Every time you receive a benefit
a responsibility is incurred
Look, sure, I understand what they're getting at with this, and they may mean perfectly well by it all, but this is not the same message as TANSTAAFL, and I think the distinction is important. It is both the idea that somehow the receipt of a benefit automatically implies a debt, and (more importantly) the idea that the benefit somehow causes the "responsibility", that got my teeth grinding: neither of these are the ideas of free people; they are, conversely, essential thinking for proper State minions.
If a benefit automatically implies a debt, then there is absolutely no point in philanthropy any more. Now, I've often wondered how much more philanthropy there might be, if so much of it weren't "required" by law and the armed mob that makes it, but the truth is that there is still much that people can do for one another that falls outside "the law", and it is one of humanity's more compelling plusses that a lot of day-to-day philanthropy is yet done, despite the best efforts of the polypragmatoi to forcibly extract all the remaining fun there is in doing it. And so the idea of actually conditioning it out of ourselves, at the very level of its definition, is simply horrifying. Take away the beauty and magnificence that humans are capable of, and you'll be left only with the base, the brutal, the beastly. (And I should be kinder to the beasts, there.)
And just as a free person understands that there is a difference--a massive difference--between "life is liberty" and "liberty is life", so (s)he would understand that there is a difference between the idea that one takes on a responsibility in order to gain a benefit, and the idea that simply receiving a benefit somehow produces a responsibility. The former is always voluntary, but the latter quite often is not--and it certainly seems to be a favored authoritarian trick to manufacture dependencies, debts and "responsibilities" simply by producing arbitrary "benefits" that Authoritah may then value and assess to its own advantage*. Is this not the basic thinking behind "luv it or leave it", "healthcare is a right", "my country, right or wrong", "only working within the system can produce positive change", "died defending your freedom", "unions protect the little guy", "but who will build the roads", "if you don't vote you have no right to complain", "if you see something, say something", etc... (Jeez, one could pretty much put up the entire statist hymnal, with similar results.)
Anyway, so presumably this message is supposed to be "food for thought" for the kids and families that go to this school. This private school. This outfit which is ostensibly outside the limitations and dogma of the public school system. And yet I'm not sure I could come up with a more insidiously authoritarian idea than the one on that sign. Arguably there are others which could match it, but I'm not sure anything could best it.
Not a cheery thought. A bummer within an otherwise lovely day.
* Or by simply defining certain things as benefits, and then demanding "responsibility" for them. Among other examples, this pretty much fully explains Harrison Bergeron's predicament, doesn't it?
The word they really mean is not "responsibility," but OBLIGATION.
Plug in obligation each time you wrote responsibility there and the problem is much more obvious.
Yes indeed... the "state" assumes the authority to control our lives and property, to rob us, then cage and shoot us if we don't obey their dictates. We are hammered through life with the nonsense that we are thereby receiving "benefits" and must be duly grateful, obligated by those benefits to endure an ever escalating round of theft, abuse and murder. Ain't it grand?
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