Monday, 28 January 2013

Responsibility is not avoidable

Following on from my last piece about referenda and how we delegate decisions to a political elite, I had a small epiphany.

Why do we allow the state to get away with making our decisions for us? In some cases, it's laziness, a lack of knowledge about the issues involved, a lack of faith in our ability to make a good or right decision or one of a million other possible issues.

So, we deny our responsibility, we hand over the decisions to people via the mechanism of voting and when things are done we agree with, we're proud of it; when things are done we don't agree with, we have the fig leaf of other people's votes to hide behind.

But the truth of it is that we can't avoid the responsibility of this. Ultimately, every time the government spends money in a way that you disagree with or doesn't spend money that you would like to see spent, that is a cost of you handing over the decision-making power to them.

I would argue that morally, handing over your decision-making power to someone else does not absolve you of the crimes committed in your name, either, but that is an argument to be had.

However, you cannot deny that by handing over this power you do not avoid the financial consequences of your attempted avoidance.

Remember that, the next time you bang on about austerity.

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