06 June 2011

Responsibility

Let's break down the various ways high-profile Americans tackle responsibility, eh?  In particular, responsibility for error or sin:


Take responsibility (actually do something about it) -- what's that?
Accept responsibility (but don't do shit about it) -- the best we can hope for, in all its meaningless glory
Admit to fault -- very rare
Admit to error -- rare
Non-apology apology ("Mistakes were made") -- par for the course
Steadfast denial -- about 20% of the fucking country, probably as high as 40%
Delusional self-righteousness -- honestly, this happens?? if you don't get outraged by this, you're crazy

If you're still reading and haven't slit your wrists yet, let me point out that ONLY the first option is meaningful in ANY way*, yet it's the one thing you can't expect from anyone.  It gets preached about enough, and while politicians are big on talking about it, very few instances in my mind stick out where a politician actually takes responsibility for anything.  Again, that's take responsibility for something (see above).  Not merely saying they do.

The difference is one that I have only seen, at least in my personal experience, articulated in [East] Asian culture.  Not that Asian politicians are any better at it, but at least they know what it is, so they often resign before it gets to that.  In contrast, Americans are so numb to lack of responsibility that they only react to it as a talking point.  Hey, it's easy to get riled up, but do we really remember what responsibility is in any given case?  When someone talks about taking responsibility, does anyone ask, "What would be taking responsibility for this?  What should be done?"  I never see discussion on this level; it's all outrage, no context.  In reaction to some random news scandal where a politician said "I take responsibility" before reporters, which got modest praise from Americans, one Japanese person I know remarked with indignance, "How?"  And that person is right.  The politician couldn't undo the damage.  He didn't resign.  He didn't pass legislation making it harder.  He didn't impose any punishment or countermeasure whatsoever.  Not only was there no practical way he could've taken responsibility, he didn't even try.  He just said something on the news.  Honestly, I don't know if this was always the case, but if there's any way our society can move forward, it's here.

I'm gonna pound this point home.  As difficult as it is to get an American politician to "accept responsibility", all "responsibility" means in this country is admit they should have been responsible.  That's it.  That's the extent to the moral courage we actually hope for in this country -- not just from politicians, but our leaders in general.  Hell, Goldman Sachs bet against their own securities in their process of profiting off the very economic destruction they worked to set up, and to hell with admitting fault -- they were morally delusional, going as far as to say they're doing God's work.  Is this what we've become?  A nation that doesn't pursue morality, but merely declares it?  These assholes may not speak for all of us, but. . . oh, wait, they do.  They're our fucking leaders.  They run the country.  They represent it.  They speak for us, whether we like it or not.  As for why this won't change, though, see my post, "Politics and Negotiation".

People make mistakes, but generally when decent people they make mistakes, they apologize, work to limit the damage and take measures to ensure it won't happen again.  Got it?  That's three things to expect from anyone decent.  We can barely even yawn anymore when our business, spiritual and political leaders bat a fucking 0 for 3.**  Hell, we're impressed when they don't demand our gratitude!

*Come to think of it, most of them are meaningful in very many bad ways.  Ugh.
**They run the country so I'm picking on them, but to be fair, I see plenty of irresponsibility among unwashed peons.  Like it or not, we really are represented well.   We deserve these bastards, because they are who we are.

05 June 2011

A thought triggered by yet another conversation about Goldman Sachs. . .

GS got away with what they did through the magic of "deregulation".

Seriously, does anyone consider what the true meaning of "deregulation" is? It means NOTHING IS ILLEGAL. No matter the ethics, morals or even danger in an action; deregulation means you can do it. No laws = no limits. These people lobbied for and deregulated investment banking. They made every scummy move they did perfectly legal.  Same with Enron.  Same with what will eventually happen with the Internet providers.

I mean, if people lobbied to "deregulate" sexuality, at first it would sound like a good thing. After all, it gets government out of private lives -- a true libertarian cause. Until you realize that deregulation means everything is legal, including abuse, slavery, rape, pedophilia and incest. I mean, you can't exactly put a child molester in jail if molesting children isn't against the law. If NAMBLA was as clever as Goldman Sachs, they would sell their agenda as "deregulation" (or more like "small government" or "social libertarianism"), because it seems this country is full retard on sucking that word's cock like it's candy without once ever thinking about where it's been.

No one at Goldman Sachs will ever go to trial, not because they broke the law and will get away with it. They didn't break any laws because they did away with any laws they didn't like. So you'd take them to court for. . . what? Fraud? You need to prove they violated some disclosure or consumer protection law. You think they don't pay an army of lawyers precisely to stay out of that kind of trouble? Every effin' financial services firm in New England has a Compliance Department; you think GS of all firms would be that careless??  To a Compliance Department -- no matter how big-shot your legal team is --  if you go to court, you've already failed.  My experience in finance tells me they paid a lot of brilliant people a lot of money to make 100% sure no retaliation will ever get that far in the first place.

Next time some business whines and biatches about "burdensome regulations", think long and hard about what "deregulation" means. Yes, some laws are unnecessary and should be repealed, but consider the messenger. It could just as easily mean they want to do something extremely shady and they'll lobby to dismantle government controls to do it. Because all you have to do to get this retarded country behind your plan for self-enrichment is to say what's good for you is good for the economy, eh?