5 Things About Americans’ Slipping Sense of Duty

Connie Cass, ABC News, December 29, 2014

Americans are a little less likely to ask what they can do for their country these days.

An Associated Press-GfK poll found that the sense of duty has slipped since a similar survey three decades earlier. Civic virtues such as staying informed or serving on a jury don’t seem as important as they once did, especially among the younger generation.

The findings fit with research that’s been worrying many experts who study civic engagement or advocate for teaching more about civics in school.

“I don’t see any recovery,” said Rutgers University Professor Cliff Zukin. “The people who were 40 two decades ago aren’t as engaged as the people who were 60 two decades ago. This generational slippage tends to continue.”


An Associated Press-GfK poll repeated questions asked in 1984 about six civic-minded activities: voting, volunteering, serving on a jury, reporting crime, knowing English and keeping informed about news and public issues.

Of the six, only voting and volunteering were embraced about as strongly as three decades ago, when NORC at the University of Chicago posed those questions to Americans on the General Social Survey, but volunteering doesn’t rank very high on the list for many.

While just 28 percent say volunteering is “a very important obligation” that a citizen owes the country, three-fourths of Americans consider voting central to citizenship.


Despite some sliding, Americans still think U.S. citizenship carries some duties as well as rights.

About 9 out of 10 say that reporting a crime you witness, voting in elections, knowing English and serving on a jury when called are at least “somewhat important” obligations.

And each of those is still rated “very important” by a majority. It’s just that, except in the case of voting, those majorities have slipped by an average of about 13 percentage points.


In every category except volunteering, adults under 30 were less likely than their elders to see any obligation, and also felt less obliged than young people of the past.

In 2014 about a fourth of them said there’s no duty to keep informed, volunteer or speak English.


Americans don’t feel much pressure to keep up with news and public issues anymore.

Only 37 percent think that’s very important, down from a majority, 56 percent, in 1984.

In fact, a fifth say there’s no obligation at all to stay fully informed.



Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • phorning

    “voting, volunteering, serving on a jury, reporting crime, knowing English and keeping informed about news and public issues.”

    This is a pretty low bar for civic engagement. It doesn’t include much in the way of actual community improvement other than a vague category of volunteering.

    • LHathaway

      Liberals have that covered. Students now are told that volunteering will look good, even be necessary, on their resume’s.

      • Speedy Steve

        About that; if it’s volunteering, then why is it necessary? I’m guessing it’s paving the way for work without pay — slavery.

  • IstvanIN

    The more diverse we become the less anyone has a feeling of ownership, pride or caring for the US. The US has become nothing more than lines on a map where people happen to congregate.

    • Frank_DeScushin

      Honestly, my feelings of national pride and duty have plummeted over the years. Why would I have a sense of duty to a Federal Government hell bent on tipping the scales against my people or to people I can’t relate to and who often view me in adversarial terms? My pride and duty these days rest far more with my people than an America that I recognize less with each passing day.

      • john maverick

        exactly,illegals get more representation than we do.

      • 3G4Me

        Well said. I’ve stopped volunteering. No longer donate my time or my money to anything. I will trash my old things before giving them to “charity” (which means to illegals or blacks). I no longer recognize this place I reside as my country; my “neighbors” are certainly not my fellow citizens, and there is nowhere (other than online fora such as this) where my views may be freely expressed and represented.

      • JackKrak

        I feel more of a common kinship with whites from New Zealand than I do with De’Antre or Sh’Landravious even if they live 5 minutes away from me.

        • Ft. Lauderdale, FL, is home to a number of Afrikaners [the white Dutch settlers who colonized S. Africa starting in 1652]. They’re leaving S. Africa due to the violence since the world insisted that South Africa put an end to Apartheid and institute majority black rule.

          These are very nice, hard working people and you really would have no problem getting along with them. I think the US Gov’t discourages their immigration even though they’re really being massacred in South Africa, are true refugees, and have skills to offer. However they’re white so no one is permitted to take them in.

    • dmxinc

      I put this simple comment on the ABC news article and it was removed:

      “One word – multiculturalism.”

      They really want a discussion on the subject, don’t they?

      • LexiconD1

        I’m banned from there, so you got more than I would have…

      • SentryattheGate

        But we’re a “nation of cowards”! How can there be a conversation when your un-PC comments are removed?

    • je suis paganisme

      A proposition nation is not a nation.

      I must admit, that when I see an American black person competing against a foreign White person, I hope that the foreign White person wins.

      • Sick of it

        Quite a few of us share your sentiments.

      • Greg Thomas

        I don’t see many “white foreign” people in my neck of the woods. I see plenty of illegal mexicans however.

    • ejXinMI

      Bowling Alone, gentlemen, Bowling Alone.

    • Raymond Kidwell

      Exactly. When every race, creed, religion, ethnicity, including people who hate America are not only embraced with open arms, but given special privileges to come to America, what’s the point of feeling being American means anything other than a set of laws and government that we share. And then the non-stop criminals I deal with I start to think being fat, lazy, stupid, criminal etc. is what it means to be an American.

  • “Voting”

    Which does very little good. Pick either the red whores or the blue whores.


    Free labor to help people who could easily help themselves but for their voracious appetite for basketball shoes and weave.


    First off, they’ll give citizenship to anyone with a pulse as long as he or she is non-white. Second, those that aren’t citizens can do 99% of everything that a “real” citizen can do, so citizenship really has been cheapened in essence.

    “Reporting a crime”

    Stop snitching, snitches get stitches and thrown into ditches, hands up don’t shoot, can’t breathe, black lives matter, what do we want dead cops when do we want it now.

    “Knowing English”

    Except when the job advert states “bilingual a plus.” Which means those that only speak English need not apply.

    “Serving on a jury”

    To me, the evidence against Jawntravious was rock solid, but two black women kept saying not guilty, racist cops, no more black yoots in “da man’s” prisons.

    “Keeping informed about news and public issues”

    As long as you have the right sources. The NYT to this day has barely mentioned the fact that GENTILIVS GIANTIVUS strong arm robbed the Ferguson Market.

    • John Smith

      If voting changed anything, it would have to be illegal.

      • Jesse_from_Sweden

        Take a look at Sweden….

        Very interesting when it comes to how much voting counts….
        Swedes voted “wrong” in the last election, so the other political parties have now made an agreement that basically cuts them out from the political process.

        The “opposition” will always vote with the “majority”, making it so that the only way the only real opposition party (the Sweden Democrats) will get any influence will be by getting over 50% of the total votes.

        And with this agreement…..they just may in the next election….

        • John Smith

          Is it true that the govt. there just made criticizing immigration policy a criminal infraction? And ordered Swedish schools to remove the national flag from classrooms?

      • WR_the_realist

        That’s the one thing the radical leftists of the 60s got right.

    • Raymond Kidwell

      Try to volunteer on your own. Find people that need help and help them. I’m constantly need in help trying to navigate through constant corruption, discrimination against me, criminal activity, fraud, incompetent employers and co-workers etc. I would like an opportunity to work and be productive. I can hardly find that because every job I go to is full of corruption. I go to college, and they break federal laws and prevent me from taking classes etc.

      At the same time I took a course on carpentry skills at vo-tech and we built habitat for humanity houses. The person being given a free house would stand there and watch us and not even help out. They are supposed to have a volunteer requirement. All of them choose to work the cash register at the store, where they do no work, rather than actually help build their own house. Then they never say thank you and basically shove you aside and say “get out of MY house”. They had to change the rules also because most of these people would just put their house up for sale the first month they get it and pocket the cash. Now they have to live in it for at least two years.

      I can’t understand how people like this seem to get all the help. But then I see that every charity has the same rules. If I go to a homeless shelter guess what they tell me? They only accept women. It’s funny because I was prevented from taking my final college classes because the program head would not let men take it. The key is to be a woman which actually counts for more than race, but being a minority woman is definitely better and have kids. Such people have resources dumped on them. Free houses, free cars, free education, free cash etc. Most white men in a hard situation are sitting on the side of the road with a card board sign saying “homeless please help”.

      I was thinking about taking my camera to one of these people and interviewing them about the white privilege they enjoy. You will almost never see a homeless woman unless she chooses to be. You also don’t see that many homeless minorities. Which is odd considering white males tend to be the most employable objectively speaking with the exception of East Asians in some cases.

      It’s the same with the SBA. I have met a lot of competent and well trained white men who want to start their own business. They can’t get a loan or any help. Then some Indian or Arab gets off a plane and within the first week of being in this country is given a $400,000 loan to buy a kwik-e-mart or local motel. No resources, no training, no money down- nothing. All the traditional charities and most government organizations lavish certain people with freebies then white males must eat of out a trash can.

  • superlloyd

    An ever oppressive government, a lying, craven media, the fetid, suffocating air of PC conformity and the huge amount of time, money and excuses wasted on the White man’s burden, plus Obola’s executive amnesty. No wonder, people fell less civic minded after being royally shafted by that traitorous, islamic imposter and his cronies like ([email protected]£$) Holder.

  • A Freespeechzone

    Crap….our government has complete and utter disdain for those of us who work and DID build this country and wants to give it away to illegals and those who bring NO value to society.

  • Luca

    We are no longer Americans. We are a diverse group of self-segregated, hyphenated Americans, completely kept at odds with one another while being told to celebrate our differences and not to blend in for fear of “acting White”. Assimilation is dead.

    Welcome to Liberal Utopia.

  • dd121

    You may be sure that I, for one, am withdrawing into the circle that makes up my tribe. The blacks did it years ago.

  • john maverick

    Being a responsible citizen is too hard.

    • John Smith

      Most citizens are responsible for the toilet we are (have become?) becoming.

  • Jessica Lee

    If my efforts go towards helping those who refuse to help themselves, or to helping those who wish to harm me, I abstain from giving anything.

  • Who Me?

    Americans today are not asking what they can do for their country, but where the hell it went?

    • Americaandthewestshouldbewhite

      Good point

  • Alexandra1973

    I wouldn’t mind doing jury duty, but every time I get called, it turns out I’m not needed. LOL

    • IstvanIN

      Perhaps you have a “he’s guilty” look on your face.

      • Alexandra1973

        No, never been interviewed or anything. A few times I’ve gotten a notice in the mail from the Wayne County (Ohio) court saying I’m to report for jury duty, and the note says that the day before you’re to start, you have to call and see if you still have to report in. Every single time, I get the message not to report.

        Oh well. My husband’s done jury duty and he said it was pretty interesting.

  • SentryattheGate

    As whites decline in numbers, so does volunteering, knowing English, and keeping informed, because we are the ones who primarily do that. A First World nation cannot be run by Third Worlders! The parasites will vote (illegals too), but only to vote themselves money from the host!

    • John Smith

      Why would whites volunteer to help if that help is directed away from their own kind?

  • DD-762

    What if the SHTF with Russia or China, a the Draft is reinstituted? The U.S. will be in a world of hurt. On second thought, perhaps those drafted will flee to Canada or, better still, Africa. That’s right, Canada no longer accepts draft-Dodgers.

    • Sick of it

      Something tells me that that would be the last day this federal government would exist.

    • Bartek

      I’d have to fight with my White brothers in Russia against the fundamentally changed Northern Brazilians.

      • If you saw my comments above about the Naval Academy, you’d see there’s some reason that the US may be becoming unable to fight a complex naval war against a major foe.

        I think the current US ecomonic position against Russia is solely because our President feels outmeneuvered by Putin on Syria, and the Ukraine. If Putin ran for US President against either Obama or Hillary, I’d vote for him. With whites globally becoming an endangered species, I certainly don’t want a war against the whites in Russia either.

  • John

    Realistically, what did they expect. Anyone with 1/2 a brain is aware of the Feds increased disregard for the Constitution, their spying on their own citizenry, wasting taxes on lost causes and welfare and the whole laundry list we’re all aware of. I won’t go into them all here but the bottom line is they’ve thrown the backbone of the country, the white middle class, under the bus, and then expect us to be pleased with the way the country is being run? Here’s where it all started in 1776… “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends [life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness], it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,” and we’ve come full circle folks.

  • John Smith

    Probably because fewer are seeing the benefits of citizenship and are yet still experiencing most of its burdens. However, going through life ignorant is no help, though you may not get as angry not knowing that you’re being screwed and by whom. Considering that the MSM is filled with propaganda, being “informed” isn’t necessarily the same as being informed.

  • Sick of it

    If we had speedy trials, as originally intended, people wouldn’t avoid jury duty like the plague. But no, we have criminals jerking people out of GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT potentially for YEARS while their scumbag lawyers keep screwing with the system.

    • MBlanc46

      A speedy trial should be considered a right not only of the accused, but also of the people, the other party in the proceedings.

    • I dodged jury duty twice in college, after being simultaneously summoned in Colorado (where my car was registered) and California (where I was registered to vote). I was actually interested in serving on a jury, but my fear was that I’d get stuck on a messy, lengthy trial and would end up failing most of my classes that quarter, with a complete waste of tuition money to go along with academic probation as the result. I told the Santa Cruz court that I was a Colorado resident and the Boulder court that I was a full-time student at UCSC, giving each court the same travel distance: 1,410 miles (I-80 across Wyoming, Utah and Nevada). They weren’t interested in paying me the 10 cents a mile travel allowance each way and excused me.

    • Speedy Steve

      I’m not so much concerned with speedy trials as much as I am with speedy punishment. One appeal and the noose. Better yet: chipper shredder — feet first.

  • MBlanc46

    That could be because we no longer feel that it’s our country.

    • Epiminondas

      Precisely. We have no (white) skin in the game.

  • IKUredux

    Yeah right. Voting? Why bother. The republicans are the same as the democrats. Give back? What? I’m supposed to squander my free time on teaching illegal immigrants English? Teaching muslims, and assorted other crap English? What’s the point of being informed when 1). your rep in congress tells you to piss off and vote how he thinks fit, and, what the hell is wrong with you to think the way you do. 2). Back to what I said before, there is no longer a spits worth of difference between the two parties.

    It is unreasonable to be accused of this. THERE IS NO COUNTRY. THEREFORE, THERE IS NO CIVIL DUTY REQUIRED.

  • MekongDelta69

    I will give a damn again when America turns White again, just like it was when I was growing up.

    Wake me up when that happens…

    • Jared Arrevois

      If that’s your criterion, I expect we’ll be waking you up about two weeks after the end of never.

  • Yves Vannes

    How can anyone enthusiastically perform their civic duty when the government itself is anti- American? Two more years of Ozero and then Hillary or Bush? Sign me up for that one way trip to Mars!

  • E. Newton

    There’s been more than one study that has revealed that people distance themselves from their “community” as it becomes more multi-culti. It’s obvious. I have forever ended any contributions to something like the Salvation Army. That was always a good charity, but I know now where those funds are going.

  • Usually Much Calmer

    People respond to incentives.

  • B Baker

    A sense of Duty? A sense of Duty got me nothing. I spent over a decade in the Military. Even became a Warrant Officer CWO-2 which is a subject matter expert. I deployed to Kosovo, then Afghanistan and Iraq. I went to sea on a 10 month deployment which was supposed to be 6 months. I fit in really well in the Military and enjoyed it. I even enjoyed going to war. I worked with driven, determined Men who would be willing to give their lives for their fellow Sailor or Marine. I would still be in as we speak and never would have come to this site if it was not for getting severely injured and being forced to medically retire.

    Then I come home and 3 blacks try to carjack me within 2 months of being home. I let my training take over and took one negros eye out with my keys. I then got hit with a brick and stomped. Knowing I was going to get killed I retreated and ran. I was covered in blood with torn clothing I was blacking out and losing blood fast. I ran 2 blocks then saw a cop car and ran to it with all my remaining strength. Safety so I think, but boy was I wrong. 1 Black cop and a rookie White cop. I was immediately held at gunpoint and told to lay in snowy ground. I complied and told them what happened. I was told that I was lying. When I told them I was an Iraq and Afghan war vet I was searched and had my head smashed into the ground and told that I was wasting their time and should have died in Iraq.
    I then told them to piss off because they were not going to help. I was refused medical attention. I was arrested for “disorderly conduct” and had to go to jail overnight. I was then lectured about the blood and dirt all over me by a negro judge and let go. Later the charge was dropped and I sued the city and won.

    Combine that with even though I am a %100 service connected disabled Veteran the VA hospitals are a dangerous place to get medical care because their doctors are the lowest form of scum in the medical field. So I have had to pay for my own constant medical care until this year where my private doctor has taken my case as charity (I guess it is his way of giving back).

    Then told by DHS and the negro president called OIF OEF Veterans “Unstable and Dangerous” a potential threat to National Security.

    I owe NOTHING to America! I even moved overseas because I was sick of it here. I am now giving America on last shot, but I now consider myself living between 2 countries and I hold allegiance to none. Only my Family.

    Half of my Race is self hating, and becoming more deviant day by day. Politically American liberal Whites are totally self hating and want to destroy the White race. I could go on and on but others have already said what I know to be true.

    Jaded? Of Course. Once again I owe NOTHING to America.

    • I’m sorry you were treated that way by the country you wanted to serve. You deserved better.

      We all do.

    • LHathaway

      hehe, we’re the last to hold on to Any kind of morality. The irony is, we’re the only ones who have 0 reason to.

    • lily-white

      On my daily “To do” list that I keep on my PC, I have the following
      two (of four) statements in large red bold type… #3. I can do absolutely nothing to change
      world events but I can prepare for an outcome… #4. I no longer respect this
      country or its institutions… These words are there to remind me every day that
      the world that I grew up in left a long
      time ago… also, I recently changed the one word “nation” to “country” since I
      feel that we lost “nation” status quite a while back…

    • Raymond Kidwell

      I have been through the same stuff and if you want my personal contact and to meet up with me let me know.

      I was attacked where someone tried to slit my throat and ended up cutting my face open. The cops would not go after him or take a statement. I have dealt with threats, vandalism, fraud, discrimination, basically every crime in the book being committed against me and can hardly get an officer to do anything, every time I complain.

      It’s constant dysfunction and disrespect, everybody trying to use and abuse, whether its dealing with a doctor or a lawyer trying to swindle me or the man on the street trying to mug me, it’s just one big degenerate mess.

      I get physically denied access to college because I’m a male, denied jobs because I’m white, I get denied welfare for being white, I deal with people putting guns to my head, drive by shooting, being stabbed, being jumped, property stolen, vandalized etc. and never will a cop do anything about this. In fact the cops threaten me for reporting crimes. Then an FBI agent comes to my house because I go onto racist websites and I contacted a synagogue. I tell him about corrupt police, discrimination against me at public institutions and private. He doesn’t care. And race doesn’t even play much of a role. Most of the criminals and corrupt cops etc. I deal with are white.

      You are pretty much on your own unless you can find others like you.

  • The American government has told me over and over again that it considers me its enemy. It has proven its hatred of me and my kind through its incessant anti-white actions and treasonous mandates. Why in the world would I feel a “duty” toward the monster that seeks to destroy my people and our culture?

    They wanted to marginalize whites in the countries our ancestors built for us. Well, it worked. And the unintended consequences will be world-changing in scope and intensity.

    • No Hesitation Targets: as requested by the Department of Homeland Security:

  • LHathaway

    This survey overlook something. Talk is cheap and it’s a whole lot cheaper now than it was then. We’re even slipping in our honestly while taking surveys.

  • Amrik Morel

    As was intended. The roadmap was laid out during the summer of 1897 in Basel, Switzerland.

  • WR_the_realist

    While I still have some positive feelings for my own small town, I see the federal government as a dangerous, overgrown, parasite. I never wanted to serve in the armed forces because I never see the U.S. military fight for my own country. For as long as our politicians believe our military is supposed to be the policemen of the world I will see military service as a suckers’ game. I do serve on juries when my number comes up, if I want the right of a trial by jury I have to be willing to serve on a jury myself.

    Now that everything is bilingual Spanish-English it is not surprising that fewer people see learning English as a public responsibility.

  • Lee_CPA

    I love my country – I fear my government.
    So sayeth the bumper sticker I saw recently. Lot of truth in bumper stickers…. Let’s see, in my lifetime:
    1. The government rammed racial integration down our necks. White kids were yanked out of white schools and black kids were yanked out of black schools and bussed across town to achieve a government mandated “mix” of students. This was done against the wishes of most white parents and many black parents.
    2. The government used its power of taxation to confiscate money from me to give to welfare recipients who were too sorry to work. $15 TRILLION at last estimate.
    3. The government sent over 50,000 American youth to die in the rice paddies of Vietnam for what? Thousands more have spilled their life blood in the sands of Iran and Afghanistan, and continue to do so.
    4. The govenment seizes even more of my tax dollars to sent BILLIONS overseas in various forms of “foreign aid”. Countries that then turn around and stab the USA in the back. Google USS Liberty for example.
    5. The government continues to promote the interest of minorities over white Americans. Minority set asides in government contracting, supplier diversity programs, affirmative action programs, etc, etc, etc. The list continues to grow.
    6. The government continues to ignore the illegal alien invasion and is trying to implement yet another amnesty program.
    That’s an even half dozen examples of how the government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” has stabbed the people in the back. There are hundreds, if not thousands more.

  • Bartek

    Why should I care about an alleged duty to a Nation/ruling that has set itself up as an enemy of my race, culture, and people?

  • Da Troof


    Shocked I say.

  • Epiminondas

    Only a white moron would join a military with a negro as commander in chief.

    • The rot goes deeper than that. Admiral Roughead declared several years ago that “diversity” is now the US navy’s number-one mission. I wonder where training to win naval battles now ranks. It turns out that losing them is pretty expensive, but I would never have suspected that a career officer would forget some of the uglier examples like Savo Island or Tassafaronga.

      • Actually I Googled your statement and found the following:

        1) A US Navy 18 page pdf brochure on diversity visually depicting that the principal mission is to increase diversity and all the wonderful high level positions open for minorities.

        2) A Washington Post article that states that whites are being severely “judged against” for admission to the Naval Academy. The service crews are 42% minority so that is the target mark for Naval Academy acceptances. Qualified whites are not admitted and minorities who can’t handle college courses are.

        In cases where the minority applicant’s preparation is severely lacking they’re admitted to a “prep program” to bring them up to speed before actual admission to the Academy. These minorities, who are not able to master college courses on their own, will eventually be placed in charge of our most complex Aegis missile cruisers and aircraft carriers.

        • IstvanIN

          The Afrikaners were smart to destroy their nuclear weapons, then again seeing how the blacks have maintained the SA Air Force and Navy maybe they needn’t have bothered. That should be some small consolation your statement above.

    • Bud

      Whether a non-white is commander in chief is irrelevant, the system is genocidal against whites no matter who is in charge. It was just as moronic to fight for it under Boy George as it is under Bammy.

  • If Americans are uninterested in keeping up with the news these days, perhaps it is because the mainstream media serves us political advocacy masquerading as “news”. I don’t regard the refusal by many people to watch that drivel as “apathy” so much as I regard it as a withdrawal of consent. They’re just not interested in being lied to, and when they are, they’re frequently smart enough to catch on quickly.

    • Alexandra1973

      What news?

      At this rate I’d consider the National Enquirer to be more trustworthy than the local paper.

  • Greg Thomas

    Perhaps the Russians can liberate us.

  • Donald

    I could care less about American Citizenship.
    I care about the unity and resolve of the White Race. I am optimistic about our youth. Talk to them. I am optimistic for Our future. Tell them to be proud of Our History. If Western Civilization should fall – Man’s peak will have been reached – by us.
    The Black Man, in comparison, is but primordial ooze.

  • mike5586

    I’m white and I don’t care a whit. I live in a mexican/black majority area and I get to see first hand how their government and society functions, or rather – how it doesn’t.

    They can do their own civic service and ‘volunteering.’ It’s not my job or any other white person’s job to clean up their messes, especially since they’ll just turn around and make another one moments later.

    Maybe if I lived in nice, white area I’d feel differently.