Alex Putzer, Universität Hamburg, Germany
Nuremberg, 1946: Fritz Sauckel, a convicted Nazi war criminal, spoke his last words: “I am dying innocent. The sentence is wrong.” His death sentence was carried out without him ever acknowledging the involvement he had for the death of millions of people.
Personal responsibility first started to strategically expand outside of the individual when the Greek Demos begun electing representatives to make decisions and take actions for it, in order to fulfill wishes, respond to fears or express any other kind of motivation. Gradually, this Demos extended from a few to almost all members of a society.
De Maistre commented this universal participation to elections by stating: ‘Every nation gets the government it deserves.’ All the Demos is to be held accountable for the decisions it takes, directly as well as indirectly, and not only in the political sphere.
By purchasing products in a capitalistic world ruled by global players, the underlying network of responsibility structures is supported, both ways. On one side, the lack of a boycott justifies possible unfair production conditions, on the other side, every member is responsible for the actions its’ network takes. Customer service complaints, in phone companies, for instance, shouldn’t be answered with an innocent “It’s not my fault”.
On a practical level: Who’s responsible for the violent protests during the G20 summit in Hamburg in July? A gathering of such a considerable size is the result of uncountable decisions by a variety of individuals, representing themselves as well as others. Somehow, we are all responsible for the events that took place. Somehow, none of us is.
In a globalized and interconnected world, any action or the lack of it determines future happenings. A responsibility shared by everyone and no one isn’t protecting anyone. The responsibility of today appears to be just too perfect.
P.S.: Sauckel’s final speech continued with another message: „God protect Germany and make Germany great again.”