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The Sunday Tweet: Off Limits or Facing Collective Responsibility


Tweet of the Day: Off Limits

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It is easy, all too easy to point at one person and say, “This is all your fault!” More so when they are the prime instigator of whatever act(s) we judge them by. Yet, when it comes to the responsibility of second of third parties, we tend to shy away from assigning blame or accepting it if it falls on us.

Where does collective responsability lie if it exists at all?

That is the crux of the Sunday Tweet (link above).

Once we pull back and look at the larger picture, all manner of problems/excuses/accusations prop up:

  • Vilification of a entire group based on the actions of a minority or single individual.
  • Collective guilt on those who believe they benefited from past acts but did not  commit them.
  • Excusing  the individual’s improper behavior by blaming society at large.
  • The “everybody does it so no one is to blame” excuse.

And so many others.  The fact of the matter is that this is yet another area where the existence of a direct actor does not relieve other parties from responsibility.  Their burden might not be as large, but they still carry it.

A quick and somewhat banal example come to us from the tabloids. Their very existence, and the great lengths paparazzi go to acquire pictures celebrity newborns, teenage celebrities inebriated or the latest salacious gossip on a failed marriage goes beyond the tabloid themselves. We all consume the product. We click on the links, some buy the magazines and set social networks alight with criticism of the very celebrities we endorse in the first place. We go so far as to ignore real, relevant news, such as corruption in government, initiatives that curtail our freedoms or other news of greater social value because it is far more easier (and entertaining) to gaze at the celebrity fish bowl waiting for which gold fish will poop next.

True, nobody wants to play the bad guy, and you ask yourself, what can I do about it? I will leave that question for another time, suffice it to say that we should not settle for lazy excuses or accept certain attitudes as described in the post just because they are convenient.

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