Let us Be Responsible

The people of a community become less responsible because liberty to service one another is legislated away and often given over to the idolatry for authority. This is not ethical and it is not American.

When George Washington used the phrase “city on a hill,” he did not use that to attract untold numbers of immigrants. He used that to say to the world, “let our liberty be an example to the world.”

In like manner we must say the same thing locally, let us be a light on a hill to show how communities can organize for great liberty.

It is one thing to imprison the body. It is quite another to chain the agency of a people from being their brother’s keeper. Let us say it this way. It is one thing to be told to be responsible. It is quite another to say, “let us be responsible.” The first is compulsory force. The later is elevated liberty.

Responsibility is freedom. When we take responsibility we have more voice, more inclusion, and more everything. Why would anyone want anything less?

Consider a more precise meaning in the idea that liberty adds value. Once value is added through the agency of one’s own efforts, what then of the value that is added? How is it protected? How is it conserved in the community for local needs? Even better, how do we guard that precious value from being taken away by those with warm promises asking to grant them all the responsibility? Warning, it is not responsibility they seek, it is control over the value we generate—our wealth, our resources, and our labor.

We must secure the anchor of liberty (the value we add) to the line of power (conservation of responsibility) in order to keep freedom locally.

Liberty to add value and the conservation of that value locally must work together. This is the very basis of sovereignty and the message of The Genuine Optimist.

It should be noted that in order to give to our communities, there must be a way to conserve in the community what is given. This is called the conservation of responsibility.

When we take full responsibility to fund services from within the community itself, as if the community is a private design but is by definition public, we assume a kind of trust to preserve the good that is added in our own communities. This alone sponsors more incentive and more volunteerism and more service. When we refuse this challenge and allow state, federal and now unipolar world governments to assume responsibility over our lives, we discard the very connection that defines the bonds of culture.

By adding value through any service, public or private, the same service produces value and we must conserve that value in the same community. The minute any community refuses to fund its own services and keep that wealth locally, it gives up responsibility to far distant governing forces.

There is a dark belief held by some that communities will receive more in outside services than they are taxed to support. With this false logic the people give up their representation.

When any community gives up the agency done by its own people, and from the labor of its own hand, the consequences quickly wear away the fabric of culture. Let it be said, there may be tradition in a family but not culture. When community becomes nothing but tradition managed by just a few families, culture suffers.

Therefore, let us be responsible. Let’s us get back our culture. For without the cultural strength to add value and have it be conserved in the community that created that value, the less independent the community becomes. Therefore, let us be responsible. If not we are doomed to suffer the tyranny that is to come. See a working model at www.localcommonwealth.com.

Keith R Kelsch, The Genuine Optimist



  • Brandon Host

    Responsibility is something that a lot of people and organizations struggle with. I agree, less responsibility equals less freedom and liberty. With more responsibility that we put on ourselves, the more strength and value our culture has. But also, we have consequences that come with our responsibilities. This is why having responsibility relates to having freedom and liberty. Based on the decisions that we make, we can have benefits or consequences depending on the choices that we make while having various responsibilities.

  • kara stoddard

    Ah, responsibility. In my opinion, the most controversial and non-claimed elements in today’s society. I think that if more people claimed responsibility, especially in our political system, we would have a lot more structure in our government. Does anyone else agree with me? I think that the way things are structured, we have conditioned our youth to rely on other people rather than claiming responsibility. For example, environmental issues. We want clean air, but aren’t willing to give up our cars. We believe it’s the government’s responsibility to come up with something magic to make the air cleaner, not ours.

  • Abby Wynn

    The idea that strikes me the most in this entry is that it is easy to take responsibility when we have to fund it ourselves however when we take things for granted and are given it is easy to let it be used and left for an uncultured mess. I believe this is the very strategy many parents use when teaching their children fundamentals of responsibility. When you work for something and get it with your own means, you take a certain pride in it and take good care of it. However when we are constantly being given we grow to expect to be taken care of and gain a sense of entitlement. Remember things in our local community are not simply given but we fund them! We can either let our self-funded resources go to waste or we can help them prosper!

  • Katie Griffeth

    I think there is a very good point made here. I agree with the fact that we all need to make ourselves more responsible. I know for myself that often times I get so busy and think I can’t take anything else on, so I let opportunities to make more of a difference pass me by. This article has opened my eyes to the fact that if I continue pass the responsibility on to someone else, I am eventually giving up my freedom. I think sometimes freedom is hard for people to handle. As you have mentioned before with reference to this class, we are so used to and content with someone else telling us what to do, when given freedom we often fail at completing the tasks that need to be done. I see the importance in teaching myself and others how to take charge of the responsibilities we have and use that power to gain more freedoms.

  • Rod Warr

    Its always interesting that people seem to want less responsibility to somehow find more freedom when the opposite is true. As we step up to the task of our responsibilities our capacity is increased and we are able to do so much more. We find ways to organize and make things more manageable and our freedom continues to grow. As individuals try to take responsibility off of their plate, it is passed to the government and expected they take care of things. The issue that arises is an increase of power to those who now have the responsibility and a greater debt/bondage of those looking to find more freedom. As we handle our own responsibilities and work to help each other out back and forth, we lift each other up and find greater freedom as a system, without loosing our freedoms.

    • How do people at a community level take more responsibility?

  • Alexa Coulter

    Since this class is about ethics, when a community takes from bigger government (federal) does that mean the smaller communities are less ethical? Another question proposed is that when a community finds a way to beat big brother at its own game and generate enough money to be more self-sufficient instead of self-reliant, does ethics come into play about how a community regained its independence? Since Nevada voted yes on question 2, the proposed recreational marijuana, it is expected to generate 100 million in taxes that will go back to the public schools and other state programs. Is this ethical? Many might say no, many might say yes. Should ethics be weighed when trying to break away from the tyranny that has made us lose our community responsibility?

  • Sarah Nilsson

    When I used to work for the Small Business Development Center here in St. George you could see how many out of town company’s were succeeding. Where they would set up shop and bring in the money and the money would go to someone not even in Utah, but to the big corporations. The first company I think of that has really succeeded is Even Steven’s every sandwich they make one is then donated to a local non-profit like the Dove Center, The Learning Center for Families, Utah Food Bank or Switch point. What also intrigue me was the different places they got their product from LOCALLY:River Rock Roasting Co, Uintah Brewing Co, Pepperlane Jelly, Cravings Gourmet Bakery, Moab Brewery, Epic Brewery and Beehive Cheese. That is the perfect example of helping the community with a good business plan.

  • Carol Erekson

    I agree that giving away power to a top down entity thrusts it from the originators thereby enriching, not producers, but thieves.
    Power produced through principles, goals and education vs protest from willy nilly lackluster committment and weakness from depending on idols or groupthink for validation of existence robs essentials of individuation.

  • Kaitlyn A.

    Responsibility has great and powerful meaning. I know in my life, it has been a word I don’t take lightly. I agree it is different when one tells you to be responsible and when you tell yourself to be responsible. When one tells himself or herself to be responsible, it is an act of liberty and freedom. If one tells us to be responsible, we often put a negative essence to it. When we take on new things, it seems to bring out more power in the use of our voice. Why we choose not to be responsible? I feel we are scared of new things and what people may think of us. We shouldn’t feel that way though! There are so many great things in the world that a lot of us take for granted. I work with teens going through depression and it’s amazing to see the people they become after taking believing in who they are. They take on new responsibilities and use their voice more than they did in the past.

  • Joshua Barney

    One of the biggest problems I see with people is that they don’t want to have responsibility. It’s almost like people think freedom is a lack of responsibility, but all of the associated rewards of that responsibility. Many people want the outcomes, but don’t want to put in the work. In reality, the individuals who will put in the work and have more responsibilities are the individuals who will feel and experience the most freedom. The hard thing is that you can’t really force people to take responsibility. You can persuade others to do the right thing, but it is ultimately their own choice whether they will take responsibility and experience freedom or not.

  • keith

    I was a booster for a high school wrestling team. One year we raised a lot of money hosting a big tournament. Our mistake was depositing the money in the school account, where it was drained and spent by the football team. The next year we opened our own bank account and deposited the money there. The more we can protect and conserve energy in the hands that create that energy, the more we can preserve volunteerism and free will. Sadly, this is not an ethical foundation realized by most in power. The times must change.

  • Karissa Young

    Throughout this entire post I kept thinking about how nice this would/will be if we can make it a reality. My family opened a small business a few years ago and watching it build and grow, it was a struggle! It would have been so much better to have the support of the community from the beginning. Especially since it is an institution that is giving back to the community. I am a part of the company at he business and love watching the growth. I have gained a stronger desire to help small businesses in our own communities just through these experiences. I admire that the Common Wealth is striving to do something about these struggles to ease the burdens. With all the regulations and stipulations, it is almost impossible to build a business in communities. I come from a small town where there was more of a sense of wanting to support the businesses in the community and it created such a great feeling of unity in the town. It is such a difference in other communities I have lived in since then. I would love to be able to have more of that feeling of unity and helping each other succeed by supporting each others’ ideas and businesses that are giving back to society.

  • Mikaylee Mohr

    Just like with this online class, we are allowed more freedom but that calls for more responsibility. I believe that a lot of people think it is the other persons job and in the end, nothing gets accomplished. Liberty gives us freedom and freedom gives us more responsibility, and with this responsibility we need to take action in our communities and make sure that everyone knows that the life of liberty is available.

  • Mikaylee Mohr

    Just like with our online class there is a lot more freedom involved, which is good but that calls for more responsibility. I believe that a lot of the time people think it is the other persons job and in the end no one has finished it. Liberty gives us freedom and freedom gives us more responsibility, so as a society we should strive to be more responsible and take action with our community.

  • Jon Allred

    The thought of giving up our liberty and control to outside governments or groups is a frightening and all to real prospect. We lose the ability to prosper within our own community and help the people we know and share our lives with when we are controlled by outside sources or people who are bought or controlled we lose the definition of who we are. If we do not identify ourselves as lovers of liberty and freedom. We allow ourselves to be controlled. By outside sources like the media or foreign control. Sometimes the choice to be free will offend. Those that it offends do not understand it.

  • Sydney Wathen

    America is known for the diversity that is supposedly in this country. At the time of the founding fathers, America was in it’s prime of diversity. Ever since that point, I think that the emphasis and the actual amount of diversity that is here has diminished. There is a war that is happening right now between liberty and culture, specifically with Trump and the refugees. There is a disconnect and a view that liberty and culture cannot be seen and used together. Decisions are being made on more of a national scale. But each of the communities are coming together and celebrating different cultures and diversity. I am not stating what my political beliefs are, but I think that if we, as a nation, come together with more responsibility and respect for one another, there will be more value held in our communities.

    • Diversity is free when discussion is not constrained. Too much constraint is what we are facing today. Not very ethical.

  • Richard Empey

    Unfortunately many community’s today rely on the help of the federal government and we lose the culture that makes us who we are. There is a major lack in conservation of responsibility within the community’s, and now many are expecting handouts for doing nothing. Our society is becoming more and more dependent on others rather than pulling together as a community and nation, the threads that hold us together are beginning to split.

  • Tori Abbott

    I found the statement, “Responsibility is freedom. When we take responsibility we have more voice, more inclusion, and more everything.” – I think this is a concept that people often forget. When we are willing to take on personal freedom, we must recognize that it does come with a certain expectation of personal responsibility. The thought that crossed my mind as a comparison is the freedom and responsibility of attaining a drivers license – when you’re sixteen and finally allowed to drive it seems so cool. You’re finally allowed to go where you want, when you want (to a certain extent, of course). However, you are also taking on the responsibility of being a safe driver that would not do anything to risk your life, or the lives of others. Driving is greatly dangerous and comes with a huge price to pay if you do not make responsible decisions. Freedom and responsibility balance each other and work cohesively together to insure that we are making good decisions. I agree with the final statement that we need to recognize this and take back our responsibility. Prior to this post, I had not really related all these different concepts together, but I think the discussion above makes a really great point.

  • Linzi Hansen

    This is probably my favorite post yet! I love this and I totally agree with everything you said. We hear daily that the Federal Government should step in here, or the Federal Government can do it better, etc. We need to maintain control of the decisions made that affect our communities. Who better understands us, knows our needs, and knows the challenges we face than the community itself. I am always amazed when there is someone in need in a community and the people rally together to make sure that they receive the help they need. Not government assistance, but local people coming together to make sure that one of their own is taken care of. When people maintain the agency to do as they please, give as they please, and help as they please then our communities benefit. If we give the power to those outside of our community, we LOSE!