Bill of Responsibilities

Driving home this afternoon, I was listening to Detroit’s Paul W. Smith (guest-hosting on Rush Limbaugh’s program) and heard the following from Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge. Considering the age we live in, we should be reminded what our responsibilities as citizens to our country are, and not the reverse.

Bill of Responsibilities

With Rights come Responsibilities—As Americans, we must accept responsibility with the gift of security of our rights. As the Founding Fathers of our nation set down the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the US Constitution, to establish certain rights of American citizens, the Freedoms Foundation has outlined responsibilities of American citizens in a free society:


Freedom and responsibility are mutual and inseparable; we can ensure enjoyment of the one only by exercising the other. Freedom for all of us depends on responsibility by each of us.

To secure and expand our liberties, therefore, we accept these responsibilities as individual members of a free society:

1. To be fully responsible for our own actions and for the consequences of those actions. Freedom to choose carries with it the responsibility for our choices.

2. To respect the rights and beliefs of others. In a free society, diversity flourishes. Courtesy and consideration toward others are measures of a civilized society.

3. To give sympathy, understanding and help to others. As we hope others will help us when we are in need, we should help others when they are in need.

4. To do our best to meet our own and our families’ needs. There is no personal freedom without economic freedom. By helping ourselves and those closest to us to become productive members of society, we contribute to the strength of the nation.

5. To respect and obey the laws. Laws are mutually accepted rules by which, together, we maintain a free society. Liberty itself is built on a foundation of law. That foundation provides an orderly process for changing laws. It also depends on our obeying laws once they have been freely adopted.

6. To respect the property of others, both private and public. No one has a right to what is not his or hers. The right to enjoy what is ours depends on our respecting the right of others to enjoy what is theirs.

7. To share with others our appreciation of the benefits and obligations of freedom. Freedom shared is freedom strengthened.

8. To participate constructively in the nation’s political life. Democracy depends on an active citizenry. It depends equally on an informed citizenry.

9. To help freedom survive by assuming personal responsibility for its defense. Our nation cannot survive unless we defend it. Its security rests on the individual determination of each of us to help preserve it.

10. To respect the rights and to meet the responsibilities on which our liberty rests and our democracy depends. This is the essence of freedom. Maintaining it requires our common effort, all together and each individually.

Copyright © 1985 by Freedoms Foundation


About Tom Roland

EE for 25 Years, Two Patents - now a certified PMP. Married twice, burned once. One son with Asperger's Syndrome. Two cats. Conservative leaning to the Right. NRA Life Member.
This entry was posted in Opinion. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Bill of Responsibilities

  1. Tom says:

    “With great power comes great responsibility” That’s what Spiderman says. What about the responsibility of the current crop of Washington politicians to clean up the mess that they have made in the last six years? Or are you only refering to “personal” responsibility?
    Tim | Homepage | 04.26.06 – 6:51 pm | #


    Politicians should have personal responsibility as part of their character, although there is damn little of that from what I’ve observed (see an earlier post A Politician’s Job for my real feelings on this) In many respects, it is up to us as citizens to hold their feet to the fire – See Point 8.

    Personal responsibility toward ourselves and others, as a people and as a society, is paramount for us to function as a country.
    Tom | Homepage | 04.26.06 – 7:39 pm | #

    The current batch of politicians on both sides wouldn’t recognize those words if their lives depended on them. Which if the American public could get free and open ballot access it would.
    The Troll | Homepage | 04.26.06 – 11:35 pm | #

    I think I will print these out and hang them in my cube.
    Teresa | Homepage | 04.27.06 – 2:19 pm | #

    It is too bad that these are not enumerated in the Constitution along with the Bill of Rights. Excellent post.
    Shoprat | Homepage | 04.27.06 – 3:22 pm | #

    Fine list. I agree with the entirety of it all.

    I suspect we may differ on how best to live in a personally responsible way, but at least we agree on the notion.
    Dan Trabue | Homepage | 04.28.06 – 1:36 pm | #

    Excellent post! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it were to be implemented?
    Gayle | Homepage | 04.29.06 – 2:18 pm | #

    Aaahh, implementation. Now that could get thorny. I mean, for me, respecting the property of others (and I would expand that to include lives and health of others – ‘twould be a shame to respect someone’s property but not their life or health), would include not polluting inordinantly.

    And, again for me, “inordinantly” would be so much so that some people are getting sick and dying, that our water and air isn’t toxic, that one’s soot is all over others’ houses and stuff. That one drives at responsible speeds – and with the numbers of accidents and deaths every year, that might involve changing how we drive so that one can be personally responsible.

    But I’m guessing many people would NOT find it wonderful if we implemented that sort of responsibility.

    And we could probably think of other ways where we agree with these in priniciple but would come to loggerheads in how to implement them, you think?
    Dan Trabue | Homepage | 05.01.06 – 4:04 pm | #

    What I think is that personal responsibility is taking ownership for one’s own actions. This also means owning up to the consequences of bad decisions, and making reparations if needed. What it doesn’t entail is blaming someone or something else for our bad decisions or actions.

    Implementation to me means legislation, which tends to absolve & cloud whose responsibility it really is. In many respects, I believe our over-reliance on government has robbed us of the greatest gift we were ever bestowed on this planet – our freedom through personal achievement and responsibility. Once we start depending on or blaming others for our mistakes, we have lost ourselves. Perhaps I will write more on this in a regular post sometime…
    Tom | Homepage | 05.02.06 – 3:47 pm | #

    So, your neighbor is disposing of his trash by placing it in your yard. Are you glad that there are laws in place to respond to this sort of irresponsibility?
    Dan Trabue | Homepage | 05.03.06 – 11:41 am | #

    Dan, Dan, Dan…Always playing the Devil’s Advocate…

    If your yard is a trash-heap, then I guess you could be inviting indiscriminate dumping. Otherwise, your neighbor isn’t being responsible to you or to the neighborhood, and possibly violating a health ordinance. There’s always one in each neighborhood that’s a pain in the rear.

    The idea of the post is for more people to take responsibility for themselves and their actions, not to debate if someone who is irresponsible is breaking a law.
    Anonymous | 05.03.06 – 3:25 pm | #

    And I was merely agreeing with the notion of responsibility, then Tom mentioned, “In many respects, I believe our over-reliance on government has robbed us…” and so I was questioning whether he was saying there wasn’t a place for we the people to decide some basic rules for living together responsibly?

    That we decide to do so as a collective of people does not take away from personal responsibility, which is what Tom seemed to be saying, but perhaps I was mistaken – and so I raised the point.

    Let us unite, then, around personal responsibility, common respect and compassion.
    Dan Trabue | Homepage | 05.04.06 – 11:16 am | #

    Dan – glad that got cleared up!!
    Tom | Homepage | 05.04.06 – 3:45 pm | #

Comments are closed.