No, this is not a to do list. I am not lining up for some nefarious deeds in the near future. Maybe the not so near future… ? Nah, silly me. I see these three words as my guide for conduct. I will endeavour to not do anything illegal, immoral or unethical. The legal issue is pretty straightforward. Laws are written down and enforced. It is a way of making groups of people behave. Common sense should be a part of that but we all know how that works. The tricky bit comes when you’re dealing with issues of morality and ethics.
Ethics are something that is dictated by society or specific cultures. Morality is our internalization of that and how we respond to said society. Unfortunately, both seem to have the ability to waiver and re-create themselves depending on the time of day and the weather forecast. Do I sound a wee bit sarcastic?
If you could travel back in time, you would find some differences in the laws used to govern society. The basics were all the same: killing bad, theft frowned upon, fraud, assault and so on. But there were other laws in which, as we have evolved, we saw the inequalities in society and have endeavoured to correct them. We also made a point of putting these laws in writing which allows us to enforce them. We still have a ways to go.
Ethics have also changed over time and that is not a bad thing. They are not stagnant and should grow as we grow. But why does it seem as if every politician, every dictator, every person in authority seems to make it their goal to change ethics to accommodate their platform? The whole concept of morality and ethics should be there for the benefit of all. Globally, locally and individually. You know the whole idea of ‘doing unto others as you would have them do onto you’? Why do people forget that? You do not want to be cheated out of your life savings? So why do some people think it’s OK to do it to others? Yes, I am we bit naïve. I like to believe in the good of people. I like to . . .
So, I will give other people the benefit of the doubt until they prove me wrong. They so often do. And I’m going to try to live my life according to my principles: nothing illegal, immoral or unethical. Well, I said I would try!
According to Wikipedia an entitlement is a guarantee of access to something, based on established rights or by legislation. A “right” is itself in 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.