The idea of responsibility is that of an obligation to do something. This obligation then implies a party to be obliged, which is reminiscent of our description of rights and privileges. Therefore we should be able to see that a responsibility is a result of a right or privilege. Then we must ask who is then obliged as a result of a right or privilege? Who holds this responsibility?
Firstly the implication therein is that the one that holds the responsibility has the power to fulfill that obligation. This helps us understand what I would call the Moral Law of Most Localized Responsibility which states that responsibility should be held by the smallest sphere of influence that has the power to fulfill the obligation. Let’s look at an example.
We have established here that one of our inalienable rights is the right to live as long as we can so much as it does not conflict with another inalienable right. The smallest and therefore first sphere of influence to consider is the individual. The individual has the responsibility to maintain his own life as long as he can, so much as his power is sufficient to fulfill that responsibility and so much as it does not conflict with another inalienable right. In our case, the individual has the power to look after daily living needs–food, water, shelter, hygiene, personal security, etc. But seeing as it is impossible or unreasonable to expect the individual to maintain power to prevent and enforce any and all crimes against him, such would not be his responsibility. Therefore this portion of the responsibility is delegated to a larger sphere of influence, such as that of a household, neighborhood, district, city, county, state, or nation. Since the scope of most criminal activity is probably city-sized, we might delegate the responsibility of crime prevention and enforcement to a city government, which may itself delegate some of its responsibilities to an even larger sphere of influence.
Now let’s reconsider whether responsibility can or should be taken by a larger sphere even though a smaller sphere has reasonable power to fulfill it, essentially questioning the worth of my stated Moral Law of Most Localized Responsibility. This could be exemplified by a government taking the responsibility of taking care of the daily needs of its citizens–making sure they eat and sleep properly. Now morally, at first glance, there is nothing particularly wrong with this scenario–the responsibility is taken and the corresponding right is thus protected. However I would argue against this for a number of reasons: redundancy, liberty and corruptibility. Firstly if the smaller sphere has the power to fulfill the responsibility, but the larger sphere takes on that responsibility, then the powers to fulfill it are made redundant since both are able to exercise that power. Therefore either some form of communication and oversight would need to be present to manage the division of power or one party must give up exercising at least a portion of its power. The former scenario presents the problems associated with redundancy, and the latter points out the loss of liberty. But even more since the larger sphere is exercising its power to do something that the smaller sphere can do, there is danger of corruption with the larger sphere overriding or otherwise controlling the power of the smaller sphere. So there may exist good reasons to do this if well-established rules prevent issues with redundancy, losses in liberty and limit corruption, but I would say that in most scenarios this is not the case.