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Personal Responsibility and the Law

Stupidity should not qualify for compensation.

I read in the press of so many situations where a person claims they were drunk and so could not have given consent to a subsequent act. If the media is to be believed, and this is increasingly unlikely, lawyers appear to be trying to persuade the courts that these claims are valid in law.

If you are drunk you are responsible for being drunk and so responsible for subsequent actions. You have to raise the glass and swallow the alcohol. You are responsible for being drunk.

If drugged without your knowledge that is different. If drugged because you choose to take a narcotic substance, then again you are responsible for the consequences, even when you do not like them.

The legal profession sees a money making opportunity if they can arrange things so that the consequences of a person's own actions, can be blamed on someone else. Some single issue politicians also see a way of gaining publicity if they support this view.

We all make mistakes. This is a facet of being human. This modern trend of actually believing any unwanted consequences of our own actions, can be blamed on others or excused because unforeseen events took over, is untenable. Only lawyers and the law can support this “blame everyone but yourself” culture, that is developing. Only lawyers prosper through fostering the idea that an act of stupidity may entitle you to compensation.

If you choose to close your eyes and walk towards a cliff edge, it is almost inevitable that you will end up laying at the bottom of that cliff, with broken bones. Trying to claim compensation because no one stopped you being stupid, is not honest. A lawyer may obtain compensation for you but that makes him -or her- as culpable as you are; in a failure of moral integrity.

I am elderly and so slower than I used to be, I live amongst other elderly people. We walk across a pleasant park to reach the local shops but have to cross one road to reach our destination. At the point where we cross, you can see about 150 meters in either direction. In one direction, at the 150 meter point, is a narrow roundabout and in the other, a mini roundabout junction and so traffic that comes into sight, is always going slowly. I and several others, have experienced the following; look both ways, clear, start to cross, a vehicle appears and this vehicle accelerates hard to close down the distance to the person crossing the road. Why? What in all of sanity makes a driver accelerate towards someone crossing a road? They may not like to see elderly, slow people in the road but they can clearly see there is a potential danger, long before they reach any critical position, so why deliberately make it more dangerous? Is this a by product of the concept that no one is responsible for their own actions?

I have made many mistakes in my life and while I never dwell on these, I am aware of them and that the consequences, are my responsibility. I do not like having to deal with consequences but even if I am only partially the root cause, then I must try to deal with them.

The legal profession and the bureaucrats who earn high salaries out of imposing safety schemes on people, have much to answer for. They have removed personal responsibility and replaced this with a very lucrative blame culture.

It is wrong for any one, or any organisation, knowingly and carelessly puts other people, and animals, at physical risk. It is also wrong when a person ignores a risk and than tries to blame others.

The evolution of human life is one continuous stream of actions that are normal to one generation but become “dangerous” and wrong to the next. Where will this process end? In Mr Huxley's “Brave new world”? We already have a situation where truth has become that which most people believe rather than an absolute fact, are we also to move to a situation where no one has responsibility for any actions they take? A sort of moral anarchy where nothing is wrong yet everything is a route to compensation?

I see social media efforts to promote anarchism as if it were a political ideal, a way of governing but anarchy is the exact opposite, by definition it is against all forms of governance, all laws and rules. Do the people who promote anarchy on social media, accept responsibility for the actions of anyone foolish enough to believe the posts? Will a deranged thug who fire bombs a hospital claim they are a victim and should have state compensation because no one told them personally and in triplicate, that this was a wrong thing to do? Or will a plea to the court that they are an anarchist, suffice to excuse their behaviour.

We must find a way back to the idea of personal responsibility. The judges should stop supporting the money loving lawyers and get back to decisions that reinforce personal responsibility.

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