The American experiment in self-governance relies heavily on an engaged and informed citizenry, who understand the philosophical foundations of individual liberty. This is why it is important to read philosophers like Frederic Bastiat, John Stuart Mill, John Locke, Adam Smith, and others, as well as the writings of our Founders. Without historical context, we cannot understand the foundation of liberty.
And without an understanding of the foundation of liberty, we cannot partake in civic engagement. As citizens, we are given rights from our Creator — but with those rights come certain responsibilities. These are civic duties.
Many conservatives believe that the preservation of liberty is rooted in both an understanding of the teachings of our intellectual forefathers and the practical application of these teachings. During the rise of the tea party movement, groups sprung up to educate average Americans on these constitutional principles. One such organization is called the Center for Self Governance. Another group that emphases the importance of one of our founding documents is the Bill of Rights Institute, which provides educational resources to teachers. There are likely dozens of other such organization that emphasize these elements.
Fortunately for these organizations, they have their work cut out for them.
A recent Associated Press-GfK poll reveals a steady decline in the American sense of duty, the foundation of what keeps our constitutional republic strong. ABC News reports: