Entitlement: Rights, Expectations, Commitments

A functioning society, like all things, has a cost. With the hardship that may come in the sacrifice of some of our natural freedoms, or a compromise of our desires we come to form certain expectations of care,  courtesy, and conditions in exchange for our willingness to contribute to the social fabric. If not, why else would we give up so much, were it not for the faith we have in the institution of society itself?

This expectation is not unfounded, particularly in the United States, we are constitutionally guaranteed specific protections under the Bill of Rights, and other amendments, protections that are held to be inalienable and self-evident, and yet they have not been proven to be ubiquitous through out the land, and all who inhabit it, citizen or otherwise.

So I felt it necessary to not only inspect these expectations for the social conditions we live in, but the validity and feasibility of being granted what is promised given where we are and where we’ve come from. This month I will ponder deeply the implications of this arrangement. As it seems, make certain commitments to pay taxes, abide by the laws, and relate to each other in general accordance with some unwritten social norms. If we do not adhere to these rules then we have to face punishment or shame of various kinds, almost without fail for not holding up our end of the bargain.

But who then holds society itself accountable for providing the protections each of us hold dear? Who is the arbiter of these inalienable rights when the the government fails to insure them? My questions have thus far fallen on deaf ears. This means to me that the answer must be sought after, and perhaps it might have to be created.

On the other side of things there are expectations of society that are unjust or unrealistic in the first place, and yet they seem to be met with accommodation based on who has power or who is willing to be most aggressive or violent in order to have their expectations met. I wonder if violence is so intolerable that we condone it with submission, simply to have it ceased, so we not then create a paradigm where violence is legitimized?

Socio-politically in the context of privileged classes, sexism, racism and other forms of systematic entitlement we see invalid expectations validated. And interpersonally we also see relationships buckle and break under the weight of unexpressed expectations with no basis. We should be willing to investigate where we acquire our interpersonal expectations and also how we respond to the insufficiencies of our societies ability to uphold it commitments.

I will certainly be doing so this month.





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