Whose responsibility is it?
By Dr. Robert Owens
Having spent time describing the three unalienable rights of life, liberty and property upon which our Republic was founded and from which all others flow it is necessary to speak of the natural responsibilities which form their inverse image. Peering through the looking glass at original intent we try to make sense of the present wonderland where rights and responsibilities are never what they seem.
There are five natural responsibilities. First, we're responsible for our actions. No one can make us do anything. Even when forced it is still us who must make our muscles move and make our voices speak. We are responsible for the validity of our word and it should be our bond that we will do what we have said we will do when we have said we will do it. Second, each person is responsible for their own sustenance. We should provide for ourselves not expecting others to meet our needs or supply us with the comforts we desire. Third, we are responsible for our children. It is the duty of every parent to provide for the physical, emotional and spiritual support of our children until they are old enough to care for themselves. Fourth we are responsible for the fulfillment of all contracts we have freely accepted. And fifth, everyone has a responsibility to a social system which provides them freedom to use their own talents and energy for their own goals.
As stated earlier these natural responsibilities are directly linked to the natural rights of humanity to life, liberty and property. A person's right to life inherently carries a responsibility to provide for them self and for their family without making demands upon the goods or time of others. This responsibility to care for our family extends existentially in both directions. Just as it is incumbent upon all of us to care for our own children, each of us, initially claims the support of our parents, therefore it is equally incumbent upon us to care for our parents if they can no longer care for themselves. As we have the liberty to use our time and talents for our own improvement we are inherently responsible for how we use them and for any consequences that flow from their use. And since legitimate government exists to protect our natural rights we are responsible for contributing to its ability to fulfill this function. This would include reasonable taxes and public service.
This is the extent of our natural responsibilities. Once we move beyond these we enter into the realm of moral or religious responsibilities. While natural responsibilities like natural rights are objectively arrived at by the nature of humanity moral or religious responsibilities are by their nature subjectively learned. Consequently the fulfillment of natural responsibilities flow logically from life while in most cases unless moral or religious obligations are personally perceived and agreed upon they must be fulfilled through the application of law and its ability to compel compliance.
As these secondary type responsibilities are most properly the purview of a moral code or religion and as each moral code or religion may carry different obligations it is presumptuous of government to impose upon its citizens what should instead be a free choice. For, the imposition of one moral code or religion could possibly transgress or ignore the moral obligations of another the sanction of one moral code or religion over another inherently restricts the citizen's enjoyment of their unalienable rights.
Today our ever-expanding government invents new responsibilities and then force feeds them to a powerless public. These include responsibilities to the nation and the world. On a daily basis we hear of our responsibility to the poor, the uneducated, or the uninsured. And these new responsibilities do not just extend to our fellow Americans. Through the continuous imposition of these constantly proliferating rights internationalists seek to transfer the wealth of the United States to the third world as their open borders policy invites the third world to come here to claim it. Using our tax money the government seeks to care for everyone's needs from cradle to grave. The inefficiencies of bureaucracy ensure that a large percentage of these resources get flushed down the sewer while we fall deeper into debt.
These newly invented responsibilities are not natural and our government must violate the natural rights of its citizens to fulfill them. They do this by expropriating our property and the enjoyment of the fruits of our labor which diminishes our lives from all they could be to what they allow them to be. In addition, the only way the government can expropriate these things and distribute them from who earned them to who they believe deserves them is to increase their power by diminishing ours.
If not from nature where do these government enforced responsibilities originate? They spring from ideology and the quest for power. By preying upon the gullibility of the uninformed, the culpability of the greedy and the lethargy of the uncaring the Progressive clique has gained control of the American experiment. It has used the ideology and terminology of extreme socialism, "From each according to their ability to each according to their need" to construct a conveyor belt transferring wealth from producers to consumers. The Progressives buy votes and continued support by dividing the swag from their plunder of American capitalism. Even though the government's propaganda arms drone constantly about these enforced responsibilities still the majority of Americans instinctively know the difference between natural responsibilities and government mandated ones. If we don't demand a stop to this proliferation of imagined responsibilities and the expropriation of resources needed to fulfill them we will lose our natural rights and the ability to fulfill the natural responsibilities which flow from them.
Dr. Robert Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System. © 2010 Robert R. Owens firstname.lastname@example.org