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willbrawn's avatar

Why do you people believe they are entitled to privileges?

Asked by willbrawn (6588 points ) June 23rd, 2009

A lot of people believe they should recieve certain rights and freedoms for free. “I should recieve a discount for shopping here” is something I hear a lot. Some people in general believe they are entitled to privelages even when the masses do not recieve them. Like they are better or went through something terrible to earn these rights. Why is that?

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17 Answers

jonsblond's avatar

They are spoiled?

Darwin's avatar

Their parents never set them straight about their true role in the world?

They are victims of the current educational fad of making sure every child has high self esteem, even if they cannot read above sixth grade level?

They are sociopaths?

All of the above?

AstroChuck's avatar

What do you mean you people?

willbrawn's avatar

Any kind of people. Male. Female. Asian. White. Black. Well I guess it comes down to Americans.

YARNLADY's avatar

Most people have grown up in an environment where some are privileged and some are not. The privileged ones got that way by asking and receiving. We have seen many examples throughout our lives where the one who asks, gets.

susanc's avatar

I still wonder why you say “you people”. If you mean jonsblond, me, AstroChuck, YARNLADY and Darwin: we don’t act like that, do we guys? Well okay
I sometimes ask for things, but I don’t feel like I can demand them.

Give us some more examples.

jonsblond's avatar

I demand a Dr. J sticker for my minivan dammit!

YARNLADY's avatar

@susanc I can’t answer for you, but I think I’m entitled to answer for myself, aren’t I?~

ubersiren's avatar

I think people confuse “rights” with “entitlement” in our culture. Entitlement means that because of some circumstance (being human, working really hard for it) you should be given something, no questions asked; you’ve already earned it by some means. Rights are things yet to be earned. Things like- Ex: Everyone has a right to own a home, but you still have to work really hard to get it. Also, having the right to do something can have negative or positive consequences. Entitlement is deserved.

A lot of very ignorant people think that they deserve things just for being them. Old, black, poor, rich, hispanic, white, young, sick, etc. In my opinion, there is very little that we, as people, are entitled to for just being us. Ex: Should a Jewish person receive an apology from the German government for their actions during the Holocaust? Probably not, but the circumstance that makes the difference would be if that person was a victim of the torture himself. Of course there are grey areas like, “What if the person’s himself was not a victim, but the parent was a victim, so he suffers mental anguish,” etc. But my point is that rarely does someone deserve something just for being himself. A good example would be, as mentioned by @YARNLADY above, the entitlement to be able to speak for yourself – doing things in your own name. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, maybe?

But many folks feel they are entitled because they are ignorant to the fact that others have suffered probably just as much as they have. All they know is that they have pained and they want something for it.

Also @Darwin- GA.

That was probably wordier than it had to be. I don’t even know if it made sense.

wundayatta's avatar

It’s all about fairness. People somehow grow up, these days, with the notion that the world should be fair in all things. You should be compensated in accordance with your skill and also for harms done against you or, historically, against your ancestors.

Our kids say it all the time: “That’s not fair!” Like they are owed fairness. I think people see that society attempts to be fair, and then they start to assume that life should be fair.

We have given our children many rights. Our ancestors have fought to be able to provide those rights. When you are given something, it is natural to start to think that you have a guarantee that will continue. People really only appreciate the price of something they have had to fight for, personally. They whine when they don’t get it, instead of thinking they should continue to fight for it.

Life, of course, owes noone anything. Communities might do their best to guarantee rights to the members of that community, but that does not mean they will succeed. The Declaration of Independence may say:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

but that does not mean that the truth translates into action or reality. Truth is abstract. Abstractions do not easily translate into concrete action, yet many people mistake the wish for reality simply because they are taught that fantasy is the same as reality. We see the same problem everywhere: how people think that you can “lust in your heart” and that’s as bad as acting on the lust. You can watch porn, and that’s cheating. You can know someone on the internet and that’s as good as knowing them in real life. People have come to believe that fantasy life is real life. You need merely wish something and it will become truth.

I think it has to do with the prevalence of mediated experience these days. People watch TV or movies or even read books and suspend disbelief and come to believe that mediated experience is real experience. Thought has become synonymous with reality, and thus people think they are entitled to something if they wish it were so.

With a lack of appreciation for history, or even a knowledge of history, you have no idea how your “rights” were achieved. They just are. Even if you study history, you may not really appreciate it. Historians can depict history as glorious and heroic, and people can believe that. That’s one of the reasons young people can be so enamored of the military. In the end, entitlement can only come from a lack of personal experience in the society-wide struggle to create a right.

YARNLADY's avatar

@susanc @AstroChuck I think the word ‘think’ is supposed to follow ‘you’ as in “Why do you think people believe they are…...”

AstroChuck's avatar

@YARNLADY- I was making a joke regarding race. If you want an example, watch Tropic Thunder. :)

susanc's avatar

@YARNLADY Ah. The missing word. So that’s it. Thanks.
As for you speaking for yourself, sure, I was naming myself and others to ask who “you people” were, not to try to represent you .. that was rhetorical. Sorry.

YARNLADY's avatar

@susanc and I was being facetious, thus ending with a ~

Facade's avatar

Because they had the guts to ask

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

You’re mixing up rights and privileges.Privileges by nature emanate from a group,whereas rights are an action that requires no sanction.The entitlement mentality derives from “group think”.I rarely run across anyone who understands what a right is :)

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