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17 March 2011

A cut and paste error

In my work as a print-media layout monkey, every week or so I have a situation with an ad where I am cutting and pasting blocks of copy in a certain order. Occasionally during that something takes my attention away from the task in front of me and I paste the same thing twice or worse I paste something from one job into another.

As Americans we enjoy certain Constitutionally protected rights. Most of them are in the amendments to the Constitution but all of them are summed up in the phrase, "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." There is always debate as to just what that means, especially pursuing happiness and we won't go into that here. Many of us make a mistake similar to the second one I listed about one of my job processes. We take the word "right" and substitute the meaning of "entitlement." We talk rights but seek entitlements. We say we have a right to this or that but mean we're entitled to it.

This error, which most make unconsciously, is what's behind the avarice of those who are forever after favors from some politician or other or from government itself and refuse to take action to improve their lives themselves. It's also behind the apathy and antipathy that I see in many who seek the same from anyone who might provide it.

The solution isn't easy and is going to have to span lifetimes. We didn't just start making this mistake since WWII. Reprogramming an entire culture starts in the home. Parents have to train children to live self-reliant lifestyles, to make conscious decisions and to eschew pernicious notions like "entitlement." Instead of saying "I want what's coming to me," one needs to say "Through my work I want to attract new and better opportunities into my life.

We've been communicating with ourselves and one another incorrectly for a long time. It's time that changed...and it is.

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