What Happened To Responsibility?


Why has it become seemingly impossible for the members of our species to accept responsibility for their own actions? Why do they continually place the blame for what they do on others, or on circumstances outside of themselves?

Yesterday, for example, former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling rejected all blame for the energy trading giant's spectacular collapse, which robbed thousands of their jobs and life savings. In the face of a Mount Everest of proof not evidence, but damning proof pointing to greed and corruption, Skilling blamed Enron's implosion on "a liquidity crisis spurred by a lack of confidence in the company."

But at least Skilling allowed himself to be put on the congressional hot seat. Most of his executive colleagues who jumped ship with as much as $30 million in "bonuses" in their pockets have invoked their Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination in refusing to answer questions.

How many times do humans have to witness the ineffectiveness of avoidance before we recall that there is always a price tag on the choices we make? You'd think the Bill Clinton/Gary Condit examples "I have never had relations with that woman" would have kept that thought fresh in our minds for a few years at least.

The Pentagon continually blames "bad CIA intelligence" for its bombing of Afghan civilians. Prison inmates blame society for their incarceration. Spouses blame each other for their breakups.

Nowadays, no one is responsible for anything. Not even Osama bin Laden or Timothy McVeigh ever stood up and said, "Yes! I did it, I accept responsibility for it, and I am prepared to foot the bill of consequences!"

But until that happens across the breadth of humanity, until we own up to our contributions to the history we have created, until we stop trying to find out just how much we can get away with, we're all going to one day find ourselves in God's courtroom, invoking our Fifth Amendment protection.

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