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Thread: Government or you - who is responsible?

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Government or you - who is responsible?

    Murdock raised this issue in another thread, but I think it deserves its own thread and some careful consideration.

    i agree we all need to be proactive...problem is like wearing a seat belt the majority of people would not wear a seat belt if there was not a big fine...yet everyday you drive on the roads you see people dont wear seat belt...they still take a chance...let the kid stand on the front seat etc..etc.
    The question to me is, who takes responsibility?

    There are two sides to this. Firstly, I believe that we each need to take responsibility for our actions, whether it be speeding, not wearing a seat belt, turning off your geyser or stealing. They are our actions, and each of them helps (or doesn't) create a better life for us all.

    Now on the other side, the government creates laws for us to live within (remember, in a democracy we are indirectly the government). Assuming we can see the logic in those laws (e.g. speeding can result in an accident, not wearing your seat belt can result in more harm etc.) we would naturally want to follow those laws (because they make sense).

    Essentially the government has to regulate those people who choose to act in a way which can harm other people, hence we have law enforcement and its agents.

    So which creates greater compliance, more law enforcers, or more responsible people?

    And now the difficult one - why do we have so many people in South Africa who act irresponsibly and endanger themselves and other people?
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    Bronze Member Karenwhe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsd View Post
    So which creates greater compliance, more law enforcers, or more responsible people?
    If all people were responsible you probably would need no laws at all. Why would anyone, for example, make a law in regards to speeding if all people would drive lets' say 40 km/h. That is an exaggerated example, but it points out that really no law is ever written if people don't create danger to others or other conditions that all of the sudden need "policing" or controlling.

    Therefore the answer to the question in my mind is pretty simple = responsible people.

    Quote Originally Posted by dsd View Post
    And now the difficult one - why do we have so many people in South Africa who act irresponsibly and endanger themselves and other people?
    I think one would find that answer in many things including, what is called Emotional Intelligence, but that alone I don't think is enough to look at, looking deeper you would need to look into some psychological factors that have a lot to do with the past - personal and general - (rage, fear, anger, guilt, oppression, etc), which would make many things more clear, including things like road rage. And then one can explore the subjects such as collective consciousness.

    Either way, there are many reasons. What people rarely know is that speeding and all other issues psychological and physical all the same can be cured easily these days. However, one must look in the mirror first, then admit/accept that there is a problem, before any cure can be applied. Which comes back to responsibility. Imho the later is usually the problem not lack of a cure.

    Albert Einstein said: All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual and common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    I think the key to this issue is the perception of consequence.

    Let's take the "wearing a seatbelt" issue as an example. If you don't believe you are going to crash, what is the motivation to wear one? Certainly not the fact that you're going to crash and need it to save your life.

    How about the fact that you'll get a hefty fine for not wearing a seatbelt? Well, if you never got fined, where's the awareness of that motivation.

    So the key issue is awareness of the consequences, whether it is the core consequence such as saving your life in the seatbelt example, or one manufactured by regulation.

    No awareness, no change in behaviour.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Bronze Member Karenwhe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    How about the fact that you'll get a hefty fine for not wearing a seatbelt? Well, if you never got fined, where's the awareness of that motivation.
    No awareness, no change in behaviour.
    Dave, how many people you encountered in your life that the more fines they get the more stubborn they get and care less? Or how many people do you know that have been in an accident and still speed? I know a lot. One guy refuses to even pay any fines. I don't know if he is waiting to go to jail or what

    Point is, that we all have awareness since childhood about right and wrong. Awareness is the last thing that is missing in the equation (imho). A person must live under a rock not to know that speeding is bad, they can get a fine or worse have an accident and be crippled for life, or end up dead. And with all the news of accidents, I am in no doubt that by now everyone is aware and knows that speed kills, plain and simple.

    The answer to such a deep question lies, imho, far beyond reasoning of any kind. A lot of things that we are aware of and do make sense and we have the correct perception - we do not do (as people, society and humanity).

    Unfortunately, very few wish to.... or have the courage to.... look at the real reason we do things, such as speeding.

    In other words, not many will ever go down the rabbit hole, because many are plain afraid of what lies there. Until such time as acceptance and taking responsibility for whatever we find "there" becomes an option at to contemplate, not much will ever change.

    If you have seen the movie "What the blip do we know?" (it is a documentary), neurobiologists and scientists have already explained why we do things that we should not, even though we fully know we should not do that.

    To what extend one chose to agree or not, is to extend that one wishes to take responsibility and accept things the way they are.... and then change them to something else. No acceptance = no change.

    P.S. Getting a fine to learn a lesson to be "aware" is called "reward and punishment" (with emphasis usually only on the punishment as the reward is getting nothing if behave well). The EU ex. communist block governments used to control people in this manner/system, which eventually raised a whole new generation of rebels of a new breed once communism was gone. Severe oppression creates corrective severe forms of liberation, both exaggeratedly unbalanced.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karenwhe View Post
    One guy refuses to even pay any fines. I don't know if he is waiting to go to jail or what
    Any chance he is in denial? I suspect a night in jail might shift your associate's ideas of consequence when it comes to traffic violations.

    You highlight some important points which, I think, demonstrate the importance of consistency and purpose in this equation.

    Look at the evidence we see everyday. How much visible law enforcement do we see on the roads nowadays? Heck. I've seen taxis run a red light right next to a Metro police car. No response. What's the lesson in that?

    Traffic enforcement is being implemented to collect money, not to develop safety. As much as the traffic officials might deny this, their behaviour shows otherwise. Wrong motives - wrong results. Under these circumstances, not paying traffic fines can be seen as a righteous act of rebellion against a corrupt system.

    So maybe I need to add a little - It starts with awareness and integrity.

    Is that better?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Platinum Member Chatmaster's Avatar
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    Another quality post Duncan!

    Quote Originally Posted by dsd View Post
    And now the difficult one - why do we have so many people in South Africa who act irresponsibly and endanger themselves and other people?
    I am one of those people that like to think I live responsibly and teach my kids to do the same. However, when it comes to leadership, I am a firm believer that leadership are set by example. Now without getting to philosophical about government and being a South African, I think that government are essentially responsible for leading the people. Whether or not we as citizens elected them or not, they are our leaders and the example they set will ultimately show in the success of our society. As leaders that is what government are supposed to do, lead.

    If we look at the world today, society are being controlled by government. Democracy is a word and has little meaning imo. It is a word that says that the majority will dictate the lifestyle of all. Is democracy truly free, that is debatable. I am one of those people that completely consider speeding fines by camera and sent in the post as a means of generating money for the traffic department. It is not fair nor is it right to do it the way they are.

    They are utilizing the law that was meant to protect road users as a business to produce profits and it lost its meaning. Isn't that what our society is all about. Who changed all this? Was it you and me? Many will argue that we elected the leaders that signed these laws and therefore are responsible. I say that is far from the truth.

    Politics has turned into a grocery shop. I tell you I have this and that great grocery shop that will get you anything your heart desires and only once you decided to shop there you have to shop there for at least 4 years, whether I lied or not. But meanwhile I keep on managing perception to ensure that you still believe you will get what you want, all this to ensure I get what I want.

    The leaders are gone, times has changed and government is slowly convincing society that society are responsible. They deny accountability and simply ensure that we as society feels responsible for their actions.

    Government is responsible.

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    Bronze Member Karenwhe's Avatar
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    This is a very wide subject.

    Generally speaking society has to have responsibility and so do persons. I can't see a way around this that brings positive sustainable growth in social structures. We teach our children responsibility and so on. Why do we do that, if only gov. needs to be responsible? Maybe our kids should have no responsibility and then gov. will do everything for them.

    If government is teaching responsibility so that they alleviate their own responsibilities that is of course not right.

    Nonetheless, gov is made of people which should be just as responsible as people. Therefore people can't reason that they should not be responsible because of gov and vice versa.

    Responsibility is not a one sided thing, but it starts with ones self.
    Last edited by Karenwhe; 11-Feb-08 at 12:26 PM.

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    Bronze Member Karenwhe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    Look at the evidence we see everyday. How much visible law enforcement do we see on the roads nowadays? Heck. I've seen taxis run a red light right next to a Metro police car. No response. What's the lesson in that?
    The first post by DSD was who takes responsibility person or law?.

    My question to the above quote is "Why do I need a policeman on the road to keep myself safe? Have I not learned responsibility in my childhood to ensure my own safety? In other words do I need at the age of adulthood still "parenting" for safety (in this case policing).

    (P.S. Taxis do that but so do regular cars.)

    To my mind, the answer to this lies in my first post about Emotional Intelligence. If one can't be responsible enough, of course you would need police. The question then will be "Why do taxi drives have low EI (and other drivers that do this), which bring back some looking into the past and Albert Einsteins quote in my first post).

    Saying that I need police to keep me safe so that I won't speed is like saying that I my parents need to tell me that I need to do my homework because I am not capable to being enough responsible to do so.

    For small children we need to remind them to do homework and so on, but to what extend such parenting need to carry on within law? In other words, when is the time that we can say we are grown up already, no need to police anymore.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    Traffic enforcement is being implemented to collect money, not to develop safety. As much as the traffic officials might deny this, their behavior shows otherwise. Wrong motives - wrong results. Under these circumstances, not paying traffic fines can be seen as a righteous act of rebellion against a corrupt system.
    If I drive safely all the time, they get no money, because they can't fine me because I wear a belt all the time and I do not speed.

    So, they do make money, because persons do not take responsibility. For them this is an opportunity. You may see this as a business opportunity of sorts.

    Is there anything wrong with that? Debatable.

    But again the first post was about who takes responsibility, law or person.

    If persons take responsibility police department make no money, or very little.

    What I find amazing in this thread is how it turned into what the gov and department do right or wrong, rather than looking in the mirror and solving the problem of what do we do right or wrong so that we do not speed, nor get fines and keep everyone safe.

    My question is: If we are adults and emotionally intelligent as adults should be, why do we need to keep looking for blame outside (e.g. gov/departments) instead of just not speeding and therefore making the speeding fines and law obsolete?

    Speeding is a symptom, fines are the superficial cure (which sometimes works and sometimes not, like headaches tablets), because most are not willing to look at first cause, which is first and foremost within, then society which we create/ed through our past behavior present and future.

    Understanding the past and accepting it enable us to learn and change the present and therefore have a better future (any professional strategist preaches that - where you come from, where you are at and were you want to get to).

    Looking at only the present/symptoms (what police and public do or do not) and who to blame next, imho, is not a constructive observation to change the future to the better, but more to stagnate in a complaining mode which in essence will bring nothing but more complaints and no change.

    Leadership comes from within, Rome was defeated - not in one day - but then it wasn't built in one day either. It wasn't defeated by those complaining but those leading.

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    Platinum Member Chatmaster's Avatar
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    Karen, make no mistake, I fully agree with you that each of us are individually responsible for our own actions, there is no denying that. But one thing I feel is important to highlight is the fact that in a country with more than 45mil citizens leaders are the people that carries the real responsibility by providing the citizens with true leadership and accountability. The example set by them will be followed by society. That is unfortunately the way it works. We all have the ability and right to free thought, but we also learn as humans from our experiences and are easy to influenced by the actions of people we respect and look up to. It is this quality that are often abused for selfish reasons.

    Do you blindly trust that the camera that caught you for speeding 3 months ago was setup correctly? You get a fine 3 months later and can't even remember that you were traveling on that road or what the circumstances were.

    We as citizens employ government to ensure that we as responsible citizens can continue living our lives for whatever purpose it is intended, however when we employ them we cannot just fire them if we realize they are worthless. We suddenly become powerless because of the way our politics work. How does that make us responsible if they do not do the job they promised to do when we appointed them? Responsibility are transfered to political parties. The power to change gets transfered to political parties. The responsibility gets transfered to individuals within those political parties. That does not mean we can let go of all our moral values, all it means is that we are supposed to ensure that we continue living our lives the way we intended to, but there are rules that we all have to live by, whether they are good or bad. If those rules are not stuck to there should be consequences because that is why we appointed government. They must ensure that these rules are stuck to. They must prevent chaos from taking over, because we give them the power to do so.

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    Bronze Member Karenwhe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chatmaster View Post
    The example set by them will be followed by society. That is unfortunately the way it works. We all have the ability and right to free thought, but we also learn as humans from our experiences and are easy to influenced by the actions of people we respect and look up to. It is this quality that are often abused for selfish reasons.
    I agree with you. But when last have you talked to a cab driver, company driver, dust bins collectors etc. Since I work in property I talk to people that live in Hillbrow, Yeoville, Berea, Rosetenville and the likes (low income hard life working people) and have income enough to feed families at a minimum and some months not even that.

    So far I have not meet one person that has any belief in this gov. anymore. All of them are completely disillusioned. Many said they have not even voted in the last election. Since, I am on the ground and do speak to people I have heard some shocking statements, such as apartheid was far better than what is going on today and worse than that (this come form people from disadvantaged backgrounds). Do they believe right now they are move advantaged? By what they say it is not the case.

    So I agree with you. Leadership is lacking, but that does not alleviate us from the responsibility to lead and help right now since the opportunity to lead in the lack of leadership is so massive and obvious.

    Speeding, which was the original post question, does not show leadership nor good example and in the lack of good example by gov. and lack of good example by citizens, what is left? That is what we as citizens should worry about because thinking about "what is left" is too garsly to contemplate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chatmaster View Post
    Do you blindly trust that the camera that caught you for speeding 3 months ago was setup correctly? You get a fine 3 months later and can't even remember that you were traveling on that road or what the circumstances were.
    I don't know, I do not get speeding fines other than one a few months ago on Barry Hertzog . So do they work, I don't care, for me they seem to work just fine. The one I got was totally due. The road was 60 the fine was 100 and yes I was past 10KM the allowed on that road.

    The last fine I got before that was in Alberton in 2001 and it was due as well (not for speeding).

    Now take into consideration that due to my profession I am on the road a lot (and I mean far more than the normal and everywhere in Gauteng). So again, do the cameras work? For me they seem to work just fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chatmaster View Post
    We suddenly become powerless because of the way our politics work. How does that make us responsible if they do not do the job they promised to do when we appointed them?
    It depends how how you view power. No gov. has ever given or taken individual power to or from anyone. If you ever lived in a strict communist country with dictators at the top - you would experience that in full force. People were not powerless then, unless they believed they were and are not powerless now unless they believe they are.

    I could go on about this as my past is from there. I view SA in a different light because I have seen worse (like having no food to buy because there ain't any in the shops and people have been resourceful enough to find food from the west and social leadership and community leadership enough to topple the entire communist gov.), and I do not think that SA is as bad as the perceptions going around. It has problems granted, but people bitch far too much.

    Thinking that one is powerless one surely is. What ever you say, you are correct either way, because you believe it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chatmaster View Post
    Responsibility are transfered to political parties. The power to change gets transfered to political parties.
    Communism in most parts was not ended by any power of any political party, and Rome did not fall willingly either. Change in those cases did not come from political parties. Granted I give extreme examples to prove a point and extreme oppression breeds extreme corrective measures in most cases violence. Which in the by the way, explains the violent crime that SA has experienced and some of which is still experienced. Like I said in the first post, one has to look at the past to understand the present to move to a better future. Acceptance is also something that has to happen to move on. Accepting that corrective measures are occurring right now is part of the overall acceptance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chatmaster View Post
    The responsibility gets transfered to individuals within those political parties. That does not mean we can let go of all our moral values, all it means is that we are supposed to ensure that we continue living our lives the way we intended to, but there are rules that we all have to live by, whether they are good or bad. If those rules are not stuck to there should be consequences because that is why we appointed government. They must ensure that these rules are stuck to. They must prevent chaos from taking over, because we give them the power to do so.
    SA is experiencing things which - when looking at history - are pretty normal. Maybe not wanted outcomes, but pretty normal for the point at which SA taking in account its' history, putting it blatantly = apartheid. This refers back to my first post in which is suggested looking in the past social consciousness to understand the present. Extreme oppression breeds extreme corrective measures. This is how the worlds works from a top view and history on the globe has proved it a million times over.

    Weather as citizens we like it or not, that is another story. Weather we can change it is most definitely certain that we can, weather we are willing to change it rather than expect gov to change it that is another story also.

    Bottom line, imho, looking deeper will give far more answers, more understanding, hopefully acceptance and therefore the power to change.

    A very good exercise for the living in transformation is to write down what will people say when one is dead. E.g. Mr. X was a very good person he helped the community and ...... or Mr. X was living in time of hardship but still manged to ..... Or Mr. X was very bitter in his live because gov and unfortunately he was speeding in his anger and he is dead now, what a shame.

    I think one gets my point. Life is the way you want it to be. And some have moved outside of SA because they wanted to change their lives, I have no qualms with that or or the once that are still here. But I suggest for those that are still here to have a good life and help others because SA just like the ex. communist block needs transformation more and less complaining.

    Personally I help people for a living to build wealth though property. I teach about this subject and help them transform their thinking from fear of investing and providing a good and clean living environment (in other words, slum lording NOT allowed) in low income areas where gov can't right now produce enough places to house people. Investors can help gov. provide housing. That alleviates a lot of pressure and makes money in the process (win win situation). That is what I do. Everyone can do something it may not be the same thing, but when one is dead hopefully the community will say this person helped transform in the areas/subjects they could as opposed to expect gov to solve all problems.

    We have made impact on quite a few buildings. Where children now have a good, clean, safe environment to live in. This can and will reduce crime in the future, while improving a few lives in the present.

    If we had a few hundred thousand investors that did just this, the housing problem will become far smaller, and less to complain about and less crime from people that live in the streets. So, instead of looking at gov that does not or can not provide enough low income housing we are working on that problem currently and also making for our investors money in the process.

    Now, on the same note. Why don't we open boards on different subjects on how can we as citizens in our respective professions help transform South Africa, while making a living and having some impact, even if just a small impact. At end end of the day, it all counts.

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