Here we go again.
Anyone who has been involved in rearing human infants will understand that the word “sorry” is the coda to the process of reconciling a malevolent or negligent act, not the start.
It’s also totally meaningless for the word to be said by anyone other than the person who committed the act, unless it’s used in the context of sympathy (“I’m sorry that happened to you”) instead.
And, on “institutional apologies”:
In addition to the word “sorry”, these apologies have a significant commonality; they are ….. meaningless because the speaker was not responsible for the crime. In most cases, the speaker was not even born at the time of the crime.
Consider then, the Mayor of New Zealand’s apology for a plane crash which, unless “gestational guilt” has become a thing whilst we were busy going about our business, she can’t be held responsible for in any sensible way.
My grandmother used to reply when, as a child, I asked how old she was, “as old as my eyes and little older than my teeth“.
Let’s give a pass, therefore, to the possibility of La Adern’s remarkable dental pre-natal longevity being somehow responsible for the downing of flight NZ901 on November 28th, 1979 (9 months before she was born) but, let’s face it, that’s a theory unlikely to make it past any scientific peer review outside of California.
On behalf of the government and, by extension, the people of New Zealand, she apologised for the tragedy today.
Do your own research into this but please keep in mind the fact ALL civilian navigation in 1979 was undertaken using equipment which would have been instantly recognisable by Captain Cook’s crew.
Excuse my language, but sextants (no, autocorrect, I didn’t mean to type “sexy ants”).
40 years ago, a plane flying over Antarctica, at an altitude low enough for scenic views, using celestial navigation and only air pressure to judge altitude, crashed into a mountain when it started snowing.
Everyone in every position of responsibility in the organisations involved in both the flight and subsequent cover up are dead.
“We” are sorry.
There is a point beyond which, we should just move on.
The problem is one of incentives versus personal cost, however.
The personal gain to Jacinda Adern for saying “sorry” is not zero. Let’s say she gains one percentage point in the approval ratings.
That’s not the important side of the balance sheet. The cost to her is the square root of fuck all.
The cost is carried by the New Zealand taxpayer who is now up for the potentially-difficult to defend compensation claims.
As always, incentives matter.
William of Ockham passim, again:
In other news, on behalf of the whole of western Christendom, I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for the sacking of Constantinople in 1215. Hopefully we can all move on from here and find common ground.