Traditionally, entitlement referred to the condition of the aristocracy, the nobility, the landed gentry; someone with a title. The conservative public relations machine has been very successful at re-branding, in the public mind, safety net programs as “entitlement” programs, or “entitlements” for short. The liberal project started out as an attempt to make sure nobody was entitled to anything; sort of a negative equality to go with their negative liberty. I would say they’ve succeeded mainly at replacing the de jure aristocracy in land with a de facto aristocracy in currency-denominated “wealth.” I myself endorse, at least as an asymptotic goal, post-scarcity, which might be thought of as everyone being entitled to everything. Adopting (for the sake of argument, of course) the rightist credo that “utopia is not an option,” we are stuck with a “pick two” universe; entitlement for some or entitlement for none. Entitlement for some may have something to do with civilization itself, as it may take a certain level of economic surplus to support what might be called a leisure class, and it may take a leisure class to invent handy-dandy tools such as literacy, and maybe some forms of inquiry. This may be reason to believe that civilization (and technology, urbanism, literacy, etc.) are incompatible with anarchy. Be that as it may, the hunter-gatherer lifestyle simply does not appeal to me. I find technology fun as well as useful, and I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to get educated; while respecting the overall tenor of anti-schooling arguments.
There has been some trickle-down of entitlements, but universalizing of even the most basic entitlements seems to elude the forces of progress as if by an Iron Law of Economics. A “first world” nation can be civilized enough for workers to be entitled to basic protections of labor law, but it seems there’s always a (usually migrant) workforce outside the “labor law system,” which only covers “real jobs;” permanent and/or full-time jobs, and the Central Dictate of Market Economics (even in the freed market, to some extent) is that work itself is a privilege and not a right.
From John Madziarczyk (emphasis mine):
I think that the positive features of socialism need to be emphasized. Folks have criticized socialism as being envy, greed, opposition, and potential tyranny without any real overall goal. To me, socialism, while emphasizing equality of condition, is also about the freeing of people to pursue self-realization on a mass scale. It’s about making it possible for individuals and groups to test the outer limits of creativity through liberating them to exercise their minds and their decision making power on all levels of life, through mass democratic participation. This participation will be able to constitute a true co-creation of society. In order for this to occur, society has to become a true commonwealth where all people share in the wealth created by the whole. To become a true commonwealth a socialist revolution of some sort is needed. Measures passed by government under popular pressure can bring us closer to a revolutionary situation, and can help a great number of people, but ultimately there has to be a decisive break with the present society and the replacement of the old by the new. The division of labor has to be destroyed, the domination of society by the rich overthrown, and the control of capital vested in society as a whole as opposed to private hands. Destroying the present division of labor in society, which is the foundation of the various classes in society, entails a restructuring of work on a basic level. Through these means it will be possible to chart a new course into uncharted territory with respect to art, culture, technology, and social institutions as a whole.
There does seem to be a “noble” side of nobility, and it’s a crying shame that certain luxuries are not available to every human being.