Entitled no more because we Idle No More
By: By Sheelagh Matthews
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 09, 2013 01:33 pm
Tick, tock. The celestial clock keeps on ticking and our world has made another trip around the sun. This time, though, the Mayans claim this latest planetary revolution means the end of the world as we know it. I hope they are right.
Because maybe, just maybe, this will mean the end of entitlement, a phenomenon that has become embedded in our way of life. Like an evil weed, entitlement has been spreading its roots far and wide.
Why is entitlement so insidious? Because it presumes that some people are better than others — more entitled to a better life in all ways, from food and shelter to clothes and education, and often without consideration for the less fortunate. It’s right out of George Orwell’s classic book “Animal Farm” where “all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.” In Orwell’s book, an animal’s best shot at enjoying a privileged life on the farm comes only if you are lucky enough to be born a pig.
How appropriate that the intelligent but greedy and gluttonous pig be the species chosen by Orwell to have more privileges and rights than the horses, chickens, sheep and the rest. Well, actually, I am misspoken on that — it isn’t that the pigs have more privileges than the other animals, it is that they lie and scheme to get more privileges.
But, isn’t it a form of theft to take something deserved by all, like a fair day’s wages, to better your own position? I think it is. And I think quite a few of us in our 99 per cent boat think so, too.
But, I doubt the remaining one per cent would even get what we are talking about. Why? Because they are the “entitled ones.” But, hey, it’s not their fault if they are embarrassingly rich, is it? Didn’t they have to work hard to get to where they are, too? No, we can’t blame anyone for being in the one per cent group. But, we all need to be aware that entitlement can wreak havoc with the world. The trouble starts when our human nature kicks in because, it turns out, we begin to believe we deserve the good life of the powerful and the privileged once we taste it.
To support this position is a research study conducted by Dr. Paul Piff, social psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley. His research points to some shocking findings when it comes to ultra privilege. His Monopoly game experiment showed that those who are randomly given an unfair advantage in the game begin to feel entitled and will do whatever it takes to protect what they felt entitled to.
Orwell’s “Animal Farm” pigs are eventually congratulated for having the hardest-working but least-fed animals in the country. Sadly, those with power and privilege would have us follow this model today. The entitled one per cent would have us believe that we, the ordinary 99 per cent, with our desires for fair wages and secure pensions (as in sufficient food to eat for the hard work we do) are what’s dragging down our economy. If so, why didn’t that happen in the past?
No, what will bring us to the most tragic chapter of all, my friends, is entitlement — something that will lead us to planetary ruin. And for what? The pervasive sense of entitlement of our old era does none of us any favours, whether pig, horse, chicken or sheep.
Lucky for us in Canada there is hope, thanks in large part to a long-suffering population of some of our poorest of the poor. Yes, our nation’s Aboriginals have banded together in a peaceful protest they call Idle No More to speak out against our entitled ways and to stand up for people without clean water, decent housing, and good schools as well as for those who have no voice, like plants, trees, rivers, oceans, air, fish and other fauna.
I believe that we, the 99 per cent, need to support this cause in a big way. Because, as ironic as it might seem, it might well be the First Nations people who turn out to be the true warriors for our rights and freedoms in Canada.
Speaking up for what we know in our hearts is right, and to Idle No More — now that’s in our best interest.
For more in your best interest, follow Sheelagh on Twitter @sheesays.