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«Responsabili, ma non colpevoli»

"Responsible, but not Guilty»

Anno XXIX, n. 125, aprile-giugno 1994
Centro Einaudi


Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese

In this essay, the author analyses the causes and consequences of the decline in the sense of responsibility of contemporary French potiliticians. He bases his argument on the case of the former Socialist Health Minister, Georgina Foix: in the aftermath of an infected blood scandal, in which many haemophiliacs died, she declared herself "responsible but not guilty". The breaking of the natural link between legal and political responsibility and moral guilt is, according to the author, a sign of the times. It reflects a fundamental change in the meaning of politics. Contemporary politicians are irresponsible because they have lost their sense of time, of the political long term and of their bond with the communities which human beings belong to, and which, in the past, used to select the élites. Politicians have thus become incapable both of taking risks and of defending institutions. They use the latter to defend themselves, instead of protecting them with their own conduct. Only a revival of the sense of liberty and of the long term can produce élites once more capable of feeling responsibility, hence guilt.