This is how I slice it, then:
(This is all just my personal opinion on these specific examples given.)
Teenage girls: The sex drive hormones that flood your system at that age are pretty powerful, and life experiences and rational judgements are lacking. People at that age are more likely to act on the impulses without fully thinking about the consequences of their actions.
Are they responsible for their actions? Yes... BUT: If nobody has ever bothered to educate them fully about having sex, the consequences, and ways to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy before those hormones and drives fully kick in, I would say they aren't fully responsible: The adults in their lives are to be held equally responsible for the consequences.
Cheating spouses: They entered into a contract with another fully aware of what that entailed: Again, they aren't responsible for their attractions to other people outside the marriage bond, but they are responsible for acting on any attraction... unless pushed away and into that action by the behaviour of their partner. If some poor schlub's wife has completely shut him off from sex for years, then I find it really difficult to blame him for being tempted outside the marriage. They both share the responsibility in my opinion in that type of case.
Fat People: As someone who clearly qualifies as among the overweight part of the population by almost any standard, I don't feel I'm lacking that much in self-control. There are some extenuating circumstances. I could clearly do more and do better to try to control it. But I do have to eat everyday,.. and sometimes choices are limited. So is the time to exercise properly.
With the number of overweight and obese people in this country (as well as the world as a whole...) rising almost exponentially every year, I think there may be a bit more going on there than just a lack of any self control among all those folks. In some, perhaps many cases it may be true... but not every one.
We clearly didn't evolve (or weren't so created, if you prefer...) to deal with the ready availability of foods of caloric excess we have available today,.. or the increasingly sedentary lifestyle modern civilization has rapidly dropped most of us into.
Substance abuse: If someone has been properly educated against the dangers of addiction and getting involved in illegal drugs to begin with, then they are responsible for for whatever happens from that point on. But if some kid is left totally ignorant by their parents and school system, gets involved out of peer pressures, and gets sucked into the downward spiral of addiction's grip, it's hard to blame them for everything that happens. There is also physiological dependency with addiction that is nearly impossible to break by strength of will alone.
Frankly, I blame the parents more, for not being more vigilant and involved in their kid's life. Again, if you are talking about someone young, the rational judgement system isn't fully developed yet... and the idea that you are immortal and that "It will never happen to me..." is still in full effect.
That's something that needs to be taken into account.
Pedophilia: I really can't talk to this one as to whether this is something that falls under self-control or not, as the root causes seem incredibly complex. It seems to me most people guilty of this are found to be psychologically damaged by suffering the exact same abuses when they were children. Can someone psychologically damaged by early trauma of that sort be held to the exact same standards as someone who wasn't? I'm not sure...
That doesn't mean these people shouldn't be locked away from the public for the greater good when they are discovered. I'm not sure any efforts currently exist to get people with this predilection to voluntarily come forward and accept treatment in a non-hostile, non-judgemental way.
The best thing would be to try to identify the kids who have already suffered this kind of abuse when they are still young are try to undo the damage and fix their warped worldview before they grow up and develop a sex drive and start preying on children themselves.
Native XWA.Netter (Nutter?)
Last edited by edlib; 10-23-2006 at 10:37 PM.