Accountability keeps people in check. The culture of a workplace or a book club is built out of expected behavior. Don’t be a jerk, give everyone a fair chance, be polite. Without these rules in place, a culture collapses.
However, accountability, like everything else that sounds good, is not insusceptible to turning sour.
Sour accountability has 3 qualities which distinguish it from normal accountability.
- It turns everyone into an informer, a public executioner of reputations. (Don’t just call out your politically unorthodox dad; put him on trial on Facebook.)
- It becomes everyone’s excuse to boss everyone else around (Put your mask on above your nose! Don’t you dare tweet that!).
- It upends all skepticism of our own misdemeanors (I’m Accountable therefor I’m a good guy).
Oh, and if you’re not dedicating every breath to keeping everyone accountable, you’re part of the problem. No black square? Go to hell.
In the past we’ve criminalized the most harmless drugs like marijuana. Back then, we used to think that the layperson couldn’t handle having a blunt or two. Today we’re legalizing power. We’re putting power into the hands of those who either don’t want it, or want it a bit too much. We’re legalizing power as if the layperson is capable of handling it. The power to what? To dictate over, to authorize what other people can and can’t say (and about whom), to adjust their behavior according to the worldview of those who enjoy wielding power. In fact, we even have entire college semesters dedicated to teaching how everything is about power. I used to think that Marxist bullshit was wrong, but they’re right! I can tell you what to say, and get away with it, because I’m just Keeping People Accountable (read: “I’m just exercising my power over you.”)
More power to me, more power to you, more power to your kids, your friends, your family. More power to everyone. We’re in the middle of a power inflation, a surplus of power. We’ve reached a level beyond: Super Saiyan 5 Power Goku Activist-Fighting-Against-God-Knows-What-Now. The enemy? Those who haven’t revoked their right to remain weak.