“With all its alluring promise that someone else will guarantee for the rainy day, Social Security can never replace the program that man’s future welfare is, after all, a matter of individual responsibility” (Harold Stonier).
THESE DAYS, WE TEND TO THINK THAT OUR SECURITY IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF SOMEONE ELSE TO PROVIDE. The government program in the United States called “Social Security” is a good example. Whatever its original merits may have been, it has come to be thought of as an entitlement. We think we have a right to be financially secure in old age, and it’s the government’s responsibility to take care of us. Personal responsibility has been lost in the shuffle.
That said, it is also true that security is a goal we must pursue together with those around us. While I must assume personal responsibility, I must also take my neighbors into account because security that is gained by selfish means is always a shaky security. “Ultimately there can be no freedom for self unless it is vouchsafed to others; there can be no security where there is fear, and a democratic society presupposes confidence and candor in the relations of men with one another and eager collaboration for the larger ends of life instead of the pursuit of petty, selfish, or vainglorious aims” (Felix Frankfurter).
So even in terms of our own security, we can’t afford to leave our neighbors out of the equation. What is more, we must be actively involved in providing for the security of those around us. It is not enough to receive security; we must also be those who give it. Here is an area where it is truly more blessed to give than to receive. And there are few gifts we can give that are any better than to say to someone, “In every possible way, I want to help make you secure.”
In the end, however, there is no such thing as real security in this world. If our peace of mind depends on our ability to provide everything we will ever need, we are bound to be disappointed. How much better it would be if we redefined security and sought it spiritually rather than financially. As far as this world is concerned, we will never be secure if there is anything we think we have to have, and the sooner we loosen our grip on these things, the more truly secure we will be.
“Security depends not so much on how much you have, as upon how much you can do without” (Joseph Wood Krutch).