Eliot Spitzer: The Crisis of Accountability

October 5, 2010

There is a second half of the equation that we tend sometimes to forget. And when that happens, there’s a problem. There’s the issue of communitarianism — we need a sense of community and responsibility to each other that rises in parallel with a sense of the freedom of the individual.

This lin of thinking seems to make it a moral rather than a systemic issue. the problem is that in a time of decline, each is more motivated to look out for self because cooperation can no longer lead to increased opportunity. One’s neighbor so to speak is more likely to want to take from us rather than form a team for a creative effort.

People have very sensitive radar for such “sense of the situation.” It is the time of rumor. This speaks to the tenor of the times and what we can expect from people when there is difficulty and declining resources at the same time. History suggests that such times are likely to turn sour. See for example Moore’s The Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy.

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