Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.

 

There's a great line in Atlas Shrugs that goes like this: "You concluded I was the safest person in the world to spit on because I have power over you and that I would be tied by the fear of hurting your feelings by reminding you of it."

Our society seems to have taken that view en-masse in recent years.


Comments (Page 3)
on Jul 30, 2013

Yes. However, it isn't only the poor or the recipients of largess who act poorly. Power and entitlement can be and are part and parcel of many social interactions, and it is the boor who exercises them. Civility is the mortar of society. Respect and courtesy are not foul words. Indeed, if they were, we'd probably see them used far more often.

 
This isn't about acting poorly. Rich people, poor people, everyone can act terribly.
 
To really really boil it down as much as my small brain can do so is that we are developing a society that believes that the powerful owe the powerless something simply by their very existence.
 
 
on Jul 30, 2013

Frogboy
we are developing a society that believes that the powerful owe the powerless something simply by their very existence.

Perhaps. Perhaps not. Depends on who's doing the "believing" and who's perceiving that "belief" and through which colored glasses. In fact, they owe each other by virtue of the existence of society, and its norms.

I think it's about behavior as well: The way you put/perceive it, it would seem to be arrogance and insolence.

You used the example of Forum behavior ("I bought this 2 dollar software and you owe me support for the rest of out natural lives and if you try to reneg, I'll curse you and dirty your name all over the Internet." type nonsense).

The essential missing quality is civility: That defines the bi-directionality of "debt". In some ways misinterpreted "entitlement" could be thought to promote an opposite situation. That is a misinterpretation of "entitlement". 

The elderly, poverty stricken, disabled, infirmed, widows and orphans, disabled soldiers and first responders all are "entitled" to societal support to one degree or another. Those are the norms of our society. 

To deny this is to deny the social contract and civility. No society can exist without them. Even wolf packs have norms of conduct.

on Jul 30, 2013

Frogboy

To really really boil it down as much as my small brain can do so is that we are developing a society that believes that the powerful owe the powerless something simply by their very existence.
 

Most societies today have reached a balance between the two extremes, pure communism (we'll go with "the powerful owe the powerless something simply by their very existence") and pure authoritarianism (The powerless owe the powerful something simply by their very existence). Sure, there's tugging and pulling one direction or another every so often, but any serious imbalances one way or another get evened out eventually through hopefully non-violent (but usually violent) means.

I'd say that I don't think "society" today is actually going in one direction or another (you could make a case for the United States slowly drifting towards authoritarianism), but the forces pulling in both directions are certainly stronger. 

on Jul 30, 2013

Both those extremes you described are authoritarian by virtue of one faction exerting its rule on others through force.  Depending on one's views, that exertion of force may be completely justified for one reason or another, but it certainly isn't anything but authoritarian regardless of who holds the gun.

on Jul 30, 2013
The chances to get born rich or powerful is small unless your royal bloodline
becoming rich can be by an idea a scam fraud or abuse or of being successful for example in writing a good book, developing good software that gets published, kick-starter...
A good example why many might think the powerful (rich) owe them is Mark Zuckerberg the success wasn’t incidental many people got betrayed on the way to the success  private information was leaked, sold or abused - yes he is in dept and does owe them, but will never be able to make up for it or willing to do so.
Not every rich person is the same, there is a great number that do invest in common good and im grateful for that and do respect them simply because they try to make a difference and are part of a snowball effect. 



 
on Jul 30, 2013

Frogboy
To really really boil it down as much as my small brain can do so is that we are developing a society that believes that the powerful owe the powerless something simply by their very existence.


No one "owes" anyone anything...period. It's not about owing someone something. None of us came into this world with a list of people we owe something to...if we owe anyone anything it would be to our parents that raised us...hopefully well.

Unfortunately we've developed this lottery mentality in this country...I want "my" money and I want it now! Of course that's not going to happen. But as the economy gets worse more and more people adopt this way of thinking. The courts are to blame as well for allowing frivolous lawsuits and the ridiculous amounts of money paid out to someone when they are allowed to follow through. Some people aren't even willing to try and gain some sort of wealth...they want the fast money.

I think it's more about morality than anything...if you can help someone enjoy life more or help someone in real need...why not...if you can...and it doesn't always take money to do that. I help people all the time...and I'm far from being wealthy...I'm reaching up to touch bottom most of the time and even more so now that I'm on disability. And I could use help myself...but in the grand scheme of things I'm nobody...I'm one of a billion+ people on this planet...and there are people much worse off than I am...and because of that I have a hard time even asking for help...especially if its just "stuff" I "can" live without...so I just play the cards I've been dealt and learn to do without.

I personally feel we put to much importance on "stuff"...big screen TV's...phones that really make you unsociable...things that you "think" are making you better somehow...but are really dividing us as people.

If I was rich/wealthy..."I" would feel a moral responsibility to help people...and I would...but that's just me. I certainly don't expect or feel anyone owes me a damn thing though. And as i said I don't feel anyone owes anyone else anything either. But the world would be a better place if the wealthy helped out more. I mean seriously....when you have enough money to buy a small country and your neighbor is going hungry...how much is enough? Personally I would feel ashamed knowing I could help someone and didn't. In the end it would all come back to them in one way or the other.

Brad...you should be enjoying whatever wealth you've acquired and not be concerned with what other people think. You and your family come first, anything after that...anything you do or don't do, is between you and your conscious...if you can live with that...that's all that matters.

on Jul 30, 2013

DrJBHL

The elderly, poverty stricken, disabled, infirmed, widows and orphans, disabled soldiers and first responders all are "entitled" to societal support to one degree or another. Those are the norms of our society. 

To deny this is to deny the social contract and civility. No society can exist without them. Even wolf packs have norms of conduct.

Rand's point goes beyond this.  It's a much more concerned with individual senses of entitlement.  You, DrJBHL, are very successful because you work hard and apply yourself and I, Kantok, am not, because I'm lazy and want to spend my days reading romance novels.  Because of these facts you owe me.  The fact is that I'm not one of those special classes of people.  I'm a healthy 30-something who could work at least a minimum wage job, but I just don't want to.  I want to spend my time reading Danielle Steele.  I am still entitled to your charity, solely because you are successful.

And it goes further.  I can actively disparage you for being greedy, evil, and cruel, despite the fact that you are successful, treat your employees well, and are otherwise a generally charitable person towards me and society as a whole.  Despite this disparagement YOU STILL OWE ME.  I am still entitled to the reward of your toil and your mind. 

In fact it goes even further.  I can actively work to undermine your success and yet you still OWE ME.  

The level of entitlement Rand is talking about isn't the civil safety net.  It's not in regards to caring for those who have otherwise contributed to society or cared for themselves but no longer have that capability. It's about the people who are perpetual takers BY CHOICE and who believe they have the right to take from the successful by virtue,and this is important, of the fact that others are successful and they are not.  Nothing more.  The circumstances of your success and the circumstances of my failure are irrelevant as is my behavior towards you.  

You have and I don't and therefore I am entitled to what is yours.  

People have used Rand's ideas to argue against the civil safety net like you mention, but her argument is against a much baser human emotion.  Jealousy of and theft from those who find success solely because they find success, writ large and given legitimacy by the support of the masses. 

on Jul 30, 2013

Brad...you should be enjoying whatever wealth you've acquired and not be concerned with what other people think. You and your family come first, anything after that...anything you do or don't do, is between you and your conscious...if you can live with that...that's all that matters.

This really isn't about me.  I don't know if you've read about the Phil Fish thing.  That's what got my mind on this topic.

on Jul 30, 2013

Frogboy
This really isn't about me. I don't know if you've read about the Phil Fish thing. That's what got my mind on this topic.

Ah...my bad...no I haven't...but just the same...don't you yourself dwell on anything like this...just saying.

on Jul 30, 2013

I dwell on everything.  Part of the curse of having so much time every day due to whatever disorder causes me to only sleep a few hours a day. thank god for my Australian friends!

on Jul 30, 2013

WebGizmos
No one "owes" anyone anything...period.

We'll agree to disagree.

You live in a society. You are entitled to certain expectations.

No one has a list of them for you or anyone else. That's where civility enters it. When people are civil, they can sit and discuss things.

If one has to deal with a churl then best not to. When encountering one of these: "Be civil or be gone." is the only approach to adopt. Either they will self civilize and become manageable , or not. In the latter case, one simply breaks contact.

on Jul 31, 2013

DrJBHL


Quoting WebGizmos, reply 36No one "owes" anyone anything...period.


We'll agree to disagree.

You live in a society. You are entitled to certain expectations.

No one has a list of them for you or anyone else.

Kantok
People have used Rand's ideas to argue against the civil safety net like you mention, but her argument is against a much baser human emotion.  Jealousy of and theft from those who find success solely because they find success, writ large and given legitimacy by the support of the masses. 

That's where civility enters it. When people are civil, they can sit and discuss things.

If one has to deal with a churl then best not to. When encountering one of these: "Be civil or be gone." is the only approach to adopt. Either they will self civilize and become manageable , or not. In the latter case, one simply breaks contact.

on Jul 31, 2013

DrJBHL
You are entitled

But this is the crux of this entire thread is it not? I see many bolstering their points with talk of civilization, civility, what we 'ought' to do and what we shouldn't. Aren't these merely societal symptoms of the very basic statement we are discussing, not the cause or the reason inherit to the belief for or against the quoted statement above? Am I correct in this at least or am I horribly mistaken?

on Jul 31, 2013

DrJBHL
You live in a society. You are entitled to certain expectations.

boshimi336
Aren't these merely societal symptoms of the very basic statement we are discussing

No, not really. The basic confusion is between a reasonable expectation and an "attitude".

The former is reasonable when addressed civilly. The latter is not and is a symptom of a personality disorder.

 

Denial of the former is to deconstruct the social contract which exists in a society for some ulterior motive. The contract and the reasonable expectations vary from society to society, but exist in all societies. 

To generalize from unreasonable individuals to the "O tempore! O mores!" is an individual impression usually derived from media magnification of the unreasonable demands/behaviors of affected individuals. How far they are true about a society depends on the views of the person observing: I know of no objective criteria for examining their validity.

 

on Jul 31, 2013

DrJBHL

You live in a society. You are entitled to certain expectations.

 

I'm not sure I agree. I feel like we have fundamental differences in the way we are viewing and approaching this statement.

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