| For public relations purposes, talking about your rights is obsolete. It’s a right-wing authoritarian faux talking point. It’s simply tedious – and often a non sequitur – to say that you’re doing something because it’s your right. Nor does it resonate with anyone who doesn’t already agree with you. Let’s shift the paradigm. Let’s spark some thought by talking about our actions in terms of responsibilities, instead of rights.

The Mercenary Approach
Rights are about me, what I can do and what you can’t. That doesn’t facilitate connecting with other people. The perception is that it’s a justification for greed or just gratuitous insolence. Whether that’s the reality or not, such a stance is counterproductive in the midst of this statist crisis. What’s needed now is an attitude of “What can we do together for mutual benefit?” A mercenary approach got us into this mess. Empathy and solidarity will get us out.

Here’s my own personal Bill of Responsibilities (as opposed to a collective Bill of Rights). What’s in your Bill of Responsibilities?

It’s my responsibility to
1. Ensure that I do no harm to my fellow man.
2. Protect myself and my family from those who may wish to harm us.
3. Honor my word at all times, and make reparations for any failures to do so.
4. Speak out against injustice and support anyone who does the same, so that justice might be served.
5. Live in alignment with my principles, and never compromise them.
6. Resist aggression until or unless I am left with no other choice.
7. Cooperate with my fellow man in mutual support and aid where there is need and I have the ability to help.
8. Protect and exercise my liberties even when their need is not keenly felt, so that they’ll still be available to me when it’s a matter of life and death.
9. Not cooperate with evil, so as to not inadvertently strengthen it and thus indirectly harm my fellow man.
10. Cooperate in the peaceful resolution of all disputes that involve me.

How to Use your Bill of Responsibilities
Let’s say you’re open carrying your pistol and someone asks you why you’re doing that. You could give any number of very good reasons but perhaps one of the most paradigm-changing is to say: “I open carry because I have a responsibility to protect myself and my family from those who may wish to harm us.” That’s easier to comprehend than abstract talk of rights or of tyranny that most are numb to.

Why are you protesting? Handing out anti-war, anti-tax or jury rights pamphlets? You have a responsibility to speak out against injustice. Doesn’t everyone intuitively get – and respect – that?

Why aren’t you paying taxes? You have a responsibility to not cooperate with evil, so as to not inadvertently strengthen it and thus indirectly harm your fellow man. What evil? War. Even if your audience thinks the many current wars are justified, they remember respected precedents for your beliefs.

By George Donnelly