Monday, November 3, 2014

Rights, Responsibilities, and the Constitution

The reason the Constitution speaks more of rights than responsibilities is that it was written to protect the individual from the Government.  That is why, as written, it specifies and limits the powers of the central government, and spells out many of the things that the Government is forbidden from doing.  While that has not always kept the Government on its leash, it gives us a point of reference to help those of us who are interested in such things discern what the Government should and should not be doing...and to let us see where we've gone off track.
The Founders presumed that most people, enjoying the freedom to make anything out of their life that they wished, would be responsible for themselves.  And part of the obligation of each generation was to teach the lessons of personal responsibility, shared obligations, and the importance of community and tradition, to each succeeding generation.
With the advent of the Welfare State, a growing number of Americans have become more interested in what they can get from the Government than with providing for themselves.  With personal responsibility now becoming seen by many as more of a lifestyle choice than a prerequisite for self-government, we can now see clearly where this will lead us in the not-too-distant future if we don't change course rather soon.   
"Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.” 
~ Ronald Reagan, from his first inaugural speech as governor of California, January 5, 1967

JEFFREY CAMINSKY, a retired public prosecutor from Michigan, writes on a wide range of topics. His books include the Guardians of Peace-tm science fiction adventure series, The Sonnets of William Shakespeare, and the acclaimed Referee’s Survival Guide, a book on soccer officiating. All are published by New Alexandria Press, and are available on Amazon, as well as directly from the publisher.