Our New Look
132 of 6,095 quotations related to Responsibility, showing Alexander to Roosevelt
Help with searching
The basic rule of free enterprise: You must give in order to get.
Amiel, Henri Frederic
Our duty is to be useful, not according to our desires but according to our powers.
People everywhere enjoy believing things that they know are not true. It spares them the ordeal of thinking for themselves and taking responsibility for what they know.
1951 - from
Once Around the Sun
An individual step in character training is to put responsibility on the individual.
The state is the great fiction by which everybody tries to live at the expense of everybody else.
Now since man is naturally inclined to avoid pain - and since labor is pain in itself - it follows that men will resort to plunder whenever plunder is easier than work. History shows this quite clearly. And under these conditions, neither religion nor morality can stop it.
Bennett, William J.
[Democratic self-government] demands active participation in, and finally, reasoned judgments on, important civic matters. 'Judgment' is a word that is out of favor these days, but it remains a cornerstone of democratic self-government. It is what enables us to hold ourselves, and our leaders, to high standards. It is how we distinguish between right and wrong, noble and base, honor and dishonor. We cannot ignore that responsibility, or foist it on others. It is the price -- sometimes the exacting price -- of citizenship in a democracy. The most popular arguments made by [President Clinton's] supporters invite us to abandon that participation, those standards, and the practice of making those distinctions.
Oct. 01, 1998 - from
Death of Outrage: Bill Clinton and the Assault on American Ideals
... the character of the state is determined by the virtue of its individual citizens.
1993 - from
The Book of Virtues
Some find it fashionable to ridicule [Alfred Tennyson's
The Charge of the Light Brigage
] as a glorification of war and apean to those who blindly, and stupidly, follow orders. But the fact is that there are times when obedient acts of self-sacrifice and courage merit both admiration and profound gratitude.
1993 - from
The Book of Virtues
... responsibilities are the source of rights.
1993 - from
The Book of Virtues
... the essence of what we know as justice in civil affairs is people living up to their obligations to one another.
1993 - from
The Book of Virtues
... truly great leaders do not disdain small responsibilities.
1993 - from
The Book of Virtues
[Public education's current] subjective approach to teaching 'values' ignores the education system's role to assist parents and the wider community in forming the character of the next generation of citizens. ... current teaching methods which ignore concepts such as morality and character will prove to be detrimental to how young people view civic responsibility and, ultimately, democracy.
Each person designs his own life, freedom gives him the power to carry out his own designs, and power gives the freedom to interfere with the designs of others.
A decent society is not based on rights; it is based on duty....Our duty to one another...To all should be given opportunity; from all, responsibility demanded.
Nov. 09, 1997 - quoted by
The Washington Post
Brandeis, Louis Dembitz
... the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people...
1927 - from
Whitney v. California
274 U.S. 357
Brown, George W.
Those who have responsibilities without rights are slaves, those who have rights without responsibility are parasites.
1952 - from "Canadian Democracy Ö In Action", J.M. Dent and Sons publisher
Buckley, William F.
The gravamen of the liberals' case against America has always had to do with the free-market society's disposition to let people make out on their own. We are preached to, cajoled, and thundered at concerning the care we must take for those who do not learn to read and write, or to refuse drugs, or to resist criminal temptation, or to engage in libertine sex. Is it a special responsibility of conservatives to adopt correlative attitudes toward failures of a certain character?
Nov. 01, 1997 - from a speech delivered to the International Conservative Congress, as quoted in
Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.
The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedients, and by parts ... the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.
Apr. 3, 1777 - from a letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol
Bush, George W.
We must show courage in a time of blessing by confronting our problems instead of passing them on... I ask you to seek a common good beyond your comfort, to defend needed reforms against many attacks, to serve your nation, beginning with your neighbors. I ask you to be citizens. Citizens, not spectators.
Jan. 20, 2001 - from his inaugural address
Churchill, Sir Winston
In finance everything that is agreeable is unsound and everything that is sound is disagreeable.
I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.
May 13, 1940 - from a speech in the British Parliament, three days after becoming Prime Minister
The price of greatness is responsibility.
Clinton, William Jefferson
Undeniably, character does count for our citizens, our communities, and our nation, and this week we celebrate the importance of character in our individual lives ... core ethical values of trustworthiness, fairness, responsibility, caring, respect, and citizenship form the foundation of our democracy, our economy, and our society. Instilling sound character in our children is essential to maintaining the strength of our nation into the 21st century.
Oct. 17, 1997 - from his speech for "National Character Counts Week"
When we got organized as a country and we wrote a fairly radical Constitution with a radical Bill of Rights, giving a radical amount of individual freedom to Americans, it was assumed that the Americans who had that freedom would use it responsibly ... [Now] there's a lot of irresponsibility. And so a lot of people say there's too much freedom. When personal freedom's being abused, you have to move to limit it.
Apr. 19, 1995 - from a speech after the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City
If you ruin your life, you will pay the price of rehabilitating yourself. ... We are not punished for our sins, but by them. Liberty means responsibility.
From a very early age I had imbibed the opinion that it was every man's duty to do all that lay in his power to leave his country as good as he had found it.
Dec. 22, 1832 - from an essay in the
, quoted in
The MacMillan Dictionary of Quotations
We need not concern ourselves much about the rights of property if we will faithfully observe the rights of persons. ... It is not property but the right to hold property ... which our Constitution guarantees. All owners of property are charged with a service. These rights and duties have been revealed, through the conscience of society, to have a divine sanction. The very stability of our society rests upon production and conservation. For individuals or for governments to waste and squander their resources is to deny these rights and disregard these obligations. The result of economic dissipation to a nation is always moral decay.
Mar. 4, 1925 - from his Inaugural Address
The people cannot look to legislation generally for success. Industry, thrift, character, are not conferred by act or resolve. Government cannot relieve from toil. It can provide no substitute for the rewards of service. It can, of course, care for the defective and recognize distinguished merit. The normal must care for themselves. Self-government means self-support.
Jan. 7, 1914 - from a speech delivered to the Massachusetts Senate when he became its president
Curtis, J. Montgomery
I think the public will more and more reject those newspapers which do not have a basic respect for the news and which fill their inside columns with trivia. Many such papers have died or been absorbed. That is the final penalty for failure in fulfilling the responsibility.
1960 - from a speech to the American Press Institute
Is one of today's deepest taboos the idea of moral responsibility and moral accountability? ... It now seems dangerous to suggest that it is not society but more often individuals who must shoulder the burden for their own problems.
Jan. 1995 -
from "Forbidden Thoughts", a discussion published in
by the American Enterprise Institute
Freedom of speech, which is quite unnecessary to most people's individual ambitions for themselves, has nothing to do with selfishness. It is, however, indispensable to the most basic, organic, social responsibility a people can have, which is the responsibility together to decide, in civic response if not in formal elections, what their collective political values really are.
1997 - from his essay "Forked tongues, faked doctrines" published in
Index on Censorship
, March 1997
The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.
Eisenhower, Dwight D.
A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
So nigh is grandeur to our dust, So near to God is man, When Duty whispers low, Thou must, The youth replies, I can.
Work and acquire, and thou hast chained the wheel of Chance.
No man is free who is not a master of himself.
Evjue, William T.
The press, the movies, radio and television bear a large share of the responsibility for the climate of fear . . . which has enveloped our country and which has become such a threat to our freedom.
Finn, Chester E.
... the combined onslaught of multiculturalism, deconstructionism and relativism [on public education] has left curricular havoc in its wake, all but obliterating the civic-culture mission of public education in favor of bilingualism, individual expressionism, revisionist history and separatist literature. The primal basis of societal responsibility for education is the induction of the young into adult culture. But today's ethnically-whipsawed and politically-correct public schools largely eschew the challenge of cultural transmission, assimilation and cohesion. Though that task defines the singular mission of public education, it is precisely this mission that U.S. public schools now strenuously reject.
Sep. 1996 -
from "Can the Schools Be Saved?", originally published by The Fordham Foundation
I think remembrance of the fallen should be primarily for those who knew them or were of their generation. Meanwhile, for children and young people and the generations without personal experience of Canada at war, Remembrance Day should or could recall much more of what Canadians did collectively, and of course, politically, economically and culturally in the wars. ... [It is worth remembering] how much only 11 million Canadians did together in "the good war" and how they emerged from it so much stronger and more diversified in institutions, skills, products, schooling, culture and recreations, with an entwined readiness and confidence to be bolder in the world as a whole. ... And this, I argue, we should focus on remembering on Nov. 11: We did it. We did so much of it well. We kept together. And we can do it again. Not, one prays, in wars, but fortified by the legacy created for us in and following the war of 1939-45.
Nov. 9, 1997 - from "Just how, and what, should we remember?", published by Sun Media
Forbes, Malcom S.
It's more fun to arrive at a conclusion than to justify it.
... what happens to society's ability to organize itself when commercial considerations clash with the concept of journalism as a public service? Bluntly put, can healthy self-government survive on a steady diet of editorial "junk food"? News, at least in theory, set both the political and the public policy agenda. News determines the context within which political events will be perceived, and assigns responsibility to politiccal leaders for resolving, or failing to resolve, policy problems.
Apr. 1999 - from
Up, sluggard, and waste not life; in the grave will be sleeping enough.
Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
1754 - from
Poor Richard's Almanac
By and large, the US experienced an across-the-board increase in the number of taxpayers who donated to charities from the previous year. ... Canada, on the other hand, continued its own worrisome trend in which the proportion of taxpayers donating to charities is continuing to decline.
Dec. 2000 - from "Canadian & American Monetary Generosity"
Once more, the Canadian provinces rank dead last, without exception, in terms of the average dollar value of charitable donations when compared with US states.
Dec. 2000 - from "Canadian & American Monetary Generosity"
One that would have the fruit must climb the tree.
1732 - from
Gnomologia: Adagies and Proverbs
Gairdner, William D.
We think the word democracy has to do only with individual rights, and no longer with our larger responsibilities to the whole people. We seem to believe that individuals have all the rights, and governments have all the duties. The people are simply forgotten. Until we rethink these fundamental propositions, democracy will continue to deceive us.
Jun. 25, 2001 - from
, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Gandhi, Mahatma Mohandas
To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.
In the end more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free.
1788 - from
Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Hale, Edward Everett
I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do.
... increasingly, we now belong to, or are committed to, nothing besides ourselves. Even the family can often turn out to be a relationship of convenience, to be discontinued if it doesn't suit. At work, our loyalty and responsibility are first to ourselves and our future, secondly to our current group or project, and only lastly, and minimally, to the organization. Without commitment to anyone or anything else, however, there is no sense of responsibility for others, and without responsibility there is no need for morality - anything goes, or at least anything that is legal, if it's what you want. To be a citizen seems to mean nothing much more than being a customer, letting others make decisions which you can then take or leave, or take and then complain about. ... It may all be a rational response to a chaotic world, one where the future is there to be invented, not predicted, and certainly not to be controlled; but it makes for a lonely world, one in which the neighborhood is a jungle, the stranger a beast to hide from, and our home a privatized prison.
1997 - from
The Hungry Spirit
You do not become a "dissident" just because you decide one day to take up this most unusual career. You are thrown into it by your personal sense of responsibility, combined with a complex set of external circumstances. You are cast out of the existing structures and placed in a position of conflict with them. It begins as an attempt to do your work well, and ends with being branded an enemy of society.
Liberty not only means that the individual has both the opportunity and the burden of choice; it also means that he must bear the consequences of his actions. ... Liberty and responsibility are inseparable.
1960 - from
The Constitution of Liberty
, University of Chicago Press
Failure can be bought on easy terms; success must be paid for in advance.
No one can drive us crazy unless we give them the keys.
A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.
1882 - from
An Enemy of the People
James, F. Cyril
A free man is as jealous of his responsibilities as he is of his liberties.
John Paul II, Pope
The fundamental error of socialism is anthropological in nature. Socialism considers the individual person simply as an element, a molecule within the social organism, so that the good of the individual is completely subordinated to the functioning of the socio-economic mechanism. Socialism likewise maintains that the good of the individual can be realized without reference to his free choice, to the unique and exclusive responsibility which he exercises in the face of good or evil. Man is reduced to a series of social relationships, and the concept of the person as the autonomous subject of moral decisions disappears.
May 1, 1991 - from
How small, of all that human hearts endure, that part which laws or kings can cause or cure!
quoted by Steve Forbes in "The Moral Basis of a Free Society", his 1997 address to the Heritage Foundation
[Re: $145 billion U.S. settlement against tobacco companies] Even in an era such as ours, in which we've been trying to redistribute risks in society not according to who incurs them but who can best afford to pay, such an attempt to shift responsibility for our own actions to the "deep pockets" of someone else has reached a new height of absurdity.
Jul. 15, 2000 - from "Just what were they smoking?", published in the
Kennedy, John F.
In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility - I welcome it.
I am reminded of the story of the great French Marshal Lyautey, who once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow-growing and would not reach maturity for a hundred years. The Marshal replied, "In that case, there is no time to lose, plant it this afternoon."
Mar. 23, 1962 - from a speech at the University of California - Berkeley
For of those to whom much is given, much is required.
Jan. 9, 1961 - from a speech to the General Court of Massachusetts
All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days... nor in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.
Jan. 20, 1961 - from his Inaugural Address
One has to be aware of danger to defend oneself against it.
1981 - from
A man can wait out a storm if he doesn't exhaust himself first.
1978 - from
Lee, Robert E.
Duty is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less.
You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.
The lesson of the tremendous days thorough which we are passing is that men cannot live upon the achievements of their forefathers, but must themselves renew them.... We cannot escape ... the elementary facts of life - that for a people there is nothing for nothing, that what they have they must themselves make, that what they cherish they must themselves achieve, what they wish to keep they must themselves defend.
Success is not a sometime thing - it is an all-the-time thing. In other words, you donít do what is right once in a while, but all of the time.
Jun. 22, 1970 - from his last public speech
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
In the elder days of Art, Builders wrought with great care, Each minute and useen part; For the Gods see everywhere.
from "The Builders"
Lowell, James Russell
Where faith made whole with deed, Breathes its awakening breath into the lifeless creed, They saw [Truth] plumed and mailed, With sweet, stern face unveiled, And all-repaying eyes look proud on them in death.
1877 - from
Throughout our history, Mr. Prime Minister, our rights have been protected by those people whom we elect, that the people elect to represent them. I can see no reason to transfer that function and responsibility to appointees who, however capable in their own areas, are not involved with the consequences that recognition of rights has on economic resources, on social activities, nor with the need for pragmatic compromises...
Sep. 8, 1980 - from remarks at the Federal-Provincial Conference of First Ministers on the Constitution, Ottawa (from conference papers, vol. 1, pp 476-481)
MacArthur, Gen. Douglas
No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.
We have a Bill of rights. What we need is a Bill of responsibilities.
A fundamentally wrong assumption now governs our society: No one should have to endure difficult circumstances. Every aspect of our human situation has become the responsibility of society at large, and when one has a difficult life, one is instantly transformed into a victim of evil societal forces. Where there is difficulty, there is a victim; where there are victims, there must be compensation. ... Sadly, if we continue to rely on a monetary balm to heal every injustice, healing will eventually cease as we run out of the balm that heals.
Feb. 18, 1999 - from "Cashing In on Victimhood", published in
Magazine, originally published in the
Communitarianism means being aware of the neighbours. This has its good side: concern. It has its bad side: concern. If we are willing to take responsibility for our neighbours when they are or seem to be in need, they will also take responsibility for us when they don't approve of what we are doing. If individualism can turn callous and selfish, then communitarianism can be censorious and bullying. There is no tyranny so nasty for those on the receiving end as the tyranny of the majority.
1996 - from his essay "Is Sixties liberalism finally on the way out?", published in
Responsibility is the price of freedom. So is tolerance.
from the Overview of his book "Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do"
Mencken, Henry Louis
It is not a sign of communal well-being when men turn to their government to execute all their business for them, but rather a sign of decay ... The state, indeed, is but one of the devices that a really healthy community sets up to manage its affairs.
Aug. 27, 1924 - from "The Library" in
The American Mercury
The idea that the sole aim of punishment is to prevent crime is obviously grounded upon the theory that crime can be prevented, which is almost as dubious as the notion that poverty can be prevented.
The disappearance of a sense of responsibility is the most far consequence of submission to authority.
1974 - from
Obedience to Authority
To keep a lamp burning we have to keep putting oil in it.
Freud and Marx ... undermined the whole basis of Western European civilization as no avowedly insurrectionary movement ever has or could, by promoting the notion of determinism, in the one case in morals, in the other in history, thereby relieving individual men and women of all responsibility for their personal and collective behaviour.
from his book
The Green Stick
Human freedom has always had to depend first on the individual's understanding that he is the custodian of his life, no matter who tries to say otherwise.
1997 - from
What It Means To Be A Libertarian
There can be no daily democracy without daily citizenship. If we do not exercise our civil rights, who will? If we do not perform our civic duties, who can? The fiber of a just society in the pursuit of happiness is a thinking, active citizenry. That means you.
National Post, The
The Supreme Court of Canada's unanimous ruling in R. v. Ewanchuk is a classic example of ... ideologically twisted logic. While supplanting the criminal law's historic insistence on individual responsibility with a feminist indictment of an entire sex, the Court refused to admit that it was departing in any way from established legal principle.
Mar. 01, 1999 - from its editorial
... charity is an axiom of conservatism. Charity is one of the great responsibilities of freedom. But, in order for us to be responsible - and therefore free - that responsibility must be personal.
To the extent that responsibility should be shared and merged, in a free society it should be shared and merged on the same basis as political power, which means starting with the individual. Responsibility must proceed from the bottom up - never from the top down...
One of the annoying things about believing in free will and individual responsibility is the difficulty of finding somebody to blame your problems on. And when you do find somebody, it's remarkable how often his picture turns up on your driver's license.
Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.
When government takes responsibility for people, then people no longer take responsibility for themselves.
Quayle, J. Danford
One word sums up probably the responsibility of any vice president, and that one word is 'to be prepared'.
Dec. 06, 1989
Independence is the recognition of the fact that yours is the responsibility of judgment and nothing can help you escape it -- that no substitute can do your thinking, as no pinch-hitter can live your life -- that the vilest form of self-abasement and self-destruction is the subordination of your mind to the mind of another, the acceptance of an authority over your brain, the acceptance of his assertions as facts, his say-so as truth, his edicts as middle-man between your consciousness and your existence.
1957 - from
Reagan, Ronald Wilson
We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.
Government is like a big baby - an alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.
1965 - quoted in the
Saturday Evening Post
Freedom without obligation is anarchy. Freedom without obligation is democracy.
Rockefeller, John Davison
I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty.
Jul. 8, 1941 - from a radio speech
Roosevelt, Franklin D.
Self-help and self-control are the essence of the American tradition.
Jan. 3, 1934 - from his State of the Union address