Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Liability

"A country cannot subsist well without liberty, nor liberty without virtue."

Jean-Jacques Rousseau is quoted as saying this in A Dictionary of Thoughts: Being a Cyclopedia of Laconic Quotations from the Best Authors of the World, Both Ancient and Modern. Although Rousseau stated this a very long time ago, about 100 years ago to be exact, it still holds a lot of weight today.

For instance, because some countries/people have become so powerful they have no one to answer. That is, they have no liability to act in a certain manner which benefits everyone, but only act to benefit the select few. "A country cannot subsist well without liberty," is what Rousseau asserts but it seems that President George W. Bush is doing the exact opposite. With his recent veto vote against making waterboarding illegal: (http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20080311_Editorial__Waterboarding_Veto.html)
he has done exactly what Rousseau warns against.

The major problem is that all the power rests with the president. If he doesn't like a bill that has been passed through all other facets of the government he can just veto it! This means that he liable to nobody. Although, some might say that he is still liable to the people of the United States, because they will not support him if he vetoes every bill. BUT, is this really a threat that Bush cares about? Recently his popularity polls have been the lowest ever, and overall his popularity has been the lowest of any United States President EVER. So what does he have to fear? He can't smear his image any more that what it already is, and he was even re-elected when the people knew what he was like.

To have a 'fair' president or leader, one needs to be liable to someone. Even the smallest hint that a person's actions will have some consequence is enough to create a failsafe to the problems that the United States has with President Bush. When someone is at the top of the 'foodchain,' so to speak, it is harder for them to assess what their actions mean to everyone below.

The problems are not just with the United States. Many other countries that are under the rule of totalitarian leaders or dictators face similar problems. States such as these create countries where the citizens cannot even obtain the simpliest rights, or liberty. Remember that we should always be critical of the people that hold the highest stations in our society. Constructive feedback is always important with regards to promoting discussion and debate. Both, discussion and debate, are the backbone to voicing opinions, and holding people liable for their actions.

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