Homo Sapiens Entitlus: a species emerges
There is a staggering degree of entitlement mentality that wanders through America’s emergency departments. In the 19 years since I finished residency, it has grown in ways I could never have foreseen. It seems that everyone is entitled to pain medicine (which is causing ever increasing deaths in America) and everyone is entitled to disability at younger and younger ages (‘I got the degenerative disc disease, doc,’ they say at 25 years of age). Our patients are entitled to work-excuses, and to CT scans, to patient care representatives and in short, entitled to whatever it is they desire.
A recent patient was very angry that we would not give her supplies of both antibiotic ointment and bandages to use for her minor injury over the coming week. She was adamant that she had no money. No money, that is, after paying for her cigarettes and smart-phone package. She was most upset, it seemed, that the nurse failed to bring her a Sprite in a timely manner.
Mind-numbing; truly mind-numbing.
I think over the physicians and nurses, medics and techs, and all the rest who come to work everyday, in places where they are understaffed and often underpaid, and where they will see individuals who will abuse them, and will then say, ‘I don’t know why you’re upset…I pay my bills,’ only to find that those patients have Medicaid. In fact, the care-givers bringing Sprite and dispensing bandages, working overtime to afford their own children and benefits, are paying those bills.
But I didn’t write this to moan and complain. I wrote it to put forth an idea. My idea is this: perhaps the ones abusing our systems are the fittest of all!
Consider that evolutionary theory is about survival. Keep in mind that biologists tend to equate fitness with survival. It seems, then, that the welfare-queens, the addicts, the chronic criminals, the serial fathers, the Meth-heads who use the system and abuse our good graces may be…the most fit! They have no compunction about copulation, and thus out-breed the responsible public. They are sometimes violent and aggressive in positively neolithic ways, and let’s face it, to the modern mind nothing was more true to our natures than that age-old struggle to survive as we envision it in the life of the cave-man!
As the money dries up, and the demands for more sound more loudly, it may be that evolution is happening! As the workers, the responsible parents, the ones staying up at night helping their kids learn, or caring for sick relatives are asked to do more for less, their opposites find ever more creative ways to receive benefits, avoid work, obtain disability, bring litigation and simply have more time, more things, more children and less responsibility! And as politicians pander to the loudest and worst among us, the quiet, the best, the producers, the ones too busy doing right to lobby are simply put upon more and more. As the morality of the worst becomes ascendent and the ethics of the best are held up to mocking ridicule, it may be that we are simply the victims of natural forces.
Yes, friends, the ones taking and using and abusing may be the fittest of all, in a game where obtaining advantage and survival is all. And since many believe we have evolved altruism for the collective good, even this tendency (if true) may be aiding the success of those who should not, to all rights, succeed at all as those formerly considered fit are plundered by those now more so.
I’m no Darwinist, though I agree that species change in response to pressures. And I don’t necessarily agree that survival = fitness (of course, I’m a Christian, so I have a different perspective on that sort of thing). But from everything I see at work, I have to wonder if I’m not on a fading branch of the evolutionary tree. And if one day, scientists might not look back upon the time when Homo Sapiens Productive gave way to the rise of Homo Sapiens Entitlus, because the latter had the foresight, and absence of morals, to take what it wanted and continually demand more. You have to respect their boldness, even if you find their actions horrendous.
In other words, I fear my extinction isn’t so far away.
I think I need a Sprite…of course, I’ll have to get it myself!
(Wait a minute, can I get protection under the Endangered Species Act? Look at me! I’m evolving!)