Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Supreme Rules Court Disaster

There has been a major ruling issued by the Supreme Court on responsibility over others.  I do not know the details of the case, and I don’t want to research it just yet.  I don’t want to do a commentary on the case, but rather the discussion of the issue with my friend is what I want to talk about.  

We were in his car going to get some last-minute groceries for my wife who was building one of her usual spectacular suppers.  We had run out of first cold pressed extra-virgin olive oil.  A mouthful to be sure, but apparently it is the healthiest of oils in this class.  I am not going to debate the point.

The subject turned to responsibility, and the fact that society has deemed it necessary to pass personal responsibility onto anyone else but themselves.  The court case was something like “homeowner didn’t prevent his guest, who got drunk, from driving away.”  Some death may have been involved, certainly some mayhem.

As with my rant on the 800-pound-bundle-of-pass-the-buck in Love Thy Selfless – part 1 this just begged for my screaming.

I can understand… well, really I cannot.  I cannot fathom a society where you hold someone else responsible for your own actions.  And yet… that’s exactly what we have here.

The discussion turned to people holding the governments responsible for pretty much everything.  This is a fact we both agreed on – my buddy and I are really in sync.  It is normal and indeed very Canadian to do so.  I’m not saying it is right mind you, I’m just saying it’s normal.

Further speak yielded that government of the past, well, forever really, has systematically taken responsibility away from the good citizen and kept it at bay.  Laws are precisely this: take personal responsibility away to replace it with an absolute guide of conduct.  The person becomes accountable towards the law, and not so much a moral responsibility towards his/her fellow man or woman any more.  

Usually this works pretty decently in a typical society, since the lack of moral imperative of some people is largely at odds with the majority.   Not that laws are going to change this lack of morals, indeed not, but it gives the rest of us a warm fuzzy feeling that we can punish them into submission.  Yeah.  Right.  Anyway…

Jurisprudence is the act of deciding on something unclear as an example to hold in effigy for future, presumably similar, circumstances.

Now, if responsibility is aimed at the law, instead of being humanistic as it should be, then the humanistic side is destroyed in favour of what we comfortably call due process.   In fact, this will yield only one thing: the ever-lasting question of what’s against the law and what ain’t?  Jurisprudence has then replaced the moral imperative, pretty much forever.

So it goes that the homeowner would be responsible for the drunkard, and the drunkard’s potentially deleterious future actions.  In fact, the homeowner would be a criminal whether the drunkard produced mayhem or not!

Luckily jurisprudence was set against it in the end.  Otherwise, imagine the damage?  

“If I let Steve write his blog, I might be committing a crime against humanity, the court could hold me responsible for Steve’s blog because I’m encouraging him by reading it.”  

Sounds kind of insane doesn’t it?  

“If I let Steve drink his scotch, I might be committing a crime against humanity, the courts could hold me responsible for Steve’s drink because I’m encouraging him by providing a glass.”

Does the latter drive the point home better?

The discussion subsided quickly since we were both in agreement, but then a thought sparked as to who in their right-mind would not be in agreement with us on this?

I don’t know about my buddy, but this sent a chill down my spine: The fact that there are at least some people able to debate this point up to the Supreme Court is chilling indeed!


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