Might It Be Merely a Matter of Immaturity?

to deny the obligations that being a member of a society creates

Photo by DAVID ZHOU on Unsplash

A big part of maturing — growing up — is accepting the obligations that being a human being thrusts upon us. The family into which we are born is the first and foremost source of obligations with which we are faced even when we would rather not be bothered. We learn that part of having friends is accepting the obligations of friendship. To have a family of one’s own is to incur the ultimate set of obligations.

There are people among us who insist on denying that they have obligations that come from being a member of a society. They call themselves ‘conservatives’. They hate liberals for constantly reminding them of the reality those societal obligations.

They benefit from living in a society with other human beings. They are as loud as any in asserting their claims to those benefits. Yet, they are apparently too childish to understand that those benefits come with obligations. They portray their childish selfishness — when they are not simply pitching a fit of some kind — as ‘faith’, ‘beliefs’, and ‘principles’ that cannot be compromised, but all any of it means is that they refuse to grow up.

All of us feel at times that the demands upon us are simply too much — even when it comes to obligations we have voluntarily and knowingly accepted as the inherent consequences of some choice we have effected, such as having a family, much less the burden of responsibilities that we never chose to bring upon ourselves. Even so, to be a mature, adult — fully formed — human being is to recognize all of our responsibilities and to try to the best of our ability to fulfill the obligations that follow from them. That is just the way life really is.

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Stephen Yearwood

unaffiliated, non-ideological, unpaid: M.A. in political economy (where philosophy and economics intersect) with a focus in money/distributive justice