Bill of Responsibilities

April 18, 2010 at 11:55 AM | categories: liberty rants | View Comments

George Donnelly recently blogged about his personal Bill of Responsibilites. I think his approach to crafting a message of liberty, through the lens of personal responsibility, is a creatively powerful one. It is his post that has inspired this one.

I've tried in the past to formulate a consistent approach to describing to people what true liberty is, but I think quite often that message resorts to telling people that they are doing something wrong and/or immoral. While I might be correct, focusing on someone else's faults is often not very constructive. Instead, why not focus on how I choose to live my life and my justification for doing so?

This Bill of Responsibilities is essentially a contract with myself. These are things that I believe are central to my being a good and productive person. However, if I fail to do these things, I not only fail myself but also the rest of mankind. My hope is that by living up to my own expectations, I can provide a framework for others to emulate and improve upon.

So here goes, my own personal Bill of Responsibilities:


I have the ultimate responsibility for my own survival. The division of labor that has evolved within mutual societies is wondrously beneficial to the progress of mankind and it should be taken advantage of in order to increase one's quality of life. However, the existence of such developed societies does not relieve my own personal responsibility to provide for my own needs and desires. In addition, every action I take in life will have some impact upon others. A free and prosperous society requires that I take responsibility to never use unjustified force or fraud against my fellow man.


  1. I have the responsibility to take care of myself. I cannot rely on anyone else to provide for my shelter, sustenance, education, livelihood, security, health care, entertainment, retirement, or any other thing.

  2. I have the responsibility, as a civil member of a society, to only engage others in a voluntary and mutually-agreeable fashion. I have the responsibility to never force an individual to do what they do not want to do, unless that force is a justifiable reaction to their own aggression.

  3. I have the responsibility to keep my word in my dealings with others. If I fail to honor my agreements, I have the responsibility to make full restitution in as timely a fashion as possible. To do otherwise is fraudulent and manipulative.

  4. I have the responsibility for my mistakes. If my actions unjustifiably harm or endanger another person, I am responsible for making full restitution in as timely a fashion as possible. To do otherwise is reckless and violent.

  5. I have the responsibility to defend myself and my family from those that would hurt us. I cannot rely on any other individual to risk their own life or livelihood to protect me.

  6. I have the responsibility to educate myself. Schooling is insufficient, and in many cases, destructive of the cognitive abilities of the mind. Information, derived from any source, must be processed by an engaged, observant, and critical mind.

  7. I have the responsibility to resist cooperating with people that choose to conduct themselves in violent ways. To cooperate with such evil, would immediately endanger myself and my family. To be idle and complicit in any crime against myself, strengthens the aggressor and provides the potential of harming my fellow man.

  8. I have the responsibility to question authority. Does an authority conduct themselves in a responsible manner? Do their claims of authority stem from actual property rights, or do they stem from fraud or force to acquire your compliance for their own gain? To leave these questions unanswered, or worse, unquestioned, is to allow one's mind to degenerate into a state of Stockholm syndrome.

  9. I have the responsibility to speak out against injustice and to support others that do as well. In order to live in a free and prosperous society, justice must be served.

  10. I have the responsibility to continuously exercise my liberties, for they are precariously positioned to be lost if I am not practiced in defending them. I have the responsibility to continuously work to assert my retention of lost liberties, for the longer I wait and do nothing, the more unrecoverable they become.

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