I wrote this in January 2014. I think it is still pertinent.
According to Wikipedia an entitlement is a guarantee of access to something, based on established rights or by legislation. A “right” is itself an entitlement associated with a moral or social principle based in concepts of social equality .
In a casual sense, the term “entitlement” refers to a notion or belief that one has a right to some particular reward or benefit—if given without deeper legal or principled cause, the term is often given with pejorative connotation (e.g. a “sense of entitlement”).
Now at its core entitlement is a good thing. It ensures that those who are the most vulnerable will not be forgotten by society. The downside is that when some people get a sense of entitlement it can often be used to browbeat everybody else.
I have an itty, bitty incurable disease. I am in a wheelchair. I am unable to work because of said itty, bitty incurable disease. I am not entitled to be a jerk about it. There are those in similar circumstances that believe because they are in an uncomfortable situation the entire world owes them. It does not.
I have met more than a few people who believe that if you are able-bodied you need to kowtow to them. I know a woman who thinks it’s beneath her to say please and thank you. She’s quite happy to order everybody around because you see, she’s in a wheelchair. She doesn’t like me. I point out how rude she is being. I never said I was a nice person!
Every single individual on this planet is entitled. We are entitled to think, to breathe and to communicate as we see fit. We are not entitled to denigrate, to condescend or to judge anyone else. There are people who don’t believe they are entitled to anything and I disagree. We all come into this world exactly the same way. An egg and a sperm walk into a womb and the baby is made. After a whole lot of crunching and groaning a little one breathes air and the journey begins.
I believe that all children are entitled to happiness and to love but unfortunately it doesn’t always work out that way. Hopefully by the time they reach adulthood they recognize that they are entitled just like everybody else. And just like everybody else they are constrained by the laws of the land, of morality and of good sense.