Who is Entitled to What?
I am sure somewhere in various legal text, entitlement is defined in relationship to specific contexts.
Outside of specific use of the word in some document, by my observation, the concept of entitlement is available to loose interpretation for a range of social-political purposes.
A very common use is when one group accuses another of assuming entitlement where none exists. This use is linked to denial of entitlement right: “That group thinks they are entitled, but they do not have entitlement.”
An example of use by a group demanding entitlement might be found in a labor movement issue.
Use of the word and concept of entitlement can be found:
In any social-political issue where a case is made that a social structure is not responsible for extending entitled benefits to a group that presently does not have that benefit.
Or in speaking to support extension of an entitled benefit to a group not having the benefit.
Or in speaking to maintain an existing benefit that has come under challenge by a group that seeks to deny an existing entitled benefit.
But what is Entitlement? Who defines it?
Dictionary.com: en⋅ti⋅tle⋅ment [en-tahy-tl-muhnt]
1. the act of entitling. (is this actually a verb, as in ‘entitle’ – yours truly wonders?)
2. the state of being entitled.
3. the right to guaranteed benefits under a government program, as Social Security or unemployment compensation.
Dictionary.com gives earliest origins of ‘entitle’ as entering Middle English (1350-1400) from Middle French, from Late Latin. With meaning 1. of ‘entitle’ as “to give (a person or thing) a title, right, or claim to something; furnish with grounds for laying claim..”
As I review the definitions and history I have not yet discovered what the word ‘entitle’ (intitulare) meant when used by the Latin speaking Romans. I have to stay with what the word seems, in formal definition, to presently mean.
Entitle presently means to guarantee benefits. Usage seems to have passed through English first by Royalty having the right to “issue title rights”; and eventually to democratic governments having this same right.
With regards to modern day, especially current and immediate day in the United States, there is an issue of whether or not “health care benefit” (medical consultation and treatment when needed) is an “entitled” right to the entire citizen body.
Whether or not all citizens are so entitled, seems to come down to individual interpretation. As individuals collect themselves in to interest groups, the power to insist on health care entitlement (or to deny) is a matter of socio-economic bias.
Socio-economic bias is unavoidably subjective. Socio-economic biases are rooted in individual (and therefore group) belief.
And belief is not objective. I will spare us complex dictionary authority but for this: belief is “conviction refer to acceptance of, or confidence in, an alleged fact or body of facts as true or right without positive knowledge or proof.” (Dictionary.com – ‘belief’)
This brings us to awareness that whether or not all citizens are entitled to health care benefit hinges on decision made without knowledge or proof.
Where can we possibly find sufficient knowledge or proof to made a determination of benefit?
Ah – from where did T. Jefferson and crew claim our rights? The Declaration of Independence draws its authority from “inalienable rights”, from “self-evident truths”, that which is “inarguable”. They claim, in effect, that some rights exist at birth of the individual. Inherent rights. Rights that cannot be separated from the living, breathing, individual.
They also claim, in the Declaration of Independence, (bottom half of first paragraph), that safety from tyranny is associated with inherent rights. They state that if tyranny interferes or blocks inalienable right to safety (or exercise of other inalienable rights), the citizenry is required to set things right – to challenge the tyrannical force.
It remains to examine whether or not tyranny exists in the present health care system. I say it does – in the present practices of HC insurers.
Some are convinced that a ‘real’ threat of tyranny comes from ‘big government’. I agree this can be an ever present possibility and add our citizen task is to be vigilant. I also state, based on my decades examination of human behavior, that economic tyranny from large corporate interests is not only possible, but actively at work.
All the fears of what would happen with government agency to assure health care are presently in place via large corporate delivery. We have rationing by acceptance or denial of individuals for any coverage, and rationing by acceptance or denial of specific treatment for insured individuals. We have over 40 million living without safety of timely medical attention, and some 75 million more estimated “under-insured” – at risk of their insurance not covering needs that may arise.
Based on intention of our founding fathers, I believe government is our best “coordinator” for a range of essential services. I believe compassion is an “inalienable” force – born into us. I believe if/when we settle down and examine what we can accomplish to keep citizens productive and contributing, we need to consider either a national non-profit cooperative insurance agency (make it available), or we need to use a government agency to accomplish the same thing.
We need also to allow our innate capacity for compassion to enter our hearts in decision making.
My Best To all! MaggieAnn