The Spamming Of Society
I write every day but it’s not the only thing I do daily; in fact, my life has a fair degree of routine. I do most of the cooking here at the big ranch. After I catch up on my email, yell at the dog to get out of the garbage for the third or fourth time, sometimes paint, practice the guitar, run errands and work on the Great Canadian Novel which is rapidly turning into a life-long commitment. I also spend a good part of my day cleaning spam off my website. Yesterday, I had more than 300 spam hits in my comments section and I’m well over 100 so far today.
Most of the spam is from people and companies selling something; everything from insurance to sex toys – discount Viagra to goose down-filled jackets. The spammers come from around the world and I’ve been hit by spam from Canada, the United States, Russia, South Korea, Japan, France, Germany, Columbia, Brazil and a dozen other countries.
I’ve even had spam from a law firm in Boca Raton, Florida and you now we’ve hit a new ethical low when even lawyers start spamming other people.
I have fairly decent spam blockers, which means that 90% of it gets blocked and diverted to my spam folders but some gets through and has to be manually removed and their URL and other information added to the spam black list. Quite honestly, I have better things to do with my time and I resent having to waste time because of others trying to piggyback without permission, or authorization, on whatever success my website is enjoying.
Basically it’s both theft and the logical extension of the entitlement mentality. Once you’ve made the decision that you are entitled to a share of the earnings of others to pay for your entitlements, it’s a small leap in logic to decide you’re also entitled to whatever else it is you want from anyone else you choose.
We see it every day on the Internet.
People don’t just spam websites in order to try and divert that website’s traffic to theirs in order to try and make a few sales; they pirate music, movies, books, videos and software for which they haven’t paid and which is the intellectual property of others.
In feeding this perverse sense of entitlement, they deprive the product’s owner of sales revenue to which they are properly entitled.
Online, it’s considered part of the ‘virtual democracy’, almost a right to take what doesn’t belong to us, not so much because we genuinely are entitled to it but simply because we can.
In the real world, it’s still considered a criminal act to take things that don’t belong to us and there are serious penalties for shoplifting when you’re caught. Stores have introduced a wide range of security devices to try and cut down on theft but it’s an increasing problem resulting in billions of dollars being lost to shoplifters every year.
Some chalk it up to socio-economic conditions; others to a decline in values. I believe it is simply the overwhelming sense of entitlement that has become the driving force for many these days.
I want, therefore I am. I want, therefore I deserve.
Fulfilling a want at the expense of others is not a right. It doesn’t matter if that want is a new dress, a DVD or free tuition or birth control. The prosperity and moral success of a society is predicated on earning what we want out of life not taking what we want from others.
We are rapidly becoming a society that sneers at individual success as quickly as we envy it. We resent it because of what that success permits the successful to enjoy from their life. Rather than emulate their efforts, we turn to government to provide entitlement and government, which is run by politicians, is only too happy to comply if it will buy votes.
That’s how you end up with a president who a year ago was telling people that individuals don’t earn anything on their own, it’s a collective effort and then at his inaugural speech talks about making it possible for individuals to be successful on their own. The contradiction is lost on him as it is on too many.
It is also how we rationalize demanding others pay their fair share while many don’t pay any share at all. It is a failed belief that when our circumstance prevents us from being or having what we want, it is the fault of others and that they, therefore, owe us. But it is an attitude that is more social and moral cancer than factual assertion.
There is no self-respect in taking from others only a temporary satisfying of the moment’s want. True self-respect comes from personal accomplishment, from earning one’s own way. Sometimes people need a hand up and I have no issue with a society providing that support but there is a significant difference between providing assistance to help someone back to their feet and an expectation of providing whatever someone wants whenever they want it.
Entitlement isn’t restricted to lower income brackets; it is a corrosive and insidious virus that cuts a large swath across all of society from rich to poor. There is something equally as distasteful and simply wrong about executives and business people taking a tax deduction for a business lunch as there is when someone pirates a movie online.
In both cases, they are taking what they want and leaving someone else to pay for it. Almost all of the protests and demonstrations that happen today are about some form of entitlement whether it is protest for more funding for aboriginal communities, free tuition, and women’s issues including free birth control and even environmental protests which are more about unrealistic demands for expenditure by others to accomplish what cannot be reasonably accomplished
We would do better to protest the irresponsibility of the demand for more entitlement and the suppression of an old-fashioned idea – earning our own way in life. Entitlement is spam. It spams our values and our self-respect which only serves to undermine the life we want to live by undermining a personal sense of accomplishment
It never ceases to amaze me how many talk about freedom and being left alone to live their lives as they see fit but fail to recognize that they want to achieve that by having someone else pay for part if not all of it.
There is no freedom in economic dependence on others and there is no morality in stealing what rightfully belongs to someone else.
When we start to remember that again, we will be back on the road to real independence and freedom both as individuals and as a society.
© 2012 Maggie’s Bear
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