Friday, January 28, 2022

Not Responsible

The sense of responsibility for doing a job right seems to be declining.  In fact, the phrase "I am not responsible" has become a standard response in our society to complaints on a job poorly done.  This response is a semantic error.  Generally what a person means is: "I cannot be held legally liable."  Yet, from a moral or ethical point of view, the person who disclaims responsibility is correct: by taking this way out he is truly not responsible; he is irresponsible.

-- Hyman George Rickover (1900 - 1986), United States Navy admiral who directed the original development of naval nuclear propulsion and controlled its operations for three decades as director of Naval Reactors, Thoughts on Man's Purpose in Life (1974)

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