Monday, July 30, 2012

Runaway Determinism

A common thing heard nowadays is that something was "a failure in leadership."  Such lamentations are often accompanied by "needing to take responsibility" or "needing to take ownership."  While I too don't like it when bad things happen, I take a rather dismal view to those wanting to attribute responsibility everywhere, everywhere except with the actual perpetrator.  Add to that a zero toleration policy for everyone else's actions but your own and you end up with less actual accountability.  Accountability is a necessary thing, but people should only be accountable for things they have control.  Even then, a liberal birth should be granted so that defensible actions are not treated as incompetence.

A lot of this has seemed to have come from a die-hard determinism.  Determinists tend not to think that there are unknowns.  They just believe there are things you didn't have the will to figure out.  They take it as gospel that if one tiny detail were changed in the past, an outcome today would have been totally prevented.  Perhaps I wasn't as exposed to the same science fiction as these folks growing up, but that is the exact opposite of my own experience.  My experience has been that exceptional events are indeed exceptional.  My experience has been that quickness to presume has not led to insight but rather to rash judgement.  Perhaps I have simply acquired a more refined empathetic spirit, but I have great difficulty holding people to my level of judgement, let alone to a level impossible for even me to achieve.  At the same time, I don't have near the trouble condemning people engaged in actual wrongful behavior as others seem to do.

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