This afternoon, Chris Hayes — whom I’ve always had pleasant interactions with, who is obviously really smart, who does good work in pushing for genuine policy debate in the media, etc., etc. — tweeted the following:
The American supported war in Yemen continues to be an absolute moral catastrophe for which we are all directly responsible.
— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) November 2, 2016
I was so moved by my utter rejection of this claim that I broke my Twitter hibernation and went on a tweetstorm, which I copy here for posterity.
- “We” don’t have the capacity for collective deliberation and action, therefore CANNOT be morally responsible for anything collectively.
- The elites who make and enforce policy decisions do have collective deliberation and action, therefore are collectively responsible.
- “We’re ALL responsible” presupposes the existence of a collective subject that does not exist, then blames it for whatever is happening.
- And in so doing, it obscures the actual-existing collective subjects who effectively are responsible for big systemic decisions.
- “We” as a whole are not responsible for Trump getting the nomination. The Republican Party is the entity that had control over that.
- “We” are not collectively responsible for gun violence. Gun manufacturers, advocacy groups, and gun-friendly lawmakers are.
- The spurious collective responsibility of “us all” is absolutely toxic to rational political discourse. Absolutely, 100% obscurantist.