Tag: Responsibility

The Holocaust: Who or What Was to ‘Blame’?


Whenever the topic of the Holocaust is brought up, you can feel the tension rise in the room. The small Jewish group I facilitate was no exception. In pursuing the topic recently, I learned a great deal, not only about others’ thinking, but about the issues I had been struggling with for years.

To be clear, I’m not talking about the Germans and the war and atrocities they committed; I’m referring specifically to whether G-d was to “blame” for letting the Holocaust take place, or whether the Jews were responsible, at least in part, for their own deaths. As you can imagine, it can be a pretty dicey topic to tackle, but I believe that it was worthwhile.

Almost everyone in our group believed that G-d should have interceded before 6 million Jews and a total of 12 million people died. I was prepared to present a more complex point of view, and I proceeded to lay out my own thinking.

Member Post


“God saw that it was good” is repeated throughout Genesis one (4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25) with the finale of “very good” (v 31). It should come as no surprise that the Christian responsibility is replicated throughout the Second (New) Testament – to “do good” (for example, in Titus 8 times). We must see […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

It’s Somebody Else’s Fault


Cynics are lapsed idealists. They began with great expectations. Then they discover that life is not easy, that things do not go as we hoped they would. Our efforts hit obstacles. Our plans are derailed. We do not receive the recognition or honour we think we deserve. So we retreat into ourselves. We blame others for our failures, and we focus on the failings of others. We tell ourselves we could have done better.  –Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks

When we don’t get our way, especially when we think our goals are righteous and honorable, we can feel betrayed. In a sense, our being born on this earth entitles us to dreams transformed into reality, and ideals actualized in our day-to-day life.

Anyone can be victim to this mentality, and the assumptions and conclusions that ensue. But I believe that people who mature, who learn the difficult lessons of life, realize that we can experience both blessings and disappointments. We can learn from our disappointments to ascertain our limitations, errors, or roadblocks. And then we can decide on the other efforts we can pursue to make our own lives, or the lives of others, happier and richer.

When Teachers Were Proud to Be Teachers


Do you remember the phrase, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach”? I was thinking about this cynical comment, attributed to H.L. Mencken, and wondered if the teachers who chose to be teachers in the 20th century were aware of his statement and if their decision to become teachers was affected by it.

Nowadays, I wonder if teachers appreciate being in the profession. Was there a time when they were genuinely proud to be teachers? Did the requirements of the profession drive them away? Did the types of students they had to try to manage make teaching too difficult? In my exploration, I found that teachers joined the profession for a wide assortment of reasons, and they also left for just as many. I also thought about recent posts I’ve written about the teachers’ unions that were making outrageous demands for their members, and that the teachers didn’t necessarily agree with what they were demanding, but didn’t know what to do about it. What I know at this point, however, is that teachers were highly regarded at one time, and their reputation as a profession has taken a beating. So I wanted to know why at least some of them signed up, and why others decided to leave.

I remember the time when parents would almost always support a teacher over the complaints of their children, especially if it was obvious that the children were probably misrepresenting what the teacher had done or said. The parents insisted that the teacher had the last word and that the children should straighten up. Although it’s unclear whether a parent should have always sided with a teacher, their reaction to a child’s protest demonstrated that the teacher was held in fairly high esteem.

Quote of the Day: Responsibility


“Responsibility without authority is slavery.” – Rollo Tomassi

This is a quote that cuts to the heart of what is wrong with Critical Race Theory. It assigns responsibility for actions to those who did not perform them while simultaneously denying those with responsibility for “fixing” the problem the authority to do so. All you can do is admit fault, accept guilt, and do what your masters demand of you. Isn’t that the very definition of slavery – of being a slave?

Pushing Back on the Medical Establishment Is Not so Easy


I should have known that a big decision about changing my chemotherapy regimen, rejecting my oncologist’s recommendation, wasn’t going to be so easy. I wrote about it here, describing a discussion I will be having with him on Monday. But now I realize that there is more involved than just looking at the statistics and research. It means, from a big picture standpoint, that I will be bucking the “science,” telling the experts that when it comes to making decisions about my life, all the numbers in the world can’t determine what is best for me.

Only I can do that. And I am very anxious about telling him my decision to defy his recommendation. I’m even nervous about discussing my situation with my internist on Friday prior to that meeting. Am I just wanting the treatment to be finished? (Yes.) Am I tired of being tired? (Yes.) Do I want life to return to normal? (Yes.) And in spite of all those desires, I believe I know what the best course is for me.

Lessons Learned and Lost


G-d knew that the Hebrews leaving Egypt had no clue about how to take care of themselves, just like so much of society today. They didn’t know how to hunt, how to sow, or how to reap. All they knew was that they were really ticked off that they’d bargained for freedom in leaving Egypt, and once they left, they were sure they were going to die. They didn’t even know how to find the basic survival necessities: food and water. And because they felt helpless, they complained and protested that they had ever left Egypt; they assumed they were doomed to die in the desert.

But G-d knew what was happening among the people. He also knew He would need to develop trust with the people; they needed to know that they would have food in the desert. So, He rained down manna for many years, with a number of pre-conditions: the people had to take only what they needed; they couldn’t hoard their share. They had to follow the laws in order to benefit from the gifts He would give.

Quote of the Day: No Excuses!


“I attribute my success to this — I never gave or took any excuse.” — Florence Nightingale

Okay, I admit it; I’m obsessed with the importance of personal responsibility. And this quotation by Florence Nightingale, the woman who was the founder of modern nursing, reflects my strong beliefs on the subject. No doubt Ms. Nightingale ran into more than her share of roadblocks in her aspirations, but she was fearless and willing to take them on.

Today we have a society that is drowning in excuses. People who encounter difficulties blame others for holding them back. They purport to know people’s biases, feelings, preferences, and hatred toward them. They want to be able to pursue their goals in life with a minimum amount of effort. If they weren’t hired for jobs, racism was to blame. If they weren’t promoted to a new position, someone had unfair influence. The opportunities for feeling insecure and frustrated are endless. Especially when we can blame other people for our losses.

The Blame Game


We all must be born with an irresistible impulse to blame others. From the time we are toddlers, one kid always steals another’s toys to get back at him, or one calls the other a name because she was mean. It’s always somebody else’s fault. Unfortunately, many people don’t outgrow that compulsion.

We have all been parts of those finger-pointing crises—who flubbed a pass in the schoolyard, the dog ate my homework, no one told me to take out the trash. But when we realize we do need to grow up, we learn that the blame game doesn’t endear us to others; they resent our accusations, and distance themselves from the relationship.

We’re seeing in high definition the results of people never maturing past the blame game. Those people become university professors, drug dealers, media types and rioters. They blame the Founding Fathers for owning slaves. They blame capitalism. They blame Western values.

Quote of the Day: Responsibility


“Have we reached the ultimate stage of absurdity where some people are held responsible for things that happened before they were born, while other people are not held responsible for what they themselves are doing today?” – Thomas Sowell

We sure have. After all, San Fran Nan didn’t do anything wrong by violating California’s COVID lockdown rules. She was set up. That excuses everything. Meanwhile, I am supposed to feel guilty about black slavery that ended decades before my grandparents arrived in the United States from Greece.

Peggy Noonan, Drudge and Others


There’s nothing like getting up on a promising new morning, grabbing a cup of your favorite coffee, and browsing the news only to get depressed within minutes. The Drudge Report is now like forgetting to take out that rotten smelling trash last night. I thought well, the latest story from a respected journalist like Peggy Noonan might freshen the air. No, it belongs in the garbage can with the black banana peels. Trump can’t handle a crisis, his “photo op” at the church was stupid, Joe Biden is way ahead, the country is about to lockdown again, thugs are winning…. I’m ready to go back to bed.

Let’s begin with “Trump can’t handle a crisis” – which crisis would that be Peggy? Was it the three-plus years since Trump was sworn in, where a covert, attempted takedown of his election under the Obama-Biden administration that beat the country’s spirit to a pulp, or how about impeachment over a call to the new Ukrainian president? Was it trying to restore, and succeeding, in resurrecting a failing manufacturing sector, creating new employment opportunities for all, regardless of skin color or gender – was that a crisis?

How about the extraordinary feats during a pandemic of pulling together a medical team of experts to direct the unfolding of this new disease, pulling together major industries to create and manufacture massive supply needs, rushing ships converted into hospitals, supporting governors, closing borders when Biden and Pelosi were crying foul – is that the crisis you meant? Did you regularly check both the CDC and the World Health Organization, as I did, both very late in identifying COVID-19 an actual pandemic, even as Italy was quarantining large segments of the population??

Quote of the Day: Responsibility


“Responsibility is a unique concept… You may share it with others, but your portion is not diminished. You may delegate it, but it is still with you… If responsibility is rightfully yours, no evasion, or ignorance or passing the blame can shift the burden to someone else. Unless you can point your finger at the man who is responsible when something goes wrong, then you have never had anyone really responsible.” ― Hyman G. Rickover

Rickover was always a controversial figure. Yet this quote gets to the heart of much what is wrong in today’s society. No one is held responsible, and the higher your position the more responsibility is avoided. The only ones held responsible are low-level suckers too low on the totem pole to avoid holding the bag of responsibility. Worse still? A society where position and prestige shields one from the responsibility which goes with that position is fundamentally corrupt.

Quote of the Day #2: Freedom and Responsibleness


“Freedom, however, is not the last word. Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth. Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness. In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness.” — Viktor Frankl, (1956) Man’s Search for Meaning, p. 209-210.

Freedom is a heady brew. It’s great stuff; simply wonderful.

Member Post


Let’s say that I’m running for a seat on the city council as a Republican. It comes to light that I, a married man, had an affair. I had engaged in a great deal of subterfuge and mendacity to carry on this liaison, and many conclude from this that I am not trustworthy. (Of course, it helps that […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Member Post


…for Democratic Party Presidential candidate and ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at Sunday’s town hall debate.  In no particular order: You’ve said repeatedly that you “take responsibility” for your use of a private, unsecured email server to conduct official State Department business. What concrete actions have you actually done that constitutes an actual taking of […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Member Post


Is it just me, or has the category of “license” fallen off the radar in discussions of liberty? It seems that all discussions here about liberty ignore the category of license.  After reading Fred’s posts (here and here), I was reminded of how we don’t normally talk about license. We seem to believe that all […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Member Post


Highly classified Hillary Clinton emails that the intelligence community and State Department recently deemed too damaging to national security to release contain “operational intelligence”—and their presence on the unsecure, personal email system jeopardized “sources, methods and lives,” a US government official who has reviewed the documents told Fox News. This is about the 22 Top […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.