Passing Bull 245 – Responsibility

Kushner said: ‘In the Democratic convention, I’m hearing a lot of lecturing moralists … in this administration, we have a lot of doers, we have businessmen, we have people who are held accountable.’  Accountable?  Facing a burgeoning pandemic back in March, Trump had this to say, ‘I don’t take responsibility at all.’  One of the testimonials on the Build The Wall site is from Don Trump Jr, who said: ‘This is private enterprise at its finest.’  Now Trump is distancing himself. After the news of the arrests broke he said: ‘I disagreed with doing this tiny section of wall in a tricky area by a private group which raised money by ads’.

The words ‘responsible’ and ‘accountable’ frequently have the same meaning, and equally frequently, it is hard to see what that assertion may entail.  If we say that John is ‘responsible’ for a failure to control people who may be carrying an infectious disease, what does that mean?  What if John says ‘I am sorry for that’?  Is that the end of it?  If there is no relevant mechanism to confirm that there was in fact a failure to control people and that because of the role of John in that failure he is subject to a decision involving consequences that are adverse to him?

If a Minister of the Crown makes an error, he is accountable to the Parliament for that error.  That is part of what we call ‘responsible government’.  But the time has long since passed where a Minister of the Crown would accept responsibility for an error made by a civil servant.  Nowadays you might an expression of regret, or even an apology, but that’s all.  You will have to wait for the next election when you can express your discontent at the ballot box.

If you get hit by a van delivering for a pizza company, the law may impose liability on the company, and in doing so, it will not be making a finding against the company.  Its liability is based on a policy of the law to make employers liable for the faults of its employees. This liability does not depend on a finding of fault against the employer.

During the current epidemic, people engaged – to use a neutral term – in dealing with people who may be carrying a virus made errors of judgment.  The premiers say they are sorry, and that for them is an end to the matter.  They may suffer a loss of votes at the next election, but in what respects are they otherwise said to be ‘responsible’ or ‘accountable’ for the errors made by people engaged by the government?


Our media, dominated by publicly funded progressives, is part of the problem….Our media/political class has eviscerated a self-reliant, robust anti-authority, and egalitarian country.  Our politicians have done far more damage than the coronavirus…..Outside war, we have never suffered so much government.  But there is little leadership.  We are bordering on delusion.

The Weekend Australian, 22 August, 2020. Chris Kenny

Some get fixated on the apocalypse.

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