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Too Many Men on the Field

Here’s a letter that I sent today to the Los Angeles Times:

Pleased that the National Football League snubbed Rush Limbaugh, Bill Stamps criticizes the radio host for believing that “most people are responsible for their problems and shortcomings” (Letters, Oct. 20).

Being a private organization, N.F.L. policies are none of my business.  It can snub or embrace whoever it wishes.  But I’m curious why Mr. Stamps thinks that Limbaugh’s belief in personal responsibility is out of bounds.

If the typical person isn’t responsible for his or her life, who is?  Sure, luck (both good and bad) is common, as is injustice.  But is fate so overwhelming that we are its helpless pawns?  Is it really so offensive for Limbaugh to advocate public policies that leave to each of us more responsibility for our lives?

If you doubt the answers to these questions, ask yourself if you think that my college students would study hard and perform well on exams if, on the first day of class, I announce that they will all get “A”s because, really, personal responsibility is a myth.  Anyone who answers that my students’ efforts and classroom achievements would fall ought to wonder at Mr. Stamps’s disapproval of Limbaugh’s emphasis on personal responsibility.

Donald J. Boudreaux