Soapbox Issues

Whose responsibility is it?

We are living in a day and age when I reckon we are forgetting about individual responsibility. Once upon a time, it was seen only in some countries but lately I am noticing this lack of taking responsibility a whole lot more. I see it in the news with a common person, I see it with sports persons, I see it at work with clients unwilling to take on responsibility and probably most dangerous of all, I see a system encouraging people to stop taking responsibility for their own actions.

Where am I coming from with all this?

***Let me warn you now — RANT ALERT***

Well, about a month or two ago I heard about the government here thinking of beginning to fine mates of drink drivers for letting them drive. More recently, on a Sunday night interview show with a disgraced AFL player and his estranged wife, I heard the wife blame the AFL and media saying they needed to take some of the resposibility for his behaviour given that they let him play and continued to idolise him despite his drunken behaviours and stupidity off field. Even more recently, the federal government has decided to provide money to families if children stay on at school as opposed to dropping out.

So again, when you read all of the above, don’t you wonder — what has happened to individual responsibility???

A person who chooses to drink and drive needs to take responsibility. Yes, they are intoxicated. But whose choice was it to get drunk in the first place? And why does someone else have to be penalised if you are an idiot???

The AFL player needs to take responsibility for his actions. [I’m given to understand that he does]. Yes, maybe the AFL idolised him as did the media. But at the end of the day, they do not tell him how to act. If he is going to pee in public like a drunken idiot, it’s his responsibility.

While I understand low income families may find it difficult to make ends meet, here in Australia we have a public education system. One that is free. If an adolescent chooses to not go to school, it is their responsibility. They don’t need to be bribed to be forced to stay at school. And in any case, there are probably a lot of them who are better off going to work or starting a trade than staying in school with learning problems and the like.

I’m sure you have all heard in the past in the US of people suing coffee companies because they spilled hot coffee over themselves and realised it burns. Or laptop companies for placing laptops on their laps and getting burnt. And this has reached a point of ridiculous proportions where if you buy a bag of peanuts now, it comes with a warning that it “may contain traces of nuts”. See here for proof!

In the work place I have noticed time and again the way in which the system tries to hold everyone responsible for an individual’s actions. How? Well, for instance, if a client with mental health commits suicide, a scapegoat is hunted down. However, no one forced an individual to commit suicide? They took responsibility for their own actions however unhelpful they may have been. When parents neglect or abuse their kids to the point of significant harm to the child, everyone looks at what services to blame. But again, aren’t the parents responsible for it? Whether they are on drugs or alcohol or just too exhausted to look after several kids, it still doesn’t mean they get to shirk off responsibility and everyone tries to justify how things could have been better if there was a “better system in place”.

I think it’s about time we all start taking resposibility for our own actions. It’s different if you are suffering from a psychotic illness. The majority of us do not. And hence, drugs, alcohol, exhaustion, anxiety, depression etc do not absolve us from the consequences our actions may have.

Somewhere along the line it became possible for the individual to blame everyone else for his or her actions.

The fact of the matter is there is no one holding a gun to your head. It is your brain. And your body. You and only you can control it. Despite all the drugs and alcohol.

So start taking responsibility now for what you say and do.

And hopefully, the system realises the same and stops pandering to everyone’s needs.

Until next time,


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  • Jake
    5 May 2011 at 11:52 am

    how about the screw balls that commit atrocities and then pin it on god, Allah told me to do it , the good lord Jesus told me to do it. Yeah god gave us all the skill to reason but does not want us to use it cuz he’d rather tell us what to do himself, makes sense doesn’t it ?.

    Its just human nature physc, people don’t like feeling guilty, they would rather get a free pass rather than analyse their own behaviour and try to fix bad habits. There are those who understand that fundamental flaw in our behaviour and don’t let emotions override reason but they are the exception not the rule. Most people trust their emotions more than logic ….

    Congrats on 450th post mark 🙂 …

  • mach3
    5 May 2011 at 12:03 pm

    I also find that the service industry has gone form bad to worse.

  • JaaliEngineer
    5 May 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Great post..Was drunk yesterday as in really drunk and may have acted stupid..realised i cannot pass the buck to being drunk.. will be careful next time..

    thanks again fir a great post..

  • Titaxy
    5 May 2011 at 2:56 pm

    (this is probably the nth time I am doing this, but oh well…) – I share your thoughts 🙂 Ditto…have nothing more to add.

    And many many congratulations on your 450th. Here’s to many more!

  • bikram
    5 May 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Well I totally AGree with the MATE fine, YEs , it is the right thing to do now matter what people think and beleive ..

    If you are friends with me , and hace a drink and try to drive I will call the police and report you ..

    It is a offence and I would futhur say that if you call guests at home and then offer them drinks , they drink and then drive.. You should be held accountable. Only this will help in bringing the drink drive outrage and the risk it cayuses out there on the road.

    I also beleive that if you are driving under the influence of alcohol and you hit someone then it should NOT be treated as an accident no it is not a accident , you know the consequnce and still you drink and drive .. its a purly well thought action.

    Taking responsibility of your actions is right but if you are drunk then you are not in ur senses to take that responsibility.

    Sorry dont agree with you on this the Mate fine ir Right thing i hope they bring it to UK tooo…

    The other examples you gave about the laptop and nuts etc That i agree its world gone STUPID and the so caleld courts who have given MONEY as claim for that , Common sense has gone out of the heads .. I get mad at that, people trying ot claim for anything and evertyhing I mean the solicitors and the judges in these claim courts are supposedly Educated and Intelligent .. they may be but surly they dont have any Common sense.. If you order a hot coffee and it spills then how can u sue the company ..
    That i agree with you one shud use common sense and none of these claims should be honoured


  • Magali
    6 May 2011 at 3:05 am

    I so so so so agree with you. Tired of this spoonfeeding & hand holding. What can I say? We live in weird times & the masses aren’t smart enough to look out for themselves, much less car for others.

  • Magali
    6 May 2011 at 3:06 am

    BTW, just saw you last watched Squid & The Whale, what do you think? I saw it over a year ago & I was like :/
    That was one messed up flick in my opinion.

  • Magali
    6 May 2011 at 3:07 am

    Oh oh sorry for the borderline spam with the third comment but CONGRATS! on your 450th post! 🙂
    I really wanna see 1000s more from you.

  • whiningattheworld
    6 May 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Ooh I am so with you on this. But my example is different to your examples.

    Here is my rant. Yesterday at Girl’s school a bunch of about 8 Year 7 and up children were surrounding an 8 year old and an 6 year old child. Someone pusehd the 8 year old over and someone hit the 6 year old with a stick.

    I want in all angry and swore grabbed the two little kids and got them out of the way. The one big kid I recognised I yelled at and said “what were you doing?” She said “nothing, I was just standing here.”

    My response “That’s exactly my point. You were just standing there watching people hurt little kids.”

    Person responsibility in this case was I wasn’t doing anything wrong therefore it’s not my problem.

    I just argued against your point, didnt I? I guess what I’m saying is not that this child should have been held responsibile for the other kids actions more that she shouldn’t have just stood aeound and watched it happen. I guess I’m sayign that there should be personal responsiblity but also some degree of general responsibility as well.

    Umm.. Okay I’ll go back to my box now.

  • Psych Babbler
    8 May 2011 at 12:24 am

    Oh of course…don’t even get me started on those idiots. I’m sure I could have come up with heaps more examples of people willing to shirk responsibility!

    The last thing that you’ve said is so true — people tend to rely on their feelings more than actual facts and logic…which is the cause of a lot of pain and misunderstanding.

  • Psych Babbler
    8 May 2011 at 12:59 am

    I’m sure it’s not the only industry Mach. And welcome to this space…

  • Psych Babbler
    8 May 2011 at 1:00 am

    Thanks Jaali! And that’s the thing — when I’ve gotten drunk and been stupid, I have no one else to blame but myself. Why do my friends have to tell me to stop? And even if they do, and I choose to ignore them, it’s my responsibility then if I have a massive hangover the next day! 🙂

  • Psych Babbler
    8 May 2011 at 1:07 am

    Thanks T! I kept wondering if the post made sense…ranted a bit at work (naughty me!)

  • Psych Babbler
    8 May 2011 at 1:16 am

    Bikram, my point about mates being fined is this — if a friend of mine wanted to drink and drive, I would take away the keys or do anything to prevent them — but at the end of the day, if they were stubborn and pigheaded (as most people become when they are under the influence of alcohol) and they hit me and still decided to drive, I don’t think it’s right for me to be fined. You can tell a mate to not drink too much, you can tell a mate to not drive drunk, you can even call the cops on a mate…but when you are fined if they still go ahead and do soemthing, it’s not fair. They need to be responsible. Alcohol or no alcohol. Just as killing someone in an accident when drunk is not an excuse, so too should any decision being drunk be viewed as.

  • Psych Babbler
    8 May 2011 at 1:16 am

    We do live in strange times Mags! And if you’ve ever watched the film ‘Idiocracy’, I think that’s where the world is heading.

  • Psych Babbler
    8 May 2011 at 1:17 am

    Oh…it was so weird!!! Narcissitic parents, messed up kids! The younger one was so f*ed up it wasn’t funny. Then again, it’s not uncommon in the clients I see….the drinking and the narcissism that it.

  • Psych Babbler
    8 May 2011 at 1:18 am

    And don’t worry about the ‘spamming’ 😛 Thanks! 🙂

  • Psych Babbler
    8 May 2011 at 1:20 am

    Hehe E…you started off by saying you agreed and then made a point against it! 🙂 That’s fine of course…and I get your point. Bullying is a totally different matter as with bystander intervention. But again, in a way, it’s like taking on responsibility to do something rather than getting blamed for not doing anything. Come to think about it, maybe you were agreeing in a way…no one wants to take that individual responsibility even if they are not involved. Should they get penalised for it? Not sure. In a way it would be like fining mates for their friend drinking and being an idiot.

  • Reema
    24 May 2011 at 5:19 pm

    true! every person should be responsible for his or her own actions. 

  • Psych Babbler
    25 May 2011 at 12:04 am

    Sadly, more and more people are shirking it…