Issues of individual responsibility (or lack thereof) are at the heart of American cultural and political conflicts. Stereotypically, conservatives hold up individual responsibility: people who are poor and struggling have made bad choices along the way. Liberals, on the other hand, look only at structural determinants. Nicholas Kristof writes of the interplay, acknowledging that choice plays more of a role than liberals are likely to admit. At the same time, however, there's lots of evidence that programs and policy reduce these self-destructive behaviors, which don't happen in a vacuum after all. Public programs he mentions - like infant home visitation and mental health research - can save public money and promote individual responsibility. What's not to like?