What are the Rights and Responsibilities of Americans? Seems like everyone is concerned about their rights and no one cares about their responsibilities. In today’s society, an accusation given without proof can ruin lives and there is no consequence for a false allegations.
It seems like individuals with a strong conservative value system are losing to those that care nothing about fair play and equality under the law. This bothers me, but I do think we can do something about it.
The theory of human rights is an old one. It dates from the ancient Greeks to today’s civil rights movement. The argument is that humans have certain things that they must have based solely on their status as humans.
This belief is the basis of our American Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In fact this theory is so strongly held that it is the basis of Conservative thought.
Serous thinking on this subject leads to the question of what is a right. It seems to be that a right is something that cannot be taken away because it is inherent to a person’s status as a human. It is impossible to take from a person the status of being a person; therefore it should be impossible to take away a right. If this is so, then do we as humans have rights? The foremost right is the right to life. This right is taken from people every day. It is physically easy to take someone’s life. New devices to make this easier are constantly being devised.
What then of the right to freedom of speech? Can someone make you unable to express your thoughts? Yes, they can simply by removing your right to life. Property rights? Stop paying your taxes and see if you keep grandpa’s farm. One of the most talked about right in today’s society is the right to keep and bear arms. This right is constantly being degraded. It is beginning to be seen as antiquated, unnecessary, and dangerous. This particular right is being fazed out of existence. People everyday say that this right is inherent in the American way of life and can never be taken away. Ask the Australians, the Canadians, or the British if the right to own firearms for protection can be taken away.
You Have the Right to Fight for Your Rights
Does a person have any rights? If a right is something you cannot have stolen from you, then yes each person has spiritual rights. No one can take from you your dignity. Dignity can be hard to keep on occasion. Dignity can not be stolen. You must give it up. No person can dictate to you what to believe. If you believe in God, no one can force you to stop believing in Him. They may be able to keep you from physically expressing those beliefs, but they cannot take God from you. You have the right to stand up for your rights. If you believe you have the right to something, you can always fight for the right to use those rights.
This might be overly simplifying the idea. However it is important to know that when the founders of this country created our system, one of them was heard to remark, “We have given you a Republic. Lets see if you can keep it.” It is up to each person to define their own rights and to refuse to give them up without cause. Each time someone lobbies for some group to lose some right distasteful to them, they make it easier for their own rights to be taken away. Simply stated if they take the Second, the First will quickly follow.
Earlier we discussed rights, now it is time to discuss their big brother, responsibilities. For each right you claim, you inherit an equally important responsibility.
When a boy gets his first rifle, not only does he get a great privilege, but he also becomes responsible for how he uses it. The most clichéd version of this phenomenon is the adage “you can’t yell fire in a crowded theatre”.
It is true that as an American, you have the right to say most anything you desire, but you also have the responsibility to speak the truth and not to promote violence. We often talk about the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. However, outside of a gun class, how often is the responsibility for each bullet fired mentioned?
It does not matter what the intended consequence is nor the reasons or justifications behind the firing. What matters is the result. As an adult you must accept the responsibility for your actions. You did accept the privileges, so is it not fair for you to accept the consequences also?
A saying my child hears when he refuses to acknowledge that his actions have reactions is “You can do anything your big enough to handle, but you have to be big enough to take the praise or the licks.” All too often we as a society fail to see this as a part of life. There is a clamoring in the halls of our government buildings to legislate everything from marijuana to marriage.
You can Hide From Responsibility, but You Cannot Hide from the Consequences
Nobody likes having problems. Most people want protected from them. Few will take on the ugly task of DEALING with the problem. Abortion, for instance, is something everyone in society has an opinion on. If it is permissible, when is it allowed and under what circumstances? The question most times is not when is it okay, but why is it necessary. Abortion for birth control means someone is not taking responsibility for his or her actions. Another less controversial topic is the wearing of motorcycle helmets. It is not my place to try to pass a law forcing motorcyclists to wear helmets. As such, paying for their care is not my responsibility.
Today it is commonplace to hear people wanting what is owed to them. “It’s not fair!” ”Its my right!” “Equal opportunity!” All these statements ignore the realm of personal responsibility. We might have a strong opinion on this subject, but is that not reasonable when we demand a greater freedom of action. This website advocates self-protection. We teach people how to do what they believe is necessary to protect their family. We refuse to be a victim; therefore, we must take great care not to victimize others. This thought of personal responsibility is central to the philosophy of the Shepherd School.
I want to leave you with two thoughts. We are a diverse country, that is out strength. Therefore, don’t judge people on their differences. Secondly, the government is based on force. When you beg for a law you are feeding a fire that you have no ability to control