I’ve always thought I understood entitlement, but lately I’m not so sure. I mean the royal system is pretty clear cut. A person becomes entitled to certain privileges by reason of merit or birth, and those privileges are pretty well spelled out. And in a monetary system, a person is entitled to purchase a dollar’s worth of goods for a dollar. And in a free democratic republic, a person is entitled to vote through citizenship. In each case, the rights or privileges that one is entitled to is guaranteed by law or contract.
Lately, however, I find entitlement stretched into areas that don’t quite make sense to me.
For four years we had a leader of this country who seemed to feel that because he was elected to office, he was entitled to do anything he wanted regardless of laws, rules or established protocols. He felt entitled to say or tweet anything about anything ignoring honesty or repercussions.
Then on January 6 we experienced an insurrection by individuals who felt entitled to forcibly invade our capital because they disagreed with the election results and actions taken by our elected representatives.
Regarding the pandemic:
In parts of the country, wealthy individuals maintaining special relationships with officials have felt entitled to receive vaccinations prior to other perhaps more needy recipients.
The youth of this country who are perhaps less likely to experience the deathly effects of COVID-19 seem to feel entitled to ignore mask mandates or limited social contact.
Adults who have been vaccinated or perhaps don’t believe COVID-19 even exists seem to feel entitled to ignore mask mandates even in closely monitored situations like air travel.
“My mask is uncomfortable, so I am entitled to wear it under my chin.“
These and many other examples give me pause. We seem to be living at a time when personal belief systems trump established social mores whenever they conflict.
“If I desire something enough, then I’m entitled to it, no matter what.“
Many of us even seem to feel entitled to suppress or oppress anyone who happens to be different from us whether the difference is in thought, physical attribute, or place of birth.
But then that’s just my opinion, to which I am entitled. I’m just not entitled to use any means at my disposal to coerce you to agree with me.