04 March 2015


  •      Zygmunt Bauman wrote an interesting book titled Modernity and the Holocaust.  His major premise appears to be that without the modern bureaucratic organization employed by the Nazis, the holocaust could not have happened.  The bureaucratic organizational ability of the modern world makes it entirely possible that the holocaust can repeat itself.  One of the factors in this modern, bureaucratic world we live in is encapsulated in the following sentences from his book:  "For those who do not possess the know-how, responsible action means following the advice of the experts.  In the process, personal responsibility dissolves in the abstract authority of technical know-how."  Is it true that by following the advice of an expert on what to do, how to do it, where to do it, how long to do it, when to do it, etc. you are not taking personal responsibility for your actions or is the responsibility of a person to follow the advice of the experts simply, without any of your own input, for the reason that the expert knows best

  •      We do have options.  We can compare experts; we can compare expert opinions; we can view expert opinions in relation to our own knowledge and experience.  If one has paid attention through his or her lifetime and has the ability to cogitate, there is much advice that should be rejected out of hand. Do I take the advice of an astrologer?  No.  Do I take the advice of my auto mechanic?  Most of the time and if it doesn't cost too much.  Do I take the advice of medical practitioners?  Usually. but sometimes with a second opinion.  I like to think that I take personal responsibility for most of what I do.

  •     Now, the mantra in this country is of taking responsibility for oneself.  Of course, this is simply meaningless drivel in that the last thing your various governments want to see is its citizens taking personal responsibility for anything other than, maybe, having a job whether it pays or not.   The national pastime seems to be victimhood.  Everyone wants it, looks for it.  The latest effort of victimization is the new emphasis on bullying and how it should be eradicated.   Bullying, regardless of how defined, is a constant on this planet.  I suspect that a coyote eating a rabbit is a form of bullying as defined.  We have a list without end of possible victims:  Victims of domestic assault, victims of drunk drivers, victims of crime, victims of pollution, victims of genocide (this one might actually count), victims of fatty foods, victims of internet scams.  As I said, the list could be endless.

  •      Victimhood can and often does show a failure of personal responsibility.  In order to be a victim, you have to be recognized as such; it must be a published event that constitutes victimhood.  Along with the publication of the event creating a victim is usually the expert to deal with the trauma of victimhood; each variety of victimhood having its own brand of expertise which has been acquired through advanced college or university degrees.  The core purpose of the expert is to inform the victim how he or she should feel or think about being a victim. 

  •      Interestingly, in the world of criminal justice, the criminal is defined as the person creating the victim, causing the victimhood.  The criminal is not allowed the privilege of victimhood.  And so far as he or she is creating victims by his actions, he must be punished.  Punishment is not deemed a form of bullying.  There is no rational basis for this other than it would not be compatible with any of our accepted notions of victim and criminal.  The so-called liberal segment of our thinking has acknowledged to some degree that criminals may be considered victims of their environment and this should be a factor in our sentencing decisions.  But again, this sentiment is mostly spoken and not acted upon.       

No comments: