Accountability For Actions

 

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Accountability, at the end of the day, prevents any system of Core values from being misused. The Freedom to Be does not extend to harming others- whether by intent or by accident. Our responsibility to others cannot be used as an excuse to trample on the three other values- the system will seek restitution if this value is abused.

Both governments and individuals must be held accountable for their decisions. Individuals can be held accountable by their peers- who may choose to limit their cooperation and interactions to the bare minimum required by society's responsibility to others. Governments, in exchange for the power ceded them by the people, must be honest and clear in its dealings with the public. The core value of Accountability underlies the need for a court system, with proper laws and a neutral enforcement branch.

Law Suits Being held accountable is meaningless unless someone is charged with doing the holding. Our court system provides a neutral forum to uncover facts and to assess penalties. The courts are not isolated arms of the government- they implement laws passed by citizens, and citizen juries interpret those laws. Despite some high profile cases where the legal system veered out of control, in general law suits protect individual rights and society from the lack of accountability of others. If the right to sue is reduced, we must be sure other mechanisms of equal capability are in place- and currently, law suits are among our most effective tools. Otherwise, this core value becomes valueless.
Smoking and Drinking

Smoking and drinking are, to the greatest extent, a personal choice with mostly personal consequences. An alcoholic may lose their job; a smoker may lose their life. Clearly, a drunk driver must be held particularly accountable for any accidents they cause, and smokers should pay more for insurance- since both know the risk inherent in their lifestyle choice. Greater freedom is always tied to greater accountability- and once a person is shown to misuse that right, society is justified to impose reasonable restrictions.

Laws prohibiting minors from drinking or smoking should be unnecessary, as these are moral judgments as well as best left to parents- but our responsibility to others sometimes requires (when serious harm can be anticipated and its effects cannot be reversed), restricting minor's behaviors.

Financial Transparency

If a legislature passes a law, they have a responsibility to accurately and honestly convey the cost of implementing that law. Hiding costs through subterfuge (e.g. turning a "tax" into a "license fee", or forcing states to take on federal responsibilities as a way to give the impression of cost reduction) means the government is shirking accountability- unacceptable in a democratic society.

Similarly, the tax system is now so complex, inconsistent and impenetrable to the average citizen, that it is nearly impossible to ascertain the effect of new tax levies on ourselves or on our children. You cannot be accountable for what you cannot understand- simplifying the tax system (which absorbs about a third of all economic activity), is a priority.

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