Or, "You are also responsible for the results of your inaction."

This idea is one of the basic conclusions that I have come across in formulating my own personal philosophy. Picture this scenario:

You are standing next to a man with a gun. He has it aimed at another man. You can easily stop the man with the gun from taking the shot and killing the other man. However, you fail to do so, and the other man dies.

You are now complicit in the man's death due to your inaction. There may be justification for this action: the other man may have been dangerous, and the first man an officer of the law; you may have feared for your own safety by stopping the first man. While you may have justification, may have explanations for your inaction, you are still complicit. Notice that you are not being blamed - but also notice that you cannot achieve absolution; although you did not pull the trigger, you did not prevent it either.

Likewise, if you fail to stand up for your rights, you are complicit when they are stripped from you.

Just to play the Devil's advocate, aren't you in fact presumptious to consider you have the insight to act correctly, and are making a false dichotomy between action and inaction in the case you cite? As John Milton says in his poem 'On His Blindness', 'they also serve who only stand and wait'. The Universe does not need us for good or bad. You say you are not blaming the hypothetical inactor, but your write-up is shot through with the assumption that they have failed in a moral sense.

The Dao De Jing says the Way lies in 'wu wei er wu bu wei' doing nothing there is nothing that is not done.

Perhaps you stand up for your rights, resisting the Nazi invaders in wartime Yugoslavia and they shoot twenty villagers for every Stormtrooper the Partisans off. Were you right or wrong?

That all said, I agree with Kenzilla. It's a knotty philosophical problem, but in most real life situations you gotta do what you gotta do, and liberation is down to us. I just like to remind myself from time to time of the Ultimate Emptiness behind my choices.

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