Liberal Guilt And The Big Lie

Are We Responsible For Our Leader's Crimes?

"We shouldn't have gone into Vietnam/Iraq/Afghanistan." "We shouldn't have elected George Bush/Donald Trump." "It was horrible what we did to the Native Americans/People of Color."

Who, exactly, is this "we" I keep hearing about? I make a lot of mistakes, but voting for major-party candidates, fomenting wars of aggression, and committing genocide before I was born are not among the crimes to which I'm prepared to plead guilty. Nor, generally, are the people piously mouthing this type of self-flagellating mea culpas likely to have participated in similar transgressions.

These expressions of collective accountability are a symptom of what I call "Liberal Guilt," and they are as absurd as they are ubiquitous. "We" are being TOLD that "we" are responsible - either through action or inaction - for everything that's wrong with the world. And we are being told this Big Lie by the people who actually ARE responsible. Of course, we could all do more to save the planet and move the human race towards enlightenment, but truly the effect of any one of our efforts - or the lack of those efforts - is immeasurably small.

However, the contributions of the ruling elite can often literally be measured from outer space! If "the ruling elite" sounds too conspiracy-theory-wackoish, let's try a word we hear a lot more often: Leaders. Leaders of business and industry, government leaders, military leaders ... How often do you hear terms like these? And why are these people called leaders? Because they have the power to make other people follow. And what are they following? They're following orders. Build this, do that, bomb those ... "We" aren't in charge, the "leaders" are in charge! They're the ones who need to be flagellated, not us!

The old canard that "we" put the leaders in charge is a lie too. The powerful perpetuate their own line. First of all, most of the people who make earth-shaking decisions are not elected and, secondly, as the massive fraud in the last two U.S. elections proved, it really doesn't matter WHAT the masses say. The appointment of leaders is done by the "leaders" who are already in charge. And, clearly, since history has shown us that their primary motivations are (A) self-preservation and (B) accumulating more money and power, they're not exactly looking for a maverick to come in and rock the boat. And, since our leader's other decisions are based on the same motivations (see A and B above), it's easy to see why "we" are in the state in which we find ourselves.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting a big conspiracy (although it wouldn't surprise me if there were one), I'm just saying that all the evil deeds that well-meaning, socially-conscious people tend to say "we" are responsible for are just the consequences of short-sighted, selfish decisions made by our "leaders." No grand plan required!

So, the next time you hear somebody mouthing off about what "we" did or should have done, tell him or her to stop blaming US and to start pointing an accusatory finger at our so-called "leaders."