There is often talk of a culture of entitlement, a rather cancerous form of demanding for oneself that which is unearned on the basis of simply being. I fear however that the problems we see, manifests itself from something far more sinister. I see the entitlement culture as the glossy veneer of a far larger societal problem, that being a large and growing part of the population who are narcissistic sociopaths.
Without knowing the psychological definition and diagnosis of these traits it can be briefly summarised as ; someone who believes that rules and law apply to everyone else but they are the exception to which the laws either don’t apply or should bend to suit their needs . There is also a part of this group that feels that the state should be complicit in this and favour this subjective application of the ‘law’.
Let’s look at a few examples, one in which many of would see it, is the general behaviour on the roads where everyone’s acceptance of and adherence to the road laws is essential for its functioning. I know that the wheels on my vehicle cannot make a full rotation before an explicit demonstration of this trait occurs. It’s virtually the motto of the taxi industry and is clear as day when it comes to our road death stats, drunk driver stats and the amount we pay in insurance. I think crime is simply littered with this; gangs are a prime example of anti-social, self aggrandising and power -seeking behaviour outside of law and at the expense of society. With one in four men in SA are self confessed rapists, it’s another display of this condition were they are owed sexual gratification by women and they have the right to take it. We see examples of this in government all over but probably most importantly in the erosion of parliamentary powers and accountability were by ministers flout their duties in contempt of parliament .This is a fundamental requirement for genuine accountability to representatives of the people. I saw it in the Afcon when our seat specific tickets wasn’t a good enough reason to remove people who had sneaked in and had taken our seats outside of a 30 min argument with police (nearly every ticket holder had the same problem in our area).
It seems to be a very pervasive problem and we as a collective society seem more than willing to not only enable this but to promote, encourage and repeat it. The worst of this, is the incredible efforts and mental gymnastics that people go through to dissolve personal accountability , how many times do you hear about a official stealing taxpayer money and only after an extended leave of fully paid time to go through disciplinary hearing they leave the position . How about criminal charges for a criminal act! I have a new line for teachers to put into curriculum that’s a bit different to the everyone is a special and a superstar line that’s been the stock item.
‘You are unique, special in this quality but no more unique, deserving or favoured than anyone else without earning such distinction.’