Saturday, September 23, 2017


Politico has outed Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price for using high-priced charter flights at taxpayers' expense.

His flacks say Price is entitled to use private luxury planes, because he has to "meet with the American people."

I just hope he schedules me in, so I can share with him my thoughts on the morality of using public office to enrich yourself.

Entitled is a storied word.

Its Latin root intitulare meant "to give a title to." 

English first adopted the word to mean "to bestow a rank on;" and then, in the 15th century, to mean "to award a property title to."

Philosopher Robert Nozick was the first person to associate the word with welfare, in 1974.

A Libertarian, Nozick thought you were only "entitled" to things you made with your own tools and materials.

Anything else—like your public schooling, your polio shots, and your pension—you receive as the result of wealth redistribution, a kind of "forced labor." You don't really deserve those things, Nozick said, because you didn't create them; but you tell yourself they're entitlements, to feel better about robbing the rich.

The same year Nozick's book appeared, Richard Nixon used the word entitlements in his federal budget to mean "government payments."

Eight years later, Ronald Reagan used entitlements in a speech to mean "Social Security"—and the name stuck.

So, if Nozick is right, please tell me: why should Tom Price get welfare?
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