Monthly Archives: December 2022


by Reid Fitzsimons

I have a friend who was raised in relative poverty but, through hard work and smart life decisions, became quite wealthy. A number of years ago his son, at perhaps the age of 13, went through an obnoxious spoiled period- very mouthy and said pretty vile things. If he had to be home by 9, or to bed by 10 on a school night, life was UNFAIR, and one of his refrains was “I HAVE RIGHTS!” Many of us can recall going through similar adolescent phases, and thankfully most of us grew up and out of this “it’s all about me” selfishness,”as did this young man.

It’s interesting that the term “rights” is so often invoked by privileged kids (in the years I spent do-gooding in impoverished countries I don’t recall ever hearing it). Of course, to them it’s an ill-defined generic word that essentially means, “I should get my way, I deserve whatever I want!” Unfortunately, this understanding and interpretation of “rights” is increasing in the US as we’ve become wealthier, more selfish, greedier, and more shallow: “rights” have become little more than political and cultural weapons and slogans, without regard for what they really are, and it is indeed pernicious to trivialize them. A “right” is not an argument for “I want what I want, and I want it now.”