McKenzie Wark on Sat, 19 Jun 1999 14:09:57 +1000 (EST)

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Re: Syndicate: moral responsibility

When we say 'responsibility', this need not mean the same thing
as guilt. I certainly am not guilty of killing any blackfellas.
But i do think i am responsible for the fact that sombody did.
Without this sense of responsibility there can be no such thing
as identity, asi have argued, but neither can there be justice.
Without responsibility we can just accept the benefits of crimes
committed by others and think nothing of it. 

Accepting responsibility is not about guilt, and hence is not
about punishment. I fell under no obligation to punish myself
for killings others committed, a long time ago. But i do feel
an obligation to remember and honestly account for what has
passed, for it is only on the bais of such an account, and
such an accountability, that justice can be served, in some
manner, perhaps only symbolic, towards those who suffered as
a consequence of actions of which i am a beneficiary.

Certainly, in the Australian situation, accepting responsibility
is part of growing up. Its a mark of the struggle for the
maturity of the culture, to accept responsibility. To stop saying,
like Bart Simpson, "I didn't do it." Without the voluntary
acceptance of responsibility, how can a culture learn? How can
identity have an honest premise? How can we expect others to
respect us?


"We no longer have roots, we have aerials."
 -- McKenzie Wark 

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