≡ Menu

The State of Irresponsibility

Driving home this afternoon from campus I heard a political ad on WTOP radio that saddened and scared me. The ad was by and for David Trone, who is running as a Democrat in Maryland’s 6th district for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. In the ad, Mr. Trone expressed his desire for government “to invest in families so that they don’t have to.”  (I’m going on memory here; he might instead have said “so that others don’t have to.” Either way….)

Mr. Trone is proud of endorsing government policies to relieve individuals from the responsibility of investing in themselves and their children. I, though, am horrified by any such policies. I’m horrified not chiefly because of the expense that such policies impose on taxpayers. I’m horrified mostly because of what such policies do to the individuals and families who are relieved of the necessity of being responsible for themselves.

Does Mr. Trone really believe that politicians and government officials in Washington care more about each of the millions of individuals and families throughout the United States than does each individual about himself or herself and his or her family? Does Mr. Trone think that distant rulers and mandarins know more about each individual’s and family’s circumstances and dreams than does each individual? Does Mr. Trone suppose that a society of individuals and families relieved of the personal responsibility of making the appropriate investments in their lives – and shielded from the need to confront life’s trade-offs – will eventually be anything but a society of citizens and voters who are incurably irresponsible?

And does Mr. Trone deny that government, to the extent that it assumes more of the responsibility of “investing in” individuals and families (and, hence, individuals and families assume less such responsibility), will inevitably insist on greater control of the life’s choices of individuals and families – life’s choices ranging from the mundane to the intimate?


Mr. Trone ran unsuccessfully for political office two years ago. I wrote about him then, too.