Social Responsibility:

Socially Responsible Groups at Work

I have always considered myself socially responsible as well as individually responsible, but I hold views regarding responsibility that many might disagree with. While I focus on identifying groups that I feel exemplify the concept of social responsibility, I will also identify traits of each group that allow these groups to align with my view of social responsibility.

On the global stage, many people feel that it is the responsibility of our government to represent us in matters of philanthropy (citation needed). I disagree. I feel that it is our personal responsibility as individuals to take on charitable roles. There are organizations that provide direction and goals of charitable contributions, which allows simplification in giving. One of these groups, and the first group I wish to discuss, is the American National Red Cross ( As stated in their corporate documents:

The purposes of the corporation are … to provide volunteer aid in time of war to the sick and wounded … to act in matters of voluntary relief … as a medium of communication between the people of the United States and the armed forces … and in mitigating the suffering caused by [peacetime disaster], and to devise and carry out measures for preventing those calamities. (Congressional Charter of The American National Red Cross, 2007, p. 2)

The American National Red Cross provides means for individuals to be charitable whether in service (as an employee) or financially (as a donation contributor). The Red Cross has created such an infrastructure to support their operations that no individual could ever outperform them logistically.

Focusing on the service aspect of giving, the second group I will discuss is Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF; Created in 1971 by doctors and journalists in France, MSF has provided a high level of allopathic and osteopathic care to destitute, war-torn, and disaster regions of the world. MSF was the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize in 1999 for their work in almost 60 countries around the world. By providing a high level of medical care to areas of the world that have little to no availability of medicine, MSF works extrinsically to improve the health of the people. I feel that a more intrinsic approach would work better to reduce health disparities in these areas. For example, if MSF added an educational aspect of the aid that they deliver, they would allow the people to develop a more comprehensive medical education system and eventually care for themselves. Enterprising individuals within each society, however, could do this more effectively themselves as many other civilizations have done in the past.

Finally, I will present the group that I feel empowers my society the most by advocating freedom and Constitutional values: the Cato Institute (

The mission of the Cato Institute is to increase the understanding of public policies based on the principles of limited government, free markets, individual liberty, and peace. The Institute will use the most effective means to originate, advocate, promote, and disseminate applicable policy proposals that create free, open, and civil societies in the United States and throughout the world. (About Cato, n.d., para. 1)

The Cato Institute is heavily engaged in preserving the American way of life and disavows any policy that is detrimental to the United States. Further, the Cato Institute presents libertarian ideas throughout the world, promoting peace, liberty, and a free society. Though some influential individuals might be able to promote the same ideas, the Cato Institute is able to rely on the expertise of a number of people in order to provide the most pointed policy reviews and recommendations.

Some of these groups serve ideologies that are at odds with my beliefs, but the work that they do is generous and honest. My only caution to these groups is that while they are providing services to people who, for whatever reason, cannot do for themselves, they should also concentrate on providing education and training so that the people may be able to serve themselves appropriately in the future. Self-reliance is lacking commodity around the globe.


About Cato. (n.d.). Cato Institute. Retrieved from

Congressional Charter of The American National Red Cross. 36 U.S.C. §§300101-300113 recodified 2007. (2007, May).

Occupational Social Responsibility

According to Barendsen (2007), my profession is a caring one. I am a paramedic and I serve my community. I am also a firefighter who serves his community without compensation. It could be said that I blur the lines between my professional and personal life, but I enjoy great satisfaction doing so. I am by nature a very socially responsible person, but I extoll the virtues of taking personal responsibility. As a paramedic, I have a mantra: we combat stupidity.

As Barendsen (2007) points out, “workers in caring professions typically describe themselves as filling in or taking over a responsibility that others have abandoned” (p. 173). Everyone at some point in their lives makes stupid decisions. This is part of human learning, but some of these mistakes can unfortunately be lethal. This is where I feel that I make a difference in the lives of others. Driving too fast, smoking, eating too many fatty foods, or incidences of drunken abilities (in Texas, we had a saying that no good can from the statement: hey, hold my beer; watch this!). We all make these mistakes, thus we are all prone to stupidity from time to time. I enjoy the fact that many times I can help to allow others to learn from these mis-steps and reduce the lethality of their decision matrix.

There are times, however, that I have to get away from my occupation for my own sanity. I enjoy a number of hobbies and friends with varying interests that I can rely on to take my mind off of the worries of work. Also, attending school gives me added balance in the personal development side of life. Though attaining my degree will certainly better my professional outlook, I am seeking a degree solely for personal achievement. The prevalence of burnout in my profession is extremely high (Felton, 1998; Neale, 1991), so I make great efforts to balance and separate my personal life from my professional life. Admittedly, this is difficult at times because I am almost always on call.


Barendsen, L. (2007). Service at work. In H. Gardner (Ed.), Responsibility at work: How leading professionals act (or don’t act) responsibly (pp. 172-195). San Fancisco, CA: Josse-Bass.

Felton, J. S. (1998) Burnout as a clinical entity — its importance in health care workers. Occupational Medicine, 48(4), 237-250. doi:10.1093/occmed/48.4.237

Neale, A. V. (1991). Work stress in emergency medical technicians. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 33(9), 991-997.

Social Justice vs. Social Responsibility

Recently, I find myself reacting the most to the progressive social justice movement. Social justice, “often employed by the political left to describe a society with a greater degree of economic egalitarianism, which may be achieved through progressive taxation, income redistribution, or property redistribution” (Social justice, n.d., para. 2), is a political push towards socialism. I do not view this movement as socially responsible, and I will explain why.

I was a high school student during the Clinton presidency, and when he announced a national rebate based on the federal surplus of tax dollars. Though I believe the economic boon was due to comprehensive reforms under President Reagan, I will give President Clinton credit for maintaining it as long as he did. It was at this point that I decided that I needed to understand politics and economics in a way that would allow me to make more responsible choices as a voter. Since then, I have watched as Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama have squandered our money for their supporting political allies, forsaking the people of the United States.

I had considered myself a Democrat until I took the time to understand the simplistic nature of economics. Obviously disagreeing with left-wing politics, I analyzed the right and found much more of the same waste, fraud, deceit, and callousness in the Republican party. I found that I had to understand my own values before I could vote again. My values are much more in line with the libertarian philosophy that once made this country great. Libertarianism is about freedom, freedom to make choices, freedom to succeed, and most importantly, freedom to fail. For failure is the greatest teacher and motivator.

The United States is heading for a disastrous economic climate where millions of people who rely on government subsidy will find themselves without benefit. Government-subsidized social programs, such as welfare, Medicare, et al., are meant to be stop-gap measures designed to temporarily fix problems to extend the time available to find more permanent solutions. For welfare, short-term use precludes this necessity, but abuse assures the programs demise.

The greater social responsibility is understanding that as a member of our great society, and in order to help many, we need to support the survival of our society. This means that we, the individuals, need to be self-sufficient. This means that we, the communities, need to be self-sufficient. This means that we, the states, need to be self-sufficient. This means that the next larger government is there to help the next lower government recover from the unforseeable. As individuals, we need to rely on ourselves, our families, our neighbors, and our community before asking for a hand-out from the state, and we should never have to ask for hand-outs from the federal government.

This post may seem like political ideologue drivel, but I assure the reader that it is not. Some, like the author of our class text, would have you wave a sign for the sake of political or environmental activity (Loeb, 2010, p. 10), but I argue that if we all minded our own homes with such conviction, then no one would dare stand up to advocate diminishing us as people. So long as an action benefits society, it is socially responsible. And, I am socially responsible.


Loeb, P. R. (2010). Soul of a citizen (2nd ed.). New York, NY: St. Martin’s Griffin.

Social justice. (n.d.). In Webster’s online dictionary. Retrieved from

Defining Social Responsibility

Good and bad (or, evil) is as abstract an idea as happiness and sorrow or love and hate. Philosophers have created quite a name for themselves while devoting time to understanding the logic behind these abstract emotions. They have certainly tried even when there is no logic to speak of. Aristotle (350 B.C.E./1908) had gone to great lengths to explain the meaning and purpose of good. Unfortunately, this act of explanation seems more to have been an attempt to conceptualize ideas based on limited knowledge. After all, if we think something is good, then we thought it; therefore, it is a product of the mind and should be further thought about, or so philosophers would think. There is certainly a logical fallacy to many of Aristotle’s correlations. Aristotle describes the nature of man, “Now the mass of mankind are evidently quite slavish in their tastes, preferring a life suitable to beasts…” (Aristotle, 350 B.C.E./1908, p. 8). He continues, then, to juxtapose lower man with his sense of men of high regard, “…people of superior refinement … identify happiness with honour…” (Aristotle, 350 B.C.E./1908, p. 8). Although he continues to acknowledge the “superficial” (Aristotle, 350 B.C.E./1908, p. 8) quality of this comparison, it seems obvious that Aristotle is judging values based on an already prescribed value system. These fallacies, however, can be forgiven based on the underdeveloped states of these notions of value and virtue. Aristotle appears to have brought the abstract concept of good to light and available for many to contemplate. This, I believe, is good.

As Aristotle (350 B.C.E./1908) continues in his progression and digression of thoughts on virtues, he does seem to uncover a worthwhile virtue that is worthy in and of itself: happiness. Speaking in particular to Aristotle’s golden rule, or “a disposition to choose the mean” (Aristotle, 350 B.C.E./1908, p. 38), by maintaining a life devoid of excess and deficiency, one lives a virtuous life and strives towards attaining happiness. Aristotle also posits that, because of the nature of the mean between excess and deficiency, there can be no excess or deficiency of the mean.

As a health care provider, I see the effects of living a vicious life. Just a few hours ago, I responded to a woman suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). She probably acquired this disease from years of smoking tobacco. As a smoker, I know from seeing these patients how deadly and devastating smoking tobacco products can be; however, I still smoke. I do value the education that has been circulating to help smokers to quit (American Heart Association, n.d.; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d.). As the mantra goes, knowledge is power. As a libertarian, however, I do not appreciate government restricting my right to smoke in certain private establishments based only on the risk to myself and others that might choose to frequent such establishments (An Act Concerning Secondhand Smoke in Work Places, 2003). I also do not appreciate the extreme taxes that I have to pay, though I do understand the impact on the health care system and the necessity of covering the associated costs of treating patients with COPD, though health care costs would actually increase by 4 to 7% if every person in our society quit (Barendregt, Bonneux, & van der Maas, 1997). Having mentioned that, I would probably support any referendum that made tobacco illegal.

Social responsibility, by definition, means to act within the values of society. As a free society, this concept places burdens on social change. It would be irresponsible of us to change our society without considering the ramifications. What will this change mean for us? What will this change mean for our children? Our grandchildren? To me, social responsibility requires social change by education and example, not imparting change by force. To me, this is responsible social change. Responsible social change will provide a concrete vision for attainment instead of some abstract conceptual utopia that never seems attainable, anyway.


American Heart Association. (n.d.). Cigarette smoking and cardiovascular disease. Retrieved from

An Act Concerning Secondhand Smoke in Work Places. 2003 CT Public Acts 03-45. 23 May 2003.

Aristotle. (1908). Nichomachean ethics (W. D. Ross, Trans.). (Original work published in 350 B.C.E.). Retrieved from

Barendregt, J. J., Bonneux, L., & van der Maas, P.J. (1997). The health care costs of smoking. New England Journal of Medicine, 337, 1052-1057. doi:10.1056/NEJM199710093371506

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Smoking & tobacco use. Retrieved from