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ARTICLE

The Irresponsibles

AUGUST 01, 1962 by KENNETH W. SOLLITT

The Reverend Mr. Sollitt is Minister of the First Baptist Church of Midland, Michigan.

Consider the vast number of decisions made for us and the decreasing number of things we can, or for that matter, are willing to decide for ourselves. Parents, of necessity, decide things for their children. When the children are old enough, they are placed in schools where most of their decisions are made for them. After high school (or college) every able-bodied young man serves a stretch in the Armed Forces where to make a decision for him­self might be regarded as un-American activity!

After that training in conformity we get more of the same when we join a labor union and are told when to work and for how much, when to strike and for how long, and when we work not to work too hard. Or we may become big business executives and be told whom we can hire, how much we must pay them re­gardless of their value to us, whom we can fire and under what conditions, what we can produce, how much we can charge for goods or services, and how much we must pay Uncle Sam for his services in regulating us to death.

We don’t even make a decision as to what social functions we attend, what we’ll wear, whether we accept the cocktails offered us there—the society in which we move decides those things for thousands of so-called adults.

But you don’t achieve adulthood by letting others make all your decisions for you. Freedom is opportunity to make decisions. Character is ability to make right decisions. It can be achieved only in a climate of freedom. For no one learns to make right decisions without being free to make wrong ones. As our Ameri­can freedoms keep diminishing, so does the character of our people. Can irresponsibles form a responsible society?

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August 1962

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Around the world, people are struggling to throw off authoritarianism, with deeply mixed results. From Egypt to Venezuela, determined people build networks to overthrow their regimes, but as yet we have not learned to live without Leviathan. In this issue, Michael Malice and Gary Dudney discuss their glimpses inside totalitarian regimes, while Sarah Skwire and Michael Nolan look at how totalitarian regimes grind down the individual--and how individuals fight back. Plus, Jeffrey Tucker identifies a strain in libertarianism that, left unchecked, could reduce even our vibrant movement to something that is analogous to the grim aesthetic of architectural brutalism. The struggle for our lives and freedom is a struggle for beauty; it begins inside each of us.
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