Some Thoughts on Responsibility & Liberty

Responsibility grows out of actions, even more than out of choices. Even inaction makes one responsible for the consequences.

Community grows out of shared experiences, especially those interpreted and understood – at least on an emotional level – in the same way by all members of the community. This is why ritual and formality is so important – it gives these essential elements to a community.

Ownership means that you can do what you want with what you own. On the other hand, it means you are responsible for the outcome of what is done. The libertarian individualists would say that you are only responsible to yourself, unless your actions inititate violence upon someone else – but they include the implied threat of eventual violence as a major evil in their assesment of government.

I would suggest that while you live in a community there is very little you can do with your property that is unlikely to harm someone else in the short-term or long-term. Thus, you are responsible to the community for your use of your belongings.

Many others have pointed out that none of us take anything with us when we die; so, we are using it while here temporarily and most things should be treated well in order for them to be used by someone else when we are gone. In other words, even “your” possessions are only yours for a time. Destroying them needlessly harms other people who would have used them after you.

Liberty is a gift from the community. It is the people around you letting you use some of the resources that exist here in the hopes that you will improve lives with them. You are responsible to the community for what you do with your liberty.


About Tim Gatewood

55+, male, widowed. Mobile Notary Public and Signing Agent, Freelance Writer, and Ordained Minister. Willing servant to cats. Science fiction and fantasy fan, avid reader, Founder of the Darrell Awards. Author of _Getting Started As A Notary Signing Agent_ (available from Please be kind to one another.
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