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Freedom and Responsibility

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By Janice S. Ellis, Ph.D., Kansas City, MO –

Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand and irresponsibility and recklessness can make for disastrous situations with injurious, if not deadly outcomes. There is no greater place on earth compared to the United States of America when it comes to exercising individual freedom. But when, in the act of exercising our individual autonomy, does it become recklessness? With freedom there is first responsibility.

It goes beyond not shouting “Fire” in a crowded theatre when there isn’t one.

During the month of July, each year we monitor the autonomy of this country’s birth the astonishing individual rights, and it is endowment to each of us as citizens. But there are two significant scenarios unfolding this month that ought to give great pause to us.

While quite dissimilar in the circumstances surrounding them, they are quite similar in their own far reaching consequences as it pertains to exercising individual liberties.

Freedom and Responsibility

Freedom and Responsibility
Photo Credit: ogichobanov

Could the whole scenario have already been handled and the terrible effect averted had reasoned judgment been in exercising an individual autonomy present?

Freedom and Responsibility

The broader implication is if everyone who’s carrying a hidden weapon decides to stand their ground in a scenario that is threatening, imagined or real, what’s the legitimate expansion of reasoning? When does independence without motive and obligation become recklessness?

Afterward you might have the instance of Edward Snowden who had access to some to protect us. What does he do?

What about rights of America as a nation and the long-term security to shield itself? And if Snowden actually wanted to protect rights and the liberty of fellow Americans, why did he use American means to take action and not stay on American soil? Could it be considered reckless behaviour when exercising individual rights without responsibility?

During this month, when we celebrate the arrival of what is still the greatest country on earth, it is worth giving considerable thought to the question of: How can we shield autonomy not only for people but for the general well-being, security and best interests of our state?

The Trayvon Martin – George Zimmerman calamity and the Edward Snowden national security escape represent an alternate side of the exact same coin: Independence and the obligation to use motive and duty in exercising it. Did either George Zimmerman or Edward Snowden do that?

These incidences both require our serious consideration and redress long after they occupy the headlines of the Internet, airways and the newspapers of the country’s, television. They get to the center of who we are and what this great country is about. There’s too much at stake to not do so.

Feature Photo Credit: Raw pixel

Edited and Reprinted with Permission of

Freedom and Responsibility

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Janice Ellis
Janice Ellis
Janice S. Ellis, PhD, is an award-winning author. Her book, From Liberty to Magnolia: In Search of the American Dream is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other major book sellers. She has written a column for newspapers, radio, and now online, where she analyzes educational, political, social and economic issues across race, ethnicity, age and socio-economic status. You can see her writings on this website.


  1. Maury Cheskes says:

    Good points listed in this article. It’s always important to be patriotic, but there are definitely moments where we have to step back and address how we can be safer as a nation. Being accountable, is definitely important to secure our freedom.

  2. David Mureithi says:

    Very true. I do agree that, when you give freedom, make sure you giving it to responsible people. This is where the problem comes in.

  3. Kathy says:

    I agreed. Sometimes, people just want freedom, but not responsible for their behavior. Thanks for sharing this good article.

  4. Kari A. says:

    Freedom entails a lot of responsibility. Some people tend to abuse their freedom and it ultimately lands them in hot water. When that happens, we end up losing more than we sign up for. Thank you for writing this. I very much enjoyed this article.

  5. Linet Smith says:

    It is impossible to control the actions of all citizens and there will always be an abuse of freedom. It is the responsibility of the security organs of the government to be able to identify and control such individuals.

  6. Pieter N. says:

    Yes, exercise freedom also entails a lot of responsibility. Still, I can’t blame Snowden for what he did. Of course, while thinking of the rights and welfare of all the Americans, he also had to think of his own welfare by seeking asylum in another state.

  7. benny says:

    This is a very valuable post.No body should constitute a nuisance and still expect freedom. To get the maximum freedom then everyone should be responsible for their actions and inactions.

  8. Vikram Parmar says:

    It is a fact that to be responsible and freedom move hand in hand. There can be bad results if there are carelessness.

  9. Allie says:

    Great discussion. I appreciate the thought. I absolutely agree. Sometimes, people abuse their freedom and forget that each action has a consequence.

  10. Enyi says:

    I agree with you before anyone start shouting freedom then responsibility show be in towed why behave irresponsibly and expect to be allowed to wallow in that. We will lose so much with such attitudes.

  11. Scott Summers says:

    As with every right or law it is not absolute. Same thing here. Sure everyone is free to do what they want technically but that freedom comes with a corresponding responsibility. Now, if one uses that freedom to threaten security US or anywhere, then the other party can take action. Let me put it this way, boxers are free to do whatever they want to each other in the pro ring to a degree but, it does not mean that they can just go the streets and punch anyone.

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