We Need Accountability to Build our Nation

There are few things that depress me more than people who refuse to accept accountability. I find this so depressing for 2 reasons.

The first is that people who are not willing to accept accountability will live with a sense of entitlement. Unfortunately, this sort of person does not make for a good citizen. A society flourishes when it is populated by good citizens. Being a good citizen means being a contributor; being a person who contributes to the collective; being a person who acts with the intent to give.

A person who is here to make a contribution is the sort of person who will, by definition, accept accountability and hold himself/herself accountable. These are the people who can be trusted. If you do not have a good number of this sort of person in a society, then that society will inevitably start to fall apart. This is because there are no longer enough people in that society that can be trusted to shoulder the burden of responsibility for making the contributions needed for the collective good.

In fact, being a good citizen is where we start to develop the capacity to give, which is also what it means to become mature.

Society, in fact, does us an immense favour when it makes us concern ourselves with contributing. When society holds people accountable for their intent it forces them out of their mediocrity, it forces us to forego a lower order intent for a higher order intent. Because I’m being held accountable for my intent to contribute they create the possibility that I start acting with an increasingly higher order of intent, that is, I start concerning myself more with the intent to give. It is a natural process. If we live in a world that is completely laissez faire, nobody may judge me for anything, then how can we play this role for each other?

Without an engagement with the world that confronts me with my intention, I don’t grow. The fundamental mechanism that sits underneath all growth is negation. If I was not disapproved of for my tantrums as a three-year old I would still tantrum like a three-year old today.

At every level, a higher order of maturity is established because the lower order way of functioning is made dysfunctional by the other. The other confronts you. You are held accountable for your intent. All actions are by their intentions. That is saying that the value of an action, the significance of an action is judged on the basis of its intent. Accountability is about intent.

So this is why I insist that a social order that does not hold the individual accountable for the malevolence of their intention is fundamentally disabling. Such a society can only cultivate weak, grasping, cowardly and selfish individuals.

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