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The era of responsibility

vastleft's picture

A basic fact of modern life is this: The frequency and severity of calls for "responsibility" are inversely proportional to one's status.

Do not ask where the buck stops, the buck stops at the bottom.

"Looking forward not backward," pardons, bailouts, and golden parachutes are the just rewards for being at the top of the totem pole.

Who belongs at the business end of the wagged finger and the punitive "nudge"? Those gauche enough to be, say, a citizen of a country America has bombed the shit out of. (More examples here and here and here). We've done so much for them, why won't they step up?

"Responsibility" is a job fit only for immigrants, welfare mothers, black fathers, poor kids, the elderly.

"Austerity" is for those most pressed down by the global depression.

Chicago Dyke captured the zeitgeist, writing about Obama's inaugural address:

In a strange way, I find myself wishing that today's speech had been emptier, more filled with meaningless platitude and feel-goodism, than it already did. But the message I heard was clear: sacrifice. I don't believe President Obama meant those most responsible for our current crises, nor do I believe that he means it for those most able to make those sacrifices truly needed. I believe he means it for you and me, however.

The demand for little-guy sacrifice goes down disturbingly easy in the ongoing Age of Reagan.

We want to hear who (as long as it's not us) has to "suck it up," "grow a pair," "pull themselves up by their bootstraps," "put on big boy/girl pants," "man up," "bite the bullet," or, to put it more honestly, "eat shit and die."

Our philosophy is "tough love," big authoritarian daddy style. And nobody likes whiners like those ungrateful Iraqis and Afghans who still owe us flowers and chocolates, the bastards.

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badtux's picture
Submitted by badtux on

"It is, instead, the victory of an orthodoxy that has little to do with rational analysis, whose main tenet is that imposing suffering on other people is how you show leadership in tough times. "

The people proposing the suffering never seem to propose that they, themselves, suffer. Funny, isn't it?

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin