Re: Responsible People

Dale R. Reed (
Sun, 01 Dec 1996 07:29:34 -0800

Good morning all, tis a blustary dark but not raining yet morning in

Continuing along this definition of responsibility thread. Sorry if I
appear to be ignoring Alan's thoughtful opinons but I have to get some
of my ideas published first.

Professional responsibility is an issue that I have been vitally
concerned with throughout my engineering career. I promoted the subject
of professional engineering ethics to my company and to some extent into
the larger engineering profession with a series of articles into our
engineering union newsletter 20 years ago. Ethics is all about whether
the engineer's responsibilities are to the company paying his or her
paycheck or to the passengers flying on the airplanes the engineer
helped design.

By coincidence or otherwise since my articles were published not only
has the company started a large Ethics Program complete with a
confidential hotline and considerable "information" in the company paper
in an attempt to influence all its employees to be responsible for their
actions. Presently my home mailbox fills with the proceedings of
various professional ethics groups all attempting to teach me various
college professors and other do-gooders opinions on what my
responsibilities are. Presently most engineers must take an ethics
course as part of earning an undergraduate degree. These are examples
of responsibility being taught by many teachers in various organizations
implying that in many people's opinion too many people are not picking
up the proper skills on their own.

Closer to home I assume that most of you believe that a father has a
responsibility to not only financially support the raising of his
children but also give to give his children and their mother
considerable love and attention. I submit that most young men would not
understand their responsibilities without considerable teaching from
their wives. I do not think these responsibilities to his family simply
occurs to most men. I know for sure that the state attempts to teach,
and if that does not work, to force men to live up to their family

Presently most people expect to have an insurance company or the
government to pay most of their medical costs but whether they get the
care they desire will depend on the decisions of third parties.
Difficult cases are being decided by Ethics Boards filled with men and
women who have been taught and now are expected to teach
responsibility. They have demonstrated that they have learned from
past and present responsibility garus. They are expected to apply these
wise men's teachings to the present and recommend better policies for
the future. If the collectivization of our society continues(being a
libertarian I hope it doesn't) then who shall live and who shall die
will increasingly depend on what responsibility skills a few decision
making adults will have learned starting when they were children.