Responsibility on the march

Saturday, November 20 2021 should be recorded as a day of significance in Australia’s contemporary diary. It was a day when tens of thousands of people across the country gathered to make their point. It is reported that not one single arrest was made which is extraordinary in itself. 

The real significance however lies in the fact that politicians of all persuasions, along with their controlling cohorts have been delivered a salient reminder that Australia is a free country and as such good leadership must take precedence over punitive lawmaking. 

The Covid capers of the last couple of years have clearly highlighted the fact that there is a dearth of good leaders who are able to make, without threat, reasonable and convincing arguments to a largely peaceful and law-abiding population.  

The behaviour of leadership has also highlighted another and much more serious problem and that is that there is no longer any faith in the notion of responsibility. Responsibility has long since been replaced with legislation which intrudes into every nook and cranny of our lives. It has become the way society manages itself. The idea that every problem can be solved with a piece of legislation, has taken over as the pre-eminent tool of leadership. We have drifted into a form of legalism which is at odds with true democracy. 

If there is a good thing to come out of the pandemic it is the highlighting of the divisive nature of this form of societal management. Not in my lifetime have I  seen the extent of the schisms that are now prevalent. Everywhere one looks there are divisions occurring amongst families and friends, businesses and workers and even within religions. 

Anarchy in all its forms is on the rise and will only get worse while we persist in management by legalism at the expense of responsibility. Weak leaders must love anarchists because they provide excuses for even more laws. 

The diminution of responsibility goes to the very heart of society’s wellbeing and we ignore it at our peril. 

The snowflake approach to the raising of responsible generations is not working as the following incident clearly indicates.  

I refer to an article that appeared in The Border Mail newspaper on November 1. Early in the evening of the previous Saturday in a quiet suburb of Albury in country New South Wales, around 100 young people descended on a temporarily unoccupied house and proceeded to “wreck the joint”, inflicting thousands of dollars worth of damage to the property. 

The neighbours were terrified and according to the report, when police arrived at 9.30 pm the offenders fled in all directions. The police reported that they managed to speak to 17 attendees but as yet were unable to lay any charges. 

Apart from the local press, this incident appears to have been ignored by the media at large. Why was it met with a mere metaphorical shrug of the shoulders? This does not appear to be just a case of a party getting a bit out of hand. It was anarchy in a very real sense. 

Albury has a large population, which in many ways is typical of society in general. The fact that as many as 100 people, with the aid of social media, can spontaneously and without a reason, get together and trash someone’s private property is a fact that needs serious and urgent attention.  

They had no particular cause, there was no principle or purpose at stake, it was simply an example of a complete absence of any sense of responsibility. 

The anarchists and activists are highly visible but these people are hiding in plain sight and meekly accepted as just part of our community. Responsibility is the rock on which our society depends and we are standing by and watching it erode before our very eyes.  

Have we become so bereft of vision and values that we are happy for the media and politicians to tell us what is normal and acceptable?  

The mass rallies last Saturday must surely send a message that people want something to change. The numbers clearly indicate that it was not just those opposed to vaccinations who wanted to have their say, there is much more to it. 

The word “responsibility” is becoming increasingly rare and we are paying the price. Politicians, academics and sociologists alike need to take heed. 

Wake up Australia, we have a problem. 


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