Taking responsibility for ones actions, something that matters at both micro and macros societal levels

Pointing the finger of blameIn case you’re interested in the current state of my moving violations implosion, here’s where I’ve ended up: On the red light camera, it’s possible to say, looking at the video, that my front tires were in the intersection when the light changed from yellow to red.  Or maybe they weren’t.

As for the cross walk sting, the video didn’t have the information I wanted — namely, whether the pedestrian acted in a reasonable manner in stepping into the intersection in the first place. All it showed was what I already knew: I drove by as the pedestrian headed for the sidewalk. My brain was thinking “brake hard or speed up so as not to hit him.” My interpretation of the law is that I can do either, with my obligation being not to hit him. The police interpretation is that, even if the law doesn’t say so, you have to stop the car when a pedestrian is in the cross walk, no matter what (even if braking suddenly would cause a rear-ender or something).

I have two choices now: I can go to court and say “I got into the intersection a second before the light changed” and “my driving comported perfectly with the statute about pedestrians.” I’m not going to, though, because I don’t like to waste time, even my own.

If I were the lawyer for a third-party with those tickets and those defenses, I would tell the person this: “As to both, you have a colorable defense. It’s not a strong defense, though, and its so self-serving as to be off-putting. The greatest likelihood, therefore, is that you will lose in court. The traffic commissioner has spent years accepting the police viewpoint and is not about to change now. In these circumstances, don’t waste your time going to court. Just pay the fee and get on with your life.”

That’s good legal advice and good life advice. In both situations, even if I wasn’t doing anything that was clearly illegal, I was definitely pushing the boundaries. I shouldn’t have shot through a turn on a yellow and I shouldn’t have put myself in a situation in which I had to decide whether to slam on the brakes or to drive past a pedestrian who had already stepped off the curb.

Rather than feeling ill-used, persecuted, and embarrassed (which was how I felt last week), I’m going to be grateful that the universe sent me an important message without my having to injure anyone or hurt myself to learn that lesson. I’m a safe driver, but I can be a much safer driver. I was sliding into automotive hubris and that’s a dangerous place to be. I’ll pay my money, go to traffic school, and thank God that I’m blessed to have learned hard lessons in a non-tragic way.

Having confessed my sins and promised to repent and reform, I’d now like to boast a little: I think it is a sign of a mature mind that I am able to say that I was wrong (perhaps not as wrong as the police think, but wrong), and that I need to learn and grow from recognizing my failings. (And gosh!  By my age, I should be mature enough to do that.)  The corollary of this is that an immature mind lives to displace responsibility.

Which gets me to my inevitable political point:  We live in an adolescent society, one in which only white male people are ever at fault for their wrongdoing. (You know that the phrase “white privilege” has the qualifier “male,” since all women are victims too.) Everyone other than a white male is a victim.

Elliot Rodgers wasn’t evil because he was evil. He was the byproduct of Seth Rogen movies and male-oriented websites and video games and, of course, the NRA. It may be that he was evil because of psychotropic drugs, but they’re not yet part of this discussion, because we don’t know if Rodgers took them.

Rodgers’ manifesto notwithstanding, it still seems premature to say that watching too many rough comedies turned him into a psycho killer. In all times and in all places, psychopaths have reflected the world around them, not been created by it. In the Middle Ages, mad men blamed witches; in the 1950s, they blamed space aliens; and today, they don’t have to blame anyone, because the media will find scapegoats for them. They may have pulled the trigger, but everyone and everything else — especially the NRA and powerful white men — was at fault.

Blacks, too, are allowed to be entirely without responsibility for their difficulties in the modern world.  I do not deny that they were on the receiving end of truly evil discrimination, from the tribesmen who sold them in Africa, to the British who shipped them to the colonies, to the white folks who enslaved them, to the KKK who killed them, to the Jim Crow laws that disenfranchised them, to the welfare that now infantilizes them (especially the men).

All these things were done to blacks, and they’re all bad — but, except for the welfare, they’re in the past.  They’re self-destructive behaviors are in the here and now, and blaming white privilege won’t stop yet another generation of boys and girls from engaging in those behaviors.  At some point, blacks have to say “We are responsible for our own decisions, both good and bad.  We have to own both and, as to the bad decisions, we have to repent and reform.”  Nothing else but this act of emotional maturity will save currently dysfunctional American blacks and put them on the trajectory of all once-disfavored groups in America.

The same holds true for our president. When it comes to Obama, the buck stops everywhere except wherever he is. With each crisis he’s mad as heck . . . against somebody else. The primary scapegoats are, of course, Republicans, and Charles and David Koch. But fault also lies with Fox News, climate change, George Bush, etc.

Here’s the deal: Even if Obama is correct and nothing is ever directly his fault — he’s just an innocent bystander halfway through his fifth year as the most powerful man in the world — it’s unmanly to behave as he does. It’s the behavior of a little boy that Obama can never say that, regardless of fault at the micro level, he is ultimately responsible at the macro level

I don’t advocate that we start practice Seppuku, disemboweling ourselves at the first sign of failure. I do think, though, that we cannot return to societal health until we mature beyond this adolescent finger-pointing and start accepting responsibility, not just for our day-to-day tasks, but for our failures too.

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Comments

  1. Charles Martel says

    There’s a reason why I call Obama “The Gelding.” Not only is he a shameful example of what a supposedly best-and-brightest black man is supposed to be, he brings shame to Nancy boys everywhere. 

  2. Libby says

    Accepting and admitting failure is driven by consequences, and the Left has made sure wherever they can that people don’t bear the burden of their poor choices and bad behavior.
     
    The MSM has insulated Obama from scrutiny and political consequences for his scandals, so he has no incentive to stop, if he’s even capable of learning and/or wanting to change his ways.

  3. Eidolon says

    I feel like where black Americans have ended up is comparable to a foster kid. Many foster kids end up messed up, irresponsible, angry, and not in control of themselves. For some of them they didn’t have a lot to do with what happened to them; it probably had a lot to do with unfortunate circumstances, other peoples’ actions, and so on. But at the end of the day, it’s them that make the bad choices that damage them. What’s past is past; remedying the circumstances that got them here isn’t an option. Whatever the reason why they’re where they are the only way forward is for them to take responsibility for their own life and make good choices starting now. However much sympathy you may have, they are now the problem, their attitude and the choices they make, and they must fix themselves if they’re ever going to succeed.
     
    A group where most children don’t live with their father is a group that cannot succeed at a high level and will never be competitive when its fatherlessness rate is 3 times as high as other groups. Black Americans are not incapable of self-control; previous generations had higher rates of work participation and marriage than white Americans. Coddling and refusal to call them out for their mistakes and failings has completely eroded all personal sense of responsibility in their community. Ironically this makes it impossible for most of them to be successful, regardless of how much stuff is handed to them; give a man a fish, etc. Reparations would make no difference whatsoever over the span of 50 years.

  4. says

    I can probably go along with you on the red light violation, but not on the guy in the cross-walk.  You were jobbed on that one, and your police force ought to quit it out!
     
    On the other hand, I can understand cutting your losses.

    • says

      Even if Book wins the battle, they will still have her name on their record. The problem with openly resisting the Left when you’re in their backyard, so to speak, is that you are behind enemy lines with little to no logistical support.
       
      The Left is the enemy. The unions that supply the vast majority of crowd sourced funding, is the enemy. The police that obey the police unions, are the enemy. They are not merely disagreeable Americans or Americans we don’t like.

  5. says

    ” I think it is a sign of a mature mind that I am able to say that I was wrong (perhaps not as wrong as the police think, but wrong), and that I need to learn and grow from recognizing my failings. ”

     
    I think it a sign of maturity that you are no longer petitioning the Authorities in Power to justify your own actions or to absolve you of your own guilt or beliefs.
     
    There’s a big difference people who follow the law because of the consequences, and people who think the law is their daddy, their grandparent, their priest, and their God.
     
     

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