Rights & Responsibilities
March 6, 2006

Amid a stack of popular mis-conceptions espoused by our Western society is this rampant idea that freedom equals a person's ability to do whatever it is that pleases them at any given moment. "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" seem to be muddled figments of five men's imagination. While unalienable the rights may be, clear and concise, they are not. What's most interesting to me however, it that the discussion of "rights" is almost never coupled with an equal analysis of "responsibilities." No "right," whether perceived or reality, exists without a corresponding responsibility.

The phrase "personal responsibility" has become politically charged over the last decade or so, being inappropriately branded as "right-leaning" propaganda. Regardless of political affiliation, background, or religious denomination, at the very least and in the very end, we are all accountable for our lives. Yet instead of trumpeting this doctrine that might actually set people free, we continue to fan the flame of a culture that encourages extended periods of youthfulness, reckless abandonment, and fabricated euphoria. A culture of temporary consciousness is like a dog that returns to its vomit. Just six months post-Katrina and Bourbon Street was already back to bumpin' Mardi gras style. America's entitlement and double-mindedness is thick in the air and it's starting to become pungent.

We're going to entitle ourselves all the way to destruction.

It's not enough that up until recently nearly every other state in America allowed most forms abortion to be performed. Since the South Dakota state legislature passed a bill outlawing abortion in all circumstances, every money-hungry pro-choice group from the four corners of the universe has come out of the woodworks to fight it because heaven forbid that in just one state, no unborn children will feel the wrath of the purpose-destroying vacuum.

Even more telling of stronghold-brand bias were the news headlines which at a glance read,

"Abortion as a crime: a nightmare reborn"
"Is Roe vs. Wade Doomed?"
"Is South Dakota Abortion Bill the New Gay Marriage Amendment?"
"An Act of Social Cruelty: South Dakota bars abortions"
The blood of the unborn cries out from the ground and I promise, their story of victimhood is far more convincing than NARAL's.

Most pro-choice groups have attempted to shade their ill motives by focusing their arguments on exceptions and not rules. The average abortions performed in America aren't a fix for rape or incest. Instead, the majority of abortions have become the solution to the chain of compromising and reckless decisions of both men and women that ultimately reaped an undesired and unloved consequence.

Collectively, Americans have gotten their respective undergarments in a bunch about this issue of "rights" minus responsibilities. For the most part, I gather much of America has been bullied into forming an opinion about things by opportunists with their own hidden agendas

"So how do you feel about same-sex marriage and the rights of American citizens being threatened simply because of sexual orientation?"
They ask.
"Quick. Make a decision. Don't think--just feel. Remember what you see on television. The homosexual lifestyle represents a big percentage of Americans. Your rights could be next."
Says the lie. More and more evidence is mounting that this manipulative whining isn't really about rights in the least. Pull the sheets off this game and you find nothing more than human beings resisting the notion of boundaries and the presence of anyone who wishes to establish them. The more mature I get, the more I find this passage to be so true.

In stealth, Mel Gibson-like authority, Domino's Pizza founder, Tom Monaghan is under fire for his plans to build a "religiously" based community in Florida. Monaghan, a devout Catholic, is putting up $400 million of his own capital to develop what will be called "Ave Maria," a small town built around the Roman Catholic Ave Maria University. Monaghan owns all the land and has determined the community of 11,000 homes will embody conservative family values. Abortions and pornography will be banned in the new town and cable access will be limited. Maybe just once those wishing to have a basic paid-movie channel won't have to flip to the station only to see 11:30pm showings of Emmanuelle whose very presence is defended as "soft porn." Um, what's the difference? Newsweek reports on the new city:

Ave Maria is the culmination of a lifetime devoted to spreading his own strict interpretation of Catholicism. Though he says nonbelievers are welcome, Monaghan clearly wants the community to embody his conservative values. He controls all the commercial real estate in town (along with his developing partner, Barron Collier Cos.) and is asking pharmacies not to carry contraceptives.
Imagine the nerve! Owning property and being particular about what takes place on that property? How dare he! Clearly Monaghan's concept has the "Rights without responsibilities" chorale (also known as civil rights activist perpetrators) seeing red.

Even more hilarious are the claims that Monaghan is trying to "franchise" his religious views. While I hardly think that is what Monaghan is doing, what if he were? And? So? Are we going to hold CEOs, politicians and city planners--whose salary WE PAY--to the same standard? A person could write an 800 page dissertation on the MTV franchise which daily spreads its poison to the masses, global villages, shantytowns, and even as we speak.

The list, it goes on. This story isn't new.

So much attention has been paid to our right to do everything, that the responsibility to steward that gift has been pushed under a rug. I think our interpretation of the Declaration of Independence needs some serious re-visiting.

Posted by Ambra at March 6, 2006 7:32 PM in Abortion ,Culture
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I knew it would be worth the wait. Welcome back. Nice to see you came out swinging.

So much attention has been paid to our right to do everything, that the responsibility to steward that gift has been pushed under a rug. I think our interpretation of the Declaration of Independence needs some serious re-visiting.

Yes, but there is no constitutional provision for stewardship of our rights.

The constitution puts limits on the federal government's control of our individual rights. The states are supposed to regulate the rest.

I don't think the interpretation needs revisiting. Proper manners and behavior, sure.

excellent post ambra! you said it so well...thank you.

well said
worth the wait

AMAZING. I don't know what else to say.


I don't know why, but the topic of this post brings me to thinking about another side of 'responsibility'. It takes me waaaay (ok not waaaay but maybe waay) back to the early 90's, as a young boy growing up in the Baptist church. I was just young enough to still have the freedom to fall asleep on mom's lap during service or listen eavesdrop on the gossip between the old folks without being moved out of my range of hearing.

I did much more of the former as a young'n-mainly due to how confused I became when doing the latter.

I vividly remember how the older ladies would prattle throughout the time during service or at the sunday school secretary's office about the younger girls and how they were dressed. I always wondered why I never saw Sister So-and-so, Mother so-and-so or even Big mama so-and-so actually give the great advice about how 'Miss So-and-So was dressed like a floozy with that tight-fitting, short-cut blouse today' to Miss So-and-So. It was my idea that if Miss So-and-so was dressed improperly, or foolishly, she should be made aware of it!

To me, this responsibility is actually born of account-ability: On account of your ability, you have responsibility to perform that which you are enabled to do. The older women had an understanding of the younger woman's condition, but their understanding was in vain if proper action did not precede it.

It seems to me that we are in an age where anointing, gifting, or position takes precedence to ability. But those things are given and taken away in the blink of an eye in an uncertain future. Those who are able should move on their opportunity in the here and now to take responsibility for everything.

..Rant off..

Interesting post, Ambra! Thank you!

I'm not sure Monaghan is the poster-boy for the exercise of rights and responsibilities. Using property rights to create an exclusive, homogenous community has a scary history. Whites used such rationales to prevent, either through contractual or less formal means, blacks, jews, and other minorities from living in certain neighborhoods. Monaghan's project to create a Catholic and therefore, by definition, homogenous religious community is not a clearly "responsible" use of a property right.

Aw man, you missed your chance!
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