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What is social and civic duty?

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A civic duty is a responsibility that one has as part of an organized society, or something bigger than ourselves. For example, paying one's taxes is a civic duty, because this money enables the country to continue to run efficiently. Performing jury duty upon request is a civic duty, as...

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A civic duty is a responsibility that one has as part of an organized society, or something bigger than ourselves. For example, paying one's taxes is a civic duty, because this money enables the country to continue to run efficiently. Performing jury duty upon request is a civic duty, as this enables our justice system to continue to function.

A big part of understanding civic duty is understanding that rights come with responsibilities. Another great example of a civic duty is voting in an election. As a citizen of a country, one has a civic duty to carry out one's democratic responsibilities. Reporting a crime that is committed against you is another civic duty. The victim of a crime may feel apathetic if, for example, their wallet was stolen and they don't feel that it is likely that the police would be able to get it back. Reporting a crime, however, potentially offers protection for other would-be victims. It also enables the accurate reporting of crime statistics.

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The concept can be defined in many different ways.  I tend to think that social/ civic duty rests with the belief that a person has an obligation to the larger, collective element.  The concept of civic duty rests in the notion that there is a need to "give back," to act selflessly in the name of a larger element.  This can take the form of volunteerism, or the idea that one's efforts have to be geared towards the improvement of the general welfare.  I tend to see social or civic duty as a way for individuals to step outside their own senses of self, their own identity, and give back to others in a manner where the larger element benefits and not necessarily the specific individuals. This can be through social or political participation or through economic enhancement.  It is this idea of the "betterment of community" that is critical in the definition of civic or social duty.

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