How Do You Enforce Responsibility?

At the Library of Liberty and Law, Dalrymple argues that, contra the libertarian idea, it is not always possible to make people bear the full consequences of their actions.

Hard cases may make bad law but they make good journalism. We live in a society in which you have only to publicize a hard case for there to be demands for a change in the law, demands that are sometimes met, either immediately or in the long run. And since politics is not merely the easy art of being absolutely right in the abstract, but the far more difficult and arduous one of making things slightly better in practice, the argument that, as responsible beings who are agents, that is to say subjects and not objects, the consequences of our actions should be brought home to us, even unto the point of death (a principle with which we may agree, intellectually), is not likely to be much of a guide to practical politics.

On the other hand, he acknowledges the extent to which this truism is used as an excuse even in cases where properly locating responsibility is actually possible.

Read it here

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