Beatty says everyone in his society is certain nothing will happen to him or her.
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I don't think it's that people don't think responsibility and consequences exist, I think it's that there is a disconnect between their actions and words and these things. It seems to be more of a "yes, there are responsibilities and consequences, but they don't apply to me" type of attitude. I also find it somewhat common that people believe that as long as they don't get caught, they have done nothing wrong.
*Sadly, I do see this attitude in my own school a lot.
I would argue that it is common among American youth as well as (like Pohnpei said) the celebrity world.
America's youth: probably not a new concept, youth in general tend to live with less respect to consequences than those with more experience. This is part of the transition from childhood to adulthood. My addition to this is however, that public schools today tend to enable this culture by removing natural consequences for bad behavior. One (of the potentially endless) examples of this is that many schools have removed the ability to FAIL a class. Either by simply taking away the option to give F's, or allowing students to receive infinite opportunities to succeed with a D, the message is sent that no matter how little effort you put in, you can still be promoted to the next grade. Sadly, high school is the last place on Earth students will get so many chances, for anything.
Celebrities: tend to live by the idea that money will take care of everything. And sadly, when it comes to the drug charges, DUI's, rehab, child custody battles, etc. the media often confirms that this is true.
Yes, I definitely think this is still a common attitude.
I do not think that this sort of thing is common among the regular people of our society. However, I do think that it is more common among the more privileged people in the society.
I think that a perfect example of this can be seen in Ben Roethlisberger the Pittsburgh Steelers' quarterback. Here is a guy who thinks that it is okay for him to get underage girls drunk and have sex with them in bar bathrooms (and he has his bodyguards help him out). This is clearly the kind of thing you do when you don't think anything can happen to you.
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