After some google research, many (1, 2, 3) points of view that suggest that rights come with responsibilities are related (bottom line) to "community" and/or "feelings". So, if you apply rules in school, condominium... although they tend to mirror the "Rights" that you have, they are more about local rules and the responsibilities related to those rules.

So, since I'm not North American but I follow some of those discussions especially in the political context, I tend to favor the short straight answer some people would throw right in the beginning of the discussion: "There is nothing in the Bill saying 'Freedom of speech as long you behave responsibly'".

So, in terms of law, how would that proceed? Is there implicit or explicit ways to relate Responsibilities to Rights?


In the US, rights are independent of "responsibilities". But, responsibilities is a very broad concept: some aspects of responsibility are encoded in law, others are not. You have an absolute legal obligation to not murder or steal, as defined by the law. Some people say you have a social responsibility to put others before your own interest: this may be legally true in certain contexts, especially fiduciary contexts where your broker is supposed to make decisions on your behalf that benefit you (regardless of personal effect on the broker).

Contracts are another source of obligations – you gain a right (access to someone else's property) in exchange for something, which may include standards of behavior. You thus have a legal obligation on SE to not be hurtful in your postings (enforcement is via suspension, in the worst case).

The rights spelled out in the Bill of Rights are about the government – it says what the government may not do, it isn't a source of permission for you to exercise your rights. Generally, the traditional US understanding of "rights" is that they are inherent in people and are not "granted" by the government, so the Bill of Rights is a codification of what that means. Therefore, (morally, intellectually) irresponsible speech is also protected.

  • Nice! I just learned many new things here. Thank you for making those things clear. – vianna77 Apr 1 '20 at 18:28

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