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Saturday, November 26, 2005

Culture of Entitlement Part III

To recap the first two point of the Wells analysis regarding the shift in North American society:

1. Character has been replaced by Personality.
2. Virtues have been replaced by Values.

Wells adds these further points:

3. Nature has been replaced by the Self.

It used to be that people would cite certain behaviour as being "human nature," meaning that it was common to all people. Today, there are no common experiences, only the unique and personally interpreted experience of the Self. This focus on the Self is epitomized in the statement, "It just seems right for me." There is no regard for rightness or truth that is universal to all. It only matters if it is right or true in the eyes of the Self.

This is how an individual can justify murder, adultery, stealing---without remorse. It is because they look at the action through the eyes of the Self, and from that perspective alone, it seemed like the right thing to do. It doesn't matter that the rest of the world thinks their actions are wrong!



4. Guilt has been replaced by Shame.

Again the external standard/ internal standard shift is evident in the replacement of Guilt with Shame. Guilt was something that was objectively assessed, as in a court of law. You might not feel guilty, and still be guilty, because Guilt is objective.

But Shame is subjective. Shame is the feeling I get when I don't meet standards of approval. The modern therapy culture tells everyone to reject Shame. It tells us not to "feel bad," but to "feel good."

After a while, we are so bent on avoiding feelings of Shame, that we become Shame-less. But since Shame has replaced Guilt, we are also Guilt-less, in our minds.

And so individuals can do cruel or crooked things, while claiming innocence, and refusing to feel troubled by it (certain politicians and murderers come to my mind--or an ex-spouse or ex- business partner may come to yours).

In my next post, I want to apply these ideas to what Judge Gomery calls the "culture of entitlement" in the Liberal governing party.

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The usual solution through out history, to rectify these peaks in civilization, has been war. Will history repeat itself? ... I think were getting close, maybe in the next few decades. War has the cleansing effect of pulling everyone together for a common cause, thus tearing down the notions of the self. IMHO

ABF,

Excellent point. The horror of war exposes our guilt, and forces us to face up to reality instead of trying to escape from it.

Think of the situation in Britain prior to WWII. Nobody wanted to face the truth and reality of the threat of war. Men like Baldwin and Chamberlain didn't want to admit the reality of Hitler's motives. Instead they looked through their own rose colored glasses and believed in 'peace in our time'.

Thankfully Churchill saw Hitler for what he was, Churchill declared him objectively guilty, and then rallied the Allies to execute the sentence of that verdict.

What many people forget is that among the British, Churchill was called a doomsayer and war-monger who was out of touch with reality. Thankfully, Churchill saw things aright.

That was an excellent and highly insightful post. As much as I had been thinking along those lines, your post really clarified it for me in my mind.
Now, who among us wouldn't want to be like Churchill?

Spurn the scorn.

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