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Polarization and the Politics of Personal Responsibility - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Polarization and the Politics of Personal Responsibility

Mark D. Brewer and Jeffrey M. Stonecash


America is divided by two clashing views about how much individuals can be held responsible for their situation. Liberals see many individuals as not completely responsible for the situation they are in. They see the opportunities of individuals limited by their class, race, and sex. The resulting distribution of outcomes is therefore seen as unjust, and the remedy is for government to help offset the limits people face. In contrast, conservatives believe individuals can and must live their lives with a presumption of personal responsibility for what happens. Without that presumption as a norm ... More

Keywords: personal responsibility, unequal opportunity, government, opportunity, personal initiative, government welfare, dependency

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780190239817
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190239817.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Mark D. Brewer, author
Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Maine

Jeffrey M. Stonecash, author
Professor of Political Science, Syracuse University