Look closer at the definition of ‘duty’ | The Pirkle Report

The word "duty" used to be a very important word.

When our Founding Fathers were founding our country, "duty" was a very important concept. People in those days felt a strong sense of duty to their families and, more importantly, their country. They even felt a duty to God.

But over time, that word seems to have fallen out of favor. Few people today feel a sense of duty.

Duty can be roughly defined as a behavior that you are obligated to exercise. "Obligated" is the operative word here. You are "obligated" to do your duty.

But we live in a free country. We free men and women are not obligated to do anything because we are free. To the extent that you consider yourself as free and unencumbered, you do not feel a sense of duty. To the extent that you feel a sense of duty (obligated behaviors), you are not completely free.

We saw this in the 1960s where the boomers, the luckiest generation in history, did not feel a sense of duty to serve their country and the draft was ended or curtailed.

Today, many people do not feel that they have a duty to vote, attend school board meetings, attend city council meetings and watch the news to keep up with what is going on. They are free, free not to have to or be obligated to do these things — or anything. Absentee fathers prove that many men do not feel a duty to support their children.

But the idea of duty is not dead all over the world. Our enemies, the radical Muslims, feel so strongly about their duty that they are willing to become suicide bombers. They are willing, not only to die in battle, but to take their own lives for what they believe.

The dead bodies on Omaha Beach give testament to the fact that Americans used to think that way. Thousands rushed into gunfire to do their duty. So did the soldiers of the Civil War and, in fact, all previous wars. Although some were drafted, most were volunteers. Yes, many men volunteered to die in battle for what they believed. Today, this seems unbelievable.

Christ did his duty to die by crucifixion when all he had to do was say that he was sorry and recant his statements. By the way, this is not a religious statement, but a statement of historical fact.

Is the idea of duty dead forever, or can it be resurrected? People who try this are often labeled as living in the past with old-fashioned ideas. This is the main charge leveled at conservatives: That they are out of touch with current public thinking. And those making the charge are correct — they are out of touch with current public thinking of the majority.

This is called the fallacy of "appeal to belief." Just because most people think that something is true does not make it true. We know that because we know that the world is not flat, as everyone once thought, or that the sun revolves around the Earth.

So America seems to be in a battle for its very soul — between those old-fashioned people who believe in things like honor and duty, and those who ultimately believe in being free and having fun with no sense of obligation to do anything.

This is the chief difference in thinking between us and our enemies.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 21
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates