Stewardship: What Kind of Society Do We Want? – Len M. Nichols

Introduction:

To exercise stewardship, or not—that is the question. Why put the point that way? Because one path leads to an abundant life, and the other is a dishonest, if elaborate, form of suicide. Stewards distinguish themselves first by accepting responsibility, and then by acting on that responsibility to preserve, protect, and nurture something precious, through recurrent threats, for the purpose of delivering that precious thing to future generations. Who may confer and who must accept responsibility for stewardship of our health resources and the health of our population?

Some libertarians today argue that society is a myth, that no one has responsibility for the outcome of hundreds of millions of health-related decisions, and that anyone who asserts such responsibility and tries to act upon it is both an arrogant tyrant and an existential threat to the essential freedoms upon which our nation was founded. Nothing (and no tiny group of argumentative people) has ever been more profoundly wrong.

“Stewardship: What Kind of Society Do We Want?”, in Connecting American Values with Health Reform, Hastings Center, July 2009.

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