The leading statesmen and generals ‚take responsibility‘ for the fate which they impose on their peoples. But what does that mean? A terrible responsibility must mean that he who takes it on takes on a terrible risk.
A tired, hungry driver who causes an accident gets locked up. What happens to the statesman who causes an accident to the ship of state? He draws his pension.
If the driver causes someone’s death, he goes to jail for years. If a useless, unsuccessful general sends tens of thousands of his troops to their deaths, what can he expect? A little retirement cottage around which he can grow his favourite kinds of roses, wearing a laced-up velvet jacket and a little hat on his head. And write his memoirs, of course.
“I take responsibility“, says minister so-and-so. The people go pale before such bold pride and greatness. But it doesn’t mean a thing.Terrible responsibility without a corresponding terrible penalty is just empty words.
The judges judge the driver. History judges the statesman and the general. They are happy to be judged by history, they say when it gets tight. Isn’t that great? Isn’t it shocking?
The minister took responsibility? Wait a minute. How many years does he get if it goes wrong? Or how many times would he like to be hanged? And what would His Excellency answer to that? “I am happy to let history be the judge of that.”
And in fact, the only time that those responsible have to take the consequences of taking responsibility is when the people makes history.
Published in: Polgar Reader