Vox Rodentae

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Entitlement, Tough Love, and the Bat

A lonely young man sits on a bench in a small town. It's a place he's come to from somewhere much smaller, and though this town seems big now, soon it will become too small for him, too. The small town he left is no place special; just a little place where people are born and die, and in between they manage to grow enough to put food on the table and clothes on their backs. The only thing he ever had was hard work, pounded into him day after day, because there wasn't anything else. The young man sighs, and gets to his feet. It's been a long day hunting for a job, but tomorrow, he vows, tomorrow is the day he will be hired, and then no one can stop him. A few years pass, and the man is no longer quite so young. He's married now, and has 3 kids, and the family's looking at moving to The City because there's more opportunity there. His family isn't poor, not like he was coming up, because he promised himself that his children would know a better life, and have real opportunities - he would serve as their example. Many years down the road, the children have all grown up and moved away from home; there are grandchildren now. He and his wife are comfortable, and their children are doing well. Their father made it his mission to instill in them the meaning and the value of work. They absorbed this lesson, to varying degrees, and have been happy with their lives because their accomplishments are their own. They've made their way to where they are now by the dint of their own hard work. And somewhere inside that old man, sits a young man on a bench who can sit and relax for a minute longer, because there isn't a rush anymore.

Don't know what made me think of that, except maybe the growing feeling I have about the Cult of Entitlement that has pervaded our society so deeply that we have all become influenced, often without even realizing it. It seems to go wonderfully hand-in-glove with the Cult of Victimhood; when one is a "victim" society obviously "owes" the victim some form of compensation for that status. Or so we've been led to believe. It comes out in a variety of ways, from the simple: " I should get that because I want it/I was good in the store" that you might hear from a child, to the slightly more (and I hesitate to even use this term) mature extortion you hear from, say, the crooks/ politicians in New Orleans.

Something has gone seriously wrong. When did we, as a people, go from picking ourselves up after an accident or storm and setting about clearing away the damage, fixing what could be fixed, helping our neighbors and getting on with life? I'm pretty sure those are the people federal aid grants were intended for, and not the trash who invaded Houston, jacking up the crime rates, lowering the education rates, and making the lives of hotel workers in the city a living nightmare. Nor, I'm sure, were they intended to support people who are actively trying to kill us. (At least I'm really hoping that's true!)

Somewhere I read that all our federal aid packages paid out around the world were basically bribes to all the little tinpot dictators in the world to try and keep their countries from causing or going to war. It might be true, might not. But what it's done is create a sense of entitlement in most countries around the world that the US owes them money because it's bigger and better than they are. Well, yes, we are. But I certainly don't see that as any reason to compensate them for taunting or sniping at us. If they want those aid dollars, I say let them earn 'em the hard way - through work. Do you have a tour industry? Organize pleasant trips for American tourists. Do you have a work industry? Get back to work! Are you sending your children (girls included) to school? Well, what are you waiting for? - Get those kids over there now! I'm not against incentives for things like learning not to pee in your drinking water, suppressing marxist thought (one of the single most lethal things in the 20th century), how a modicum of family planning can improve your situation in life, or the teaching of basic human hygiene (always a good one, that). Real civil engineering can maybe net a bigger prize or bonus, and choosing a fair representative government (doesn't even have to be a democracy) for the people could be like a sort of jackpot. I don't know - it's quite late at night, and at this point, I'm wagging it, but sooner or later the Tough Love bat has got to come out - maybe this should be before the warthog has grown to its full size?

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