Accountability is what separates the strong from the weak. Whether that be accountability to oneself, or to those around you. Accountability no less lies at the heart of individualism, for if we trust ourselves to rely on the endeavor of individuals around us, over the collective group, then we are putting our faith in accountability.
And thus to turn one’s back on accountability is to turn one’s back on classical Liberal principles.
Last week, Hillary Clinton showed up in Illinois to lambast the Republican governor Bruce Rauner as a “robber baron” intent to devastate the middle class by seeking to balance the budget of a state that is massively in debt. Balancing a budget, crazy idea I know. Much of that debt based on financial commitments made to unions and others – without any way to pay for them – by Democrats who have held power in Illinois for the last half century.
And yet the reality is it is those poor financial decisions, all made in the interest of gathering and maintaining power, that underlies the true threat the everyday Illinoisans.
And yet Hillary sees no fault with those who made those decisions??
Without accountability, there is no Liberalism. But of course, a progressive like Hillary sees only the group, not the individual. And thus accountability is not needed. Is her favored group winning? Yes, good, nothing more to see here. She even had the audacity to reference the Laquan McDonald case for political points. It’s like a 30-minute everything-that-is-wrong-with-Identity-Politics whirlwind tour … a sort of tour-de-force in how not-to-be-a-liberal. Should we thank her for the example??
John Kass wrote an article in the Tribune over the weekend detailing a challenger to long-time Illinois Democratic boss Mike Madigan. The challenger, an MIT-educated guy named Jason Gonzales, has the simple goal of bringing accountability back into Illinois politics. Now, he may or may not do so, but the simple act of replacing Madigan is a message from the voters of Illinois that they will hold their elected officials accountable.
The question is: will the people of Illinois do so?
Will a state that is supposedly “liberal” realize that such liberalism, without accountability, will die. Or will we continue to see ourselves as victims. To infantilize ourselves. Emasculate ourselves. Do we demand the state fix our problems for us – which the state itself ironically created? Or do we demand accountability of the individuals who led us there?
In short, is Illinois “liberal” … or merely a progressive caricature of it?
Accountability is a fickle thing. In this era, it seems to be almost a virtue to cast off expectations for yourself, or that others have may have for you (i.e. just be yourself). But the funny thing is that when we demand the best of others, rather than treating them like victims, they actually do better.
You can see this more broadly in the treatment of the Kesha case and the whole #FreeKesha movement last week … to be clear there is no evidence right now that Dr. Luke ever abused her. Moreover, there is even video of her swearing under oath in 2011 that he did not do so.
Yet everyone, from entertainers like Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande to the mainstream media, has taken her side, even assumed that Dr. Luke is guilty based purely on her accusations, despite the lack of evidence and overwhelming financial motives Kesha has for false accusations (e.g. getting out of her current record deal for a more lucrative one).
Such lack of understanding of due process is alarming, as is the failure to understand the critical importance of innocent-before-guilty in any free Democratic society.
But more alarming is the quickness with which modern society rushes to the defense of any supposed “victim”, without consideration for the facts. Doing so makes such supposed victims not accountable for the merit of their accusations. Moreover, it does a disservice to real victims.We can see from the disastrous state of Illinois finances what the lack of accountability gets you. You see, my friends, when we pedestalize victims, we only serve to undermine ourselves. Strength comes from accountability. Individualism is rooted in such accountability. And Liberalism derives from such individualism.
If we want to empower individuals, it starts by NOT treating people as victims, or hypoagents, but seeing their own culpability in the events that unfold around them, and calling them to account for it. The alternative is bankrupt states and witch hunts.