I’ve been vaguely uncomfortable with the entire Tiger Woods apology affair. I think what triggered it (my discomfort) was an article in paper which listed a number of people who had never so much as met the man and yet were saying that they accepted his apology and that it was time to move on. I thought something along the lines of “Huh? What? On what basis do you accept something that cannot be yours?”
Now, I see that Thomas Sowell has also been thinking about the issue of public apologies and has some eminently repeatable things to say:
Public apologies to people who are not owed any apologies have become one of the many signs of the mushy thinking of our times. So are apologies for things that other people did.
Among the most absurd apologies have been apologies for slavery by politicians. For one thing, slavery is not something you can apologize for, any more than you can apologize for murder.
If someone says to you that he murdered someone near and dear to you, what are you supposed to say? “No problem, we all make mistakes”? Not bloody likely!
He gets better:
Aimless apologies are just one of the incidental symptoms of an increasing loss of a sense of personal responsibility — without which a whole society is in jeopardy.
The police cannot possibly maintain law and order by themselves. Millions of people can monitor their own behavior better than any third parties can. Cops can cope with that segment of society that has no sense of personal responsibility, but not if that segment becomes a large part of the whole population.
Go and read it all.
If anyone reading this was directly damaged by Mr. Woods actions, then he needs to personally apologize to you. If you are reading this and feel hurt by what he did–yet have no relationship with him whatsoever–barring that of fan, please consider that your hurt may stem from an unwise investiture on your part.