From privilege to entitlement

A sense of entitlement appears to have taken over modern society, especially among those most wealthy and powerful.  Responsibility has been delegated to those with the least or without.

In other eras, everyone had responsibility and those who enjoyed the greatest privileges had the most responsibilities. 

Public service of any type was once a privilege, which carried a great weight of responsibility and the necessity for ethical behaviour and practice.  It required long years of dedication and effort, usually for little reward, other that the pleasure of serving others, your community, country and humankind.

The private sphere was not much different.  If you had the privilege of being a business owner or CEO you had responsibility to the business and its reputation, employees and their well being and customers and those you served.  Most businesses took an interest in their communities; some contributed to and often built the municipal infrastructure that was required.

Privilege had its own value and carried with it the virtues of responsibility and respect, which was hard earned.  It took many years in order to build credibility, integrity and trust.  These attributes were considered fundamental human and moral values; imperative in a civilized society.

These values appear to have been abandoned, as fiscal wealth became the dominant measure of progress and worth.  It appears that we now have a society where many people consider their only responsibility is to themselves.

This is most evident in the world of “too big to fail” finance and business corporations.

Those most wealthy are doing their utmost to own and control all wealth and are finding ways to disengage from supporting society by any legal or illegal means available.

Many of the mega-rich spend huge amounts of money to influence politicians as a means to eliminate support to those in need.  This was quite evident in the last United States election campaigns; but is not unique to that country.

Such sense of entitlement is at the core of the growing corruption being witnessed in governments at all levels in Canada.

It appears that politicians, officials, and those politically appointed consider public funds as theirs to use and spend as they wish; even if it requires manipulating rules and procedures in order to make personal gains.

They ignore the fact that all these expenditures are paid for out of the hard earned money of people forced to pay taxes, while corporations and the wealthy are afforded the opportunity to squirrel their money in legal and illegal tax havens.

The “Harper Government”, thinks nothing of expending public funds on campaigns to promote their politics and dogma.  This government has pushed to the extreme the country’s elections laws and legislation.  They have been penalized on a number of occasions with financial penalties for illegal wrong doings and many cases are still outstanding.

In all cases private and public, the trickle down philosophy, which has become prevalent, appears to let little trickle down to those most in need, most despairing and most impoverished.

The world’s wealthiest are focused on hoarding their wealth at all costs.  Politicians are focused on their “legacy” and how they can set themselves up to make huge amounts of money when they retire or are defeated at the polls.

It appears that those most privileged have abandoned any sense of moral and ethical values and social responsibility.

They consider that their privilege and sense of entitlement has come from their own efforts and not because society allows them such positions of prestige and power.

Many, especially the working poor work as hard or harder for the little they receive.

The amount of disconnectivity in the world is astounding.  It appears, as if most people create a bubble, which separates them from time, space and the tragedies and cries of despair that fill media of all sorts.

Perhaps there is the belief that this bubble will protect them personally from experiencing what they can see and hear from others elsewhere.

The world’s current situation is unsustainable, as witnessed by the growing unrest and the continuing explosion of refugees fleeing tragedy and despair.  This is most often caused by the few who felt entitled and grasped the privilege of the resources and wealth that belonged to everyone.

The damage done to society, the world economy and the environment has all the makings of a global tragedy.  Even those most privileged will have nowhere to hide, no bubble will be strong enough to protect those who feel entitled from feeling its wrath and no bank fortified enough to secure what’s hidden.

Those whose sense of entitlement has overwhelmed their human senses and compassion will find themselves diminished and dismissed like so many of the arrogant leaders of the past several years.

It is then that responsibility will become important to all and respect for natural and human life will once again become of value.

At that moment authentic privilege will be once again vested with those who genuinely care, have compassion, integrity and an appreciation for life’s connectivity.

Written by Bill Pardy,

August 10th, 2013

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