|Author/Contributor(s):||Brewer, Mark D ; Stonecash, Jeffrey M|
|Publisher:||Oxford University Press, USA|
primarily if not exclusively his or her own responsibility. Opportunity is widespread in American society, and individuals succeed or fail based on their own talents and efforts. Society greatly benefits from such an arrangement, and as such government policies should support and reward individual initiative and responsibility. Other Americans see personal responsibility-while fine in theory-as an unjust organizing principle for contemporary American society. For these Americans, success or failure in life is far too often not the result of personal effort but of large forces well beyond the control of the individual. Opportunity is not widespread, and is by no means equally available to all Americans. In light of these basic facts of American life, it is the responsibility of the state to step in and implement policies that alleviate inequality and assist those who fail by no fault of their own. These basic differences surrounding the idea of personal responsibility are what
separate Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, in contemporary American politics.