Post forthcoming, but I realized that I could empty out the ruck sack of "earn" in one utterly depleted phrase: "No pain, no gain."
"It hurt while I got it, and the amount of pain is the amount of deserving to the acquisition" is one of the full statements of "earning" in the United States. Therefore, the woman who can eat all she wants and never lose a curve or gain a lump has not earned her figure, but the woman who frets at the gym and diet counter has, and the man who lifts barbells has earned his muscles more than the man whose body is simply large and hung with muscles.
This grand, well thought out principle leads us to wonderful conclusions. From this basis, we gather that all things difficult are deserved more than those easy, including torture. The information obtained by torture is better than that obtained by discourse because it had so much pain and danger in it. The sport that involves least protective gear, highest speeds, and most violence is the most "athletic." The artwork that looks like a daubed hand of a five year old had made it but is comprised of chiseled granite and diamond over a space of a mile is praiseworthy. Why, just look how much sweat went into it.
It also leads to the Lexis driver going across three spaces in the parking lot. It cost a lot of money to buy that car, and therefore that car has more rights than others. It hurt. It's worth.
Go on, Johnny, and push at that weight stack, and remember that there is no gain without pain, and pain is a sign of being deserving, except, of course, in some cases.
The principle that durance is the measure of justice in acquisition is absurd, of course, but that's how we clowns think and act. The actual standard that we perverted to get here is the principle of sacrifice. Sacrifice cannot be equated with pain, nor with unpleasantness, nor money. I dare say that the gym rat is choosing that pain and has some pleasure in it. Sacrifice would be duty without compensation. That would create worthiness, alright, but we don't see it anymore.
No, we stick to 'if it feels bad, it must be special,' and then we lie. After all, the person who cleans out septic systems has a more unpleasant job than the man who writes advertising. The woman or man who works in the weather on a framing crew has a more unpleasant and painful job than the one who works in an accounting house. The one who pulls weeds, sprays pesticides, and gets a face full of chemicals so that others may have lawns in insane weather endures far more than the people with the lawn who lead teams of engineers. In each case, though, we say that the richer person has "earned it." The poorer person, who will pay more in taxes, will not complain about government services, but we will hear unendingly from some of those others about how "their" "hard earned" money is being taken. It was earned, after all, because they endured for it.
The gamblin' man is rich, and the workin' man is poor, as Woody Guthrie said, but today we actually pretend that they earned the same.