By Scarlett Birge, student news writer, Office of University Communications
CAMPBELLSILLE, Ky. – “There seems to be, largely, an absence of the idea of responsibility or obligation that comes with our rights,” Dr. Shawn Williams, associate and lead professor of political science and director of the Kentucky Heartland Institute on Public Policy, said during Campbellsville University’s virtual Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) lecture “On Ethical Citizenship: The Right to Responsibility” on Feb. 16.
Williams spoke about the need to understand the difference between moral and ethical responsibilities, especially in political contexts. He said ethical responsibilities depend on relationships between people while moral obligations are individual decisions.
He said we are connected by being participants within a community, which ultimately means we have certain obligations to each other through citizenship.
“We have this shared responsibility,” he said. “We share common ownership in our country.”
Williams said because we have shared ownership of our country, we have legal and ethical obligations to protect the value and equity of properties.
“You have the responsibility to participate in informed decision making,” he said.
However, Williams said accountability is hard work and takes a lot of effort in order to maintain. It takes a lot of work to be informed and be willing to participate, but that is something we should be responsible for and hold each other accountable for because it is our obligation as citizens he said.
“Citizenship depends on the principle that citizens should have the same amount of control,” Williams said. “It depends on the expansion of equality.”
Williams said we lessen the value of democracy by giving our autonomy over to others and allowing others to be responsible for our accountability in decision making because the value in democracy comes from enhancing equality.
“It is part of our duty to be accountable for our responsibilities to our country by making ethical decisions,” he said.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 13,500 students offering over 100 programs of study including Ph.D., master, baccalaureate, associate, pre-professional and certification programs. The website for complete information is www.campbellsville.edu.