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Gimme Gimme: A Tour of the Entitlement Mentality

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Posted on March 18 2011 9:00 am
Walter Hudson is a political commentator and co-founder of Minnesota's North Star Tea Party Patriots, a statewide educational organization. He runs a blog entitled Fightin Words. He also contributes to True North, a hub of Minnesotan conservative commentary. Follow his work via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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Words have meaning. If they did not, communication would be impossible. Unfortunately, in our political discourse, words are often sapped of their meaning and reduced to empty rhetoric. This handicaps our capacity for thoughtful deliberation. After all, if you can’t find common ground in the dictionary, what chance is there to find it elsewhere?

In the comment section of a recent NRB post regarding public employee unions and the related protests in Wisconsin, one of our readers demonstrated a curious inability to distinguish force from choice. The exchange was instructive of the entitlement mentality propagated by the Left. It is a worldview which includes relativism so extreme that it disputes the definition of words. Consider these excerpts.

pjz29: As a taxpayer with two non-union jobs, I am more than happy to pay good wages to public employees. Just because the “private sector” labor jobs are being reduced to match the 3rd World, it doesn’t mean that we should be bitter against those who [are] still… living comfortably.

NRB: Good for you. Then here’s what you can do. Take some of that hard-earned cash you have left over after the federal, state, and local governments have punished you for having the audacity to work hard in the private sector at multiple jobs to stay off the dole, then contribute as much as you can to parties, candidates, and political action committees which will work to insure other people (not you or your family) continue “living comfortably.” That is your right. It doesn’t have to make sense to me.

All I insist upon is a level playing field, that contributions to such causes be motivated by genuine desire such as yours, and not compelled(…)

pjz29: ... I just think we are making villains out of the wrong people in this union issue. I really don’t think people are complaining about… having to be in a union. I wouldn’t mind being “forced” to join one where I work.

NRB: But that wouldn’t be force, would it? It’s force only when you do mind.

A complaint is not a prerequisite to injustice. If you steal from me and I fail to complain, that does not justify the theft(…)

pjz29: … The wealthy are… saying to the rest of the defeated population “Look how much better the teachers and snow plow drivers, etc have it than you”…and a lot of us bite and support the destruction of any unions that are left (we have Union Envy). We rail against them, but would join one if we could…

NRB: (…) This is not about destroying unions. Unions are free associations which people have an inherent right to enter. This is about the inverse right, the right to choose not to associate. It’s also about the special relationship between state employees and their employer, a relationship not subject to the same market forces which reign in private sector unions. Research “moral hazard” and you may begin to see my point.

pjz29: “Moral Hazard”– “occurs when a party insulated from risk behaves differently than it would behave if it were fully exposed to the risk.”… Like the ultra wealthy who freeze wages and ship jobs overseas, etc… the consequences matter little to them, as they are fine while their employees struggle.

NRB: At this point, you’re choosing to ignore definitions, an impasse beyond which further debate is futile. Moral hazard involves the transfer of your personal risk to a party which does not naturally bear it(…)

… applying the term to wealthy people choosing how to spend their own money is an abuse of language. I do not transfer my risk to you by not employing you.

Note the double standard in play throughout. Our reader starts by disparaging us for supposed “union envy,” and ends by castigating the wealthy for having the audacity to control their investments. Which is it? Are we supposed to be gracious to union members “living comfortably,” or indignant toward the wealthy for doing the same?

Next: Force in the mirror universe…

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