to him. “For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”


When men live together as brothers with Jesus, the Father is also drawn to them and lives with them. And he keeps the promises of the gospel to the letter.

“Give and it will be given to you.” Everything you give returns to you multiplied. Trust in God is strengthen and love grows.

“Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well,” When each person looks only for God’s kingdom and he reigns among those who love him, everything else revolves around them. He discovers our most fleeting thoughts and desires and fulfills them. He is a Father and shows himself as such. We are no longer orphans when we live with the Father. Eternal life has already begun.

“So do not worry; do not say, ‘What are we to eat? What are we to drink? How are we to be clothed?’ It is the pagans who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. He uses the most unexpected ways to obtain our needs for us. Those who love most are, accordingly, those who receive most: “For to everyone who has will be given more.” “Take what food and drink they have to offer, for, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” Love is the true penance.

“Unload all your worries on to him,” so that he may solve all impossible difficulties: unfailingly he will put everything right.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Third Principle: RESPONSIBILITY

RESPONSIBILITY, the third principle

With Ethics as our basic principle and when we live with integrity, we expect a strong character of the people. The third and closely related to the previous principles is responsibility. Responsibility is the state, fact, or position of being accountable to somebody or for something. Responsible citizens participate in government, church, volunteers and memberships of voluntary associations. This can be displayed in advocacy for various causes, such as “political, economic, civil, environmental or quality of life issues.”

Jennifer Self, sees the importance of responsibility as paramount to the success of democracy. "By engaging in civic responsibility, citizens ensure and uphold certain national values enshrined in the Constitution. Those values or duties include justice, freedom, equality, diversity, authority, privacy, due process, property, participation, truth, patriotism, human rights, rule of law, tolerance, mutual assistance, self restraint and self respect. Schools teach civic responsibility to students with the goal to produce responsible citizens and active participants in community and government."

On a personal level, we often observe that irresponsible persons are being overly dependent on others for recognition, approval, affirmation, and acceptance; chronically hostile, angry, or depressed over how unfairly they have been or are being treated; fearful about ever taking a risk or making a decision; overwhelmed by disabling fears. These usually leads to being unsuccessful at the enterprises they take on in life; unsuccessful in personal relationships; emotionally or physically unhealthy; addicted to unhealthy substances, such as the abuse of alcohol, drugs, food, or unhealthy behavior such as excessive gambling, shopping, sex, smoking, work, etc. Furthermore, over responsible and guilt ridden in their need to rescue and enable others in their life will disable them to develop trust or to feel secure with others and resist vulnerability.

To be responsible we need to let go of our sense of over responsibility for others. We also need to protect and nurture our health and emotional well being by taking preventive health oriented steps of structuring your life with time management, stress management, confronting fears, and burnout prevention. Moreover, we should take an honest inventory of our strengths, abilities, talents, virtues, and positive points; developing positive, self-affirming, self-talk scripts to enhance our personal development and growth. As responsible persons, we have to let go of blame and anger toward those in our past who did the best they could, given the limitations of their knowledge, background, and awareness. Let’s work out anger, hostility, pessimism, and depression over past hurts, pains, abuse, mistreatment, and misdirection.

A responsible person acknowledges that he or she is solely responsible for the choices in his/her life and does not blame others for the choices s/he had made. Instead, a responsible citizen points the finger of responsibility back to him/herself and away from others when you s/he is discussing the consequences of his/her actions; not feeling sorry for the ``bum deal'' one has been handed but taking hold of your life and giving it direction and reason.

How much do we train our children, students, citizens to be responsible? We have to provide learning opportunities for our young ones about civic responsibility. Through service learning, citizens participate in projects to help or serve the needs of other people. By getting their hands dirty and actually doing work, citizens experience the value and impact of giving to people and learn to be productive members of society. Volunteering is a form of civic responsibility, which involves the giving of time or labor without the expectation of monetary compensation. Many people volunteer through local churches, Red Cross, fire fighting, etc. Volunteering allows citizens the opportunity to share their skills and talents as well as the privilege to learn new skills while helping those in need of assistance.

Daniel B. Klein, Associate Professor of Economics,Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA 95053 defines "individual responsibility" as accountability; more specifically, it means government-administered systems of accountability for citizens. Both liberty and individual responsibility, then, pertain to the citizens' relationships with government. Hence, one citizen's crime against another is not an encroachment on liberty, and the practices of a philanthropic organization, even if arbitrary, are not departures from individual responsibility.

A blogger’s insight is worth mentioning: “Political Correctness, Deconstructionism, Trans-National Progressivism, Liability mania, Crime and Punishment, Terrorism, Welfare, Gun Control, Media Bias, Affirmative Action, Abortion, Education Reform, Social Engineering ‘- all of it’- will divide people according to their idea of Responsibility.

He/she also contends that it has been our long, bloody and noble history to rise to this idea of individual responsibility; because if it is indeed correct, then it ‘- alone’- is the liberator of ourselves as a species. Individual responsibility frees us from our past, from the fate of our birth, from the millennia of class and caste and of failed ideas that have kept so many in bondage for so long. If we indeed do have the ability to control our own selves, then we can free our own minds from the river of history and experience.

Finally, “there is a single litmus that does indeed separate the nation and the world into two opposing camps, and that when you examine where people will fall on the countless issues that affect our society, this alone is the indicator that will tell you how they will respond. The indicator is Responsibility.”