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Balancing Rights with Responsibilities

Task 1. Answer the questions.

  1. What is the difference between having a right and being responsible? What is a right? What is a responsibility?
  2. Do laws imply responsibility? Give examples.
  3. What does “being right” mean? Is it the same as “having a right”? Give examples.


Task 2. Read the text then explain the words in bold and suggest synonyms for the highlighted words.


Balancing Rights with Responsibilities

The emphasis on rights in the United States, for example, has led some people to criticize the country for being too concerned with rights, while neglecting responsibilities. Some say that "with every right there comes a responsibility" and urge people to act more responsibly toward one another, their families, and their communities.

While individual rights are important, they must be matched by social responsibilities, these critics say. For example, if people wish to be tried by juries of their peers, they must be willing to serve on such juries. If they want to be governed by elected officials who respond to their values and needs, they must not only vote but also get involved in other ways: attend election forums, work for candidates, and run for positions on school boards, city councils, and community associations. Many laws also require people to act responsibly. For example, parents must provide their children with adequate food, shelter, and clothing; drivers must obey traffic laws; and all workers must pay taxes.

Critics of the emphasis on rights also point out that "just because you have a legal right to do (or not to do) something does not mean it is the right thing to do." For example, the First Amendment protects freedom of speech and sometimes gives people the right to say hateful and abusive things to others. However, it does not make such speech morally right.

Others emphasize the pride that people take because rights have been extended to women, minorities, and persons with disabilities, all of whom had been previously excluded from full participation in society. Striking the correct balance between rights and responsibilities can be difficult.

Task 3. Find English equivalents in the text:


Task 5. Write (present) the main idea of the text using the highlighted words.

Case Study

The Case of…

Date: 2015-02-28; view: 694

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