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One of the words I tire so easily of today is the word "deserve". I hear ads in particular talk about getting something you deserve and producing nothing in return on merit. Dr. Pepper has a commercial promising deserved college funding, hopefully it wants academic performance of some kind. I here car companies talk about extending credit so you can drive a car and that you "deserve" it. I here college professors say students feel they don't "deserve" their poor grades when it is a struggle to keep their attention. Where is this feeling of entitlement going and where will it stop? Why has this become so prevalent? (I am of course projecting that there are others of you who have conjectured the same).

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I'm no sociologist, but the idea of something being "deserved" is closely tied to ego and pride, which are some of the human emotions LEAST susceptible to reason and rational thought. (No one likes to think that they're wrong, especially on a BIG scale.) As over-stressed as we are today, as rare as are the rewards and so common the defeats and setbacks, the LAST thing most of us want to consider is that maybe we're doing this to ourselves - That we "DESERVE" the mess we've gotten ourselves into.

The word also conjures up concepts of an orderly, divinely-guided or purpose-driven universe, where rewards and punishments are dealt out on an individual basis by invisible-but-irresistible characters or beings, imaginary constructs whose alleged strength and wisdom reinforce our morals and beliefs by supposedly sharing them and practicing them.

 

 

THIS FROM PHIL COLLIGNON in a personal communication because he couldn't post it here for some tech reason:

 

At 11:15am on November 3, 2011, Phil CollignonPhil Collignon said…

Me, again.

Either my old computer is failing to read the newer Java applets, or maintenance is going on at this site, so I’ll respond to your newest discussion regarding the subject of "deserve" here…….

No conjecture about this subject, "entitlement mentality" has saturated the country.

I will refrain from Biblical texts that speak to this matter, so’s certain one’s don’t get their panties in a wad, and this worthy discussion degenerates into a pseudo-discussion of ego-tripping and rudeness.

Where else can it lead, but to the eventual downfall of the United States, as we’ve known her for 250 years.

I have a friend here in Reno who has been living illegitimately on our tax-payer money for 16 years.

He is able-bodied, and thinks I’m an idiot for not going on welfare, and continuing my dismal band search in this town that doesn’t seem to care about good ‘ol rock & roll.

I fear the only thing that will shake things up enough for change is another major war (i.e. WWII style), as major wars always have done.

Honestly, in your life there in Alaska, or "here" on the net, do you get the sense that people are, in any real way, passionate about personal responsibility?

I don’t see many, unfortunately.

The only saving grace, so to speak, is that we are all in this mess together.

Misery loves company, and all that jazz.

The reason I posted this is that I am just sick of hearing it used every time I turn a corner. Heck, the only things we "deserve" is what we earn and many times we don't get that! "Virtue is not its own reward" as the old saying goes so even when we earn something there is no guarantee that it will go down recognized. However now you have all these promos etc saying you deserve XYZ etc. My putting this up was kind of an exercise in frustration and I wondered if anybody else sensed the same:) I am a bit surprised at the lack of response; I guess most do not feel as I do.

Most of the people on this site are not here to "debate" - they are here to exchange niceties. I have no problem with that other than I might be barking in the wrong site.

Thank you for your thoughtful response. I think the American Dream is real but the dream I know about requires hard (and I mean a struggle) work and perseverance. Today many of us do not have the attention span to listen to the slightest message or cry from others yet we still believer we "deserve" something. I am really sick of the sense of entitlement as BAF so aptly speaks of. Remember how we Baby Boomers (the me generation) felt as teenagers and young adults. It is not much of a leap to see the addled sense of entitlement. I think that those of us who grew up poor are much more prepared to deal with the ideas of EARNING what we get and achieve. Thank you for jumping in here!

What people deserve, they will eventually attain. That which they wanted however may not be what they needed. It is rarely the case. Of course, if someone acquires something you fell they didn't deserve you are free to moan about it. But there is nothing in society (particularly one which operates under as few restraints as ours) that someone will not eventually come to feel that they are entitled. I'm entitled to a Lamborghini Diablo because let's face it, the really expensive sports cars are wasted on the old, who often achieved their wealth under dubious circumstances. And if this is the case, everyone deserves everything all the time. It's only a question of circumstance and opportunity. The thief deserves the car because he/ she was clever enough to steal it while you undeservedly left your keys in the car. So you are rewarded as much for your stupidity (speaking in generalities) as is the thief due to his/her ingenuity.

To summarize. Whether people deserve or earn anything is completely irrelevant to how it was achieved. If you have some measuring stick say, like higher education, don't waste your time because people with far less education have attained the greatest wealth through the least of means and are thus deserving of everything they want because they thought of the means to achieve their ends and others didn't. Is it fair? Moot point.

I suppose if you achieve it you deserve it in some capacity or another. I posted this because I continually hear advertisers and marketers say get the _________ you deserve when life generally demands that we earn something first, or that deserving something requires more than just qualifying with a pulse. Merit is often the yardstick of "the deserving". That idea seems quaint anymore!

That's my point. What used to be accepted as the norm for what constitutes "deserving" has now been largely relegated to an anecdote about the old days where morality still had some substance. It still does, of course, but now largely to the ones of us who were brought up under another, more grounded set of guidelines. These lines are now blurred by social media, TV shock jocks, and people with completely insane ideas being given free reign to rant and vomit up their ideas of how things should work. I remember a time however when dad was buying that first car for their son or daughter. So the previous generation shouldn't get off the hook entirely. But just like then, what you got in the way of presumed "entitlements" somewhat depended on where you were as a kid. A young person from a wealthy household probably expects a bit more than the young girl living in the trailer. It is what it is sometimes. Families just don't work the same way any longer. Too much diversion. Too many kids with too may electronic gadgets, acquired out of necessity (or so they think.). It's all changed.

Yes, and I wonder if it will ever come back to what we knew. Of course it might not come back exactly as we knew but I think history sometimes has a way of making such mores cyclical. To me, the Depression was a real pivotal event in establishing the value of both a dollar and hard work in achieving a goal, perhaps the idea of the "self made man" is a case in point. I also wonder if the economy makes the real difference. During the time of Depression we went from easy upbeat times to bust. My parents never forgot it's impact and never believed in extensive use of credit cards and paid their balance off every month. The way the economy is now, you have children living with their parents and not going to college because of its cost. Medical bills kill off other opportunities as one ages. Yet still was there ever a time when it was easy? when it was more than just an inconvenience? Also, today you a different retirement system and job market. We don't have the number of jobs because many of them are contracted out to cheaper goods and services in other countries.

So anyway, I think the times dictate the values. I wonder if another economic slump will change things back. I am a Baby Boomer and paid for my own college education; I never had a car until I could make enough money to buy one. Today those two things tend to be parental responsibilities. In sum, I don't have any real answers!

I guess Eisenhower said it best.

"A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both."

You must study history:) Perhaps a degree?

Taught Humanities for a number of years. Gives rise to a lot of perspective from many different points of view.

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