Entitlitis: A Progressive Mental Disorder


[en-tahy-tl-ahy-tis] noun.

a psychosis characterized by the subject’s inability to discern rights from entitlements, most common among proponents of “social or redistributive justice.” Commonly diagnosed alongside fairmania*, patients afflicted with entitlistis are functionally incapable of distinguishing the concept of unfettered access from the concept of provision. A contemporary example would be the inability to discern the right to access healthcare services from an entitlement to receive those services at a cost reduced or waived.

Although further research is required, it is believed entitlitis most likely results from institutional deficiencies experienced during childhood, particularly parental neglect to instruct wards of the necessity to earn provisions. Since the nature of childhood is such that sustenance is provided as a condition of custody, if children are not instructed to expect otherwise, they may expect to have sustenance provided perpetually. Left unchecked, this expectation may become irreversible, leaving the afflicted functionally retarded and vulnerable to becoming the ward of any party who will provide sustenance.

Case Study – Barbara Boxer

The proposed environmental causes of entitlitis are supported by the pervasive nature of the disorder in recent decades. The seemingly exponential spread of the disorder may be a consequence of undiagnosed cases achieving leadership positions in some of the every institutions whose deficiencies contribute to its spread.

A potential contemporary case study is the United States senator from California, Barbara Boxer. Recent evidence of possible entitlitis came in the form of her arguments on the Senate floor indicating a perceived “right” to tax-payer subsidized abortions. Arguing against a proposed amendment to the currently debated health care reform bill which would restrict purchasers of government-subsidized insurance policies from filing claims to cover the cost of abortion, Boxer stated, “Why are women being singled out here? It’s so unfair. We don’t tell men that if they want to … buy insurance coverage through their pharmaceutical plan for Viagra that they can’t do it.” An analysis of these comments indicates potential fairmania*, a condition commonly associated with entitlitis. Also noteworthy is the senator’s inability to distinguish purchasing a product in the private sector from receiving a publicly subsidized product, a major indicator of entitlitis.

The diagnosis seems most appropriate given the thesis of Boxer’s argument, “This amendment would be the biggest rollback to a woman’s right to choose in decades.” Accepting for the sake of analysis the contentious premise that women have the “right” to kill their unborn children, Boxer here frames an entitlement to abortion services as recognition of that right. The psychotic nature of Boxer’s argument is apparent in its potential application in policy, where women would have the “right” to kill their children and compel other people to pay for the cost. A similar argument made by a defendant in a murder trial would be rejected outright as ludicrous, i.e. I had the right to stab him, Your Honor, and the state should reimburse me for the knife.

Proposed Course of Treatment

Entitlitis is potentially fatal to a society if its proliferation continues unchecked. When the expectation for provisions exceeds productivity, a clearly unsustainable condition manifests, perfectly analogous to physical starvation. While short term starvation is survivable, long-term starvation leads inexorably to death. Likewise, a long-term lack of productivity coupled with sustained or increasing demands for provisions will inexorably cripple a society.

Fortunately, while the prognosis for untreated entitlitis is dire, the treatment itself is simple. Awareness of entitlitis before affliction may prevent its manifestation and inhibit its effect from those already afflicted. Education regarding the true nature of rights as boundaries keeping others out, rather than keys letting others in, coupled with an adamant refusal to accept inaccurate use of the language, may serve to quarantine the afflicted by evoking an institutional environment in which they cannot effectively function – that is to say one of personal responsibility.

* fair⋅man⋅i⋅a [fair-mey-nee-uh] noun. A psychosis characterized by an expectation that one’s personal perception of fairness shape their reality, regardless of how that perception conflicts with others or established measures of justice.