: There has been much talk about "self-reliance" lately. It is everywhere but is used primarily in terms of power relationships. Thus the "disadvantaged" or those groupings that have found themselves disempowered speak of self-reliance as a tool to achieve independence from structural dependencies. Libertarians will shade this interpretation to satisfy their conviction that self-reliance implies freedom of the individual from the chains of an imaginary social Obligation.
I would be given to describing 'self reliance' as being a relaince upon your personal abilities regardless of context. I dont consider it as a struggle away from dependancies or unchosen obligations but simply a description of relying upon yourself. Reductionists - it doesnt mean you have to do so from conception onwards, if you teach a fellow how to use a hammer and nails and he goes off and makes a chair by himself, dont claim credit for it. He made it.
: The word "social obligation" has always had an "aww, do I really have to…" ring to it.
Thats only because its something stipulated by other people - ie they decide to whom you must be obliged. There is nothing in the term obligation that denotes it must be forced upon you. Mane examples that might be described as 'social obligation' such as helping a neighbour out are done willingly and voluntarily - thats the key.