Monday, September 22, 2008
On collective responsibility
In my blog last week, I talked about “collective responsibility”. Seen from the first person point of view, it refers to feeling myself responsible for what a person that I have a relation to has done, for instance for what a person of my group has done. Collective responsibility can also work in the other direction in the sense that I am held responsible by other persons for an action done by a person that I have a relation to. This can be quite problematic, for am I really responsible for an action done by a person that I don’t know but that happens to be a member of my group? An action that I even reject? Or take this. Often it is so that, for example when I am abroad and I do something good, people praise me, Henk. But when I do something bad, they say “that stupid Dutchman” instead of “that stupid Henk”. Can all the other Dutchmen really be blamed for what I did wrong?