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The Entitled Political Class

We Live in a Two-Class System

When we think of entitled people, the first thing that comes to mind are millennials, who act like society owes them a living or something else. They feel entitled to high grades in college, a good job, promotion, and other benefits of life. In reality, the entitled folks are politicians, who think there is a different set of rules for themselves and everybody else.

A new study has found that some people, who see themselves as special or entitled in some way that others are not, are more likely to disregard ordinary instructions or the usual “order” of things, which most others will accept and follow. Researchers who explored this topic found that the underlying reason is a narcissistic outlook about how the world should work for them.

In essence, this joint study from Cornell and the Harvard Medical School found that people with a greater sense of entitlement are less likely to follow instructions than less entitled people are, because they view the instructions as an “unfair” imposition on them. They would rather lose at something than "submit" to the rules of others.

The fact that the entitled political class acts as if they operate under a less stringent set of rules than the rest of us can be seen in two recent situations. One example is California Governor, Gavin Newsom, who was caught having dinner with a group of friends at The French Laundry – not a cleaning service – but a popular, upscale Napa Valley restaurant. “Disgraceful,” was the reaction from Napa Chamber of Commerce board member and world-renowned truffle chef Ken Frank. “Extremely disappointed,” Bettina Rouas, owner of riverfront bistro Angele, added. “We’ve all been doing whatever we can to follow strict shutdown protocols during the coronavirus — and then to have our governor eat indoors, with a party of twelve, with no masks, and it’s not even family members. It was disappointing and disheartening.”

Last week it was disclosed that White House climate czar John Kerry traveled to Iceland by private jet in 2019 to accept an environmental award and defended his transportation choice to a reporter at the time by calling it, “the only choice for somebody like me.” Jet

Kerry flew to Iceland in October, 2019 to receive the Arctic Circle award, an iceberg sculpture, for his leadership on climate issues and being “a consistent voice pressuring the American authorities to commit to tackle environmental matters,” according to Icelandic outlet RUV.

During the trip, Kerry was confronted by Icelandic reporter Jóhann Bjarni Kolbeinsson on whether his use of a private jet was an “environmental way to travel.”

“If you offset your carbon, it’s the only choice for somebody like me, who is traveling the world to win this battle,” Kerry responded.

The former secretary of state went on to emphasize his climate accomplishments, including negotiating the Paris accord for the U.S. and bringing Chinese President Xi to the table.

“I’ve been involved in this fight for years,” Kerry said.

“I believe the time it takes me to get somewhere, I can’t sail across the ocean, I have to fly to meet with people and get things done,” he continued. “But what I’m doing almost full-time is working to win the battle of climate change. And in the end, if I offset and contribute my life to do this, I’m not going to be put on the defensive.”

Kerry makes it sound like commercial airplanes don’t go to Iceland. Icelandair does and while it’s true there are stops along the way, so what? The American public tolerate it why not Kerry. Perhaps that’s what he means by the statement that flying on a private jet is, “the only choice for somebody like me.” This is the epitome of selfish behavior.

These are only two examples of many where a politician believes the rules don’t apply to themselves. Ethically speaking, this is wrong because we have equal rights and politicians have an ethical obligation to recognize that fact in everything they say and do. Ethics is about appearances and when a politician follows a different set of rules, it may appear to the public that they thinks they are better than the rest of us.

What can be done about it? It’s up to President Biden to adopt an executive order that says if a politician follows a different set of rules than the average American, they would be in violation of the ethical standards adopted by his administration that should be to treat other fairly. This would send a strong signal that a two-class system doesn’t work in the U.S.

Posted by Dr. Steven Mintz, aka Ethics Sage, on February 9, 2021. You can sign up for his newsletter and learn more about his activities at: https://www.stevenmintzethics.com/. Follow him on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/StevenMintzEthics and on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/ethicssage.