Entitlement, Dependency, Control

Responsibility isn’t something people are born with. It’s learned. It’s learned by prioritizing, making tradeoffs, weighing the benefits, costs, and risks of alternative courses of action, and dealing with the consequences of one’s decisions.

When an overprotective parent spoils their child by shielding them from hard lessons, or gives the child whatever it wants so the child will love them more, they fail to instill in the child a sense of responsibility. Instead they encumber it with a false sense of entitlement to whatever the child desires. Later, the child is faced with a rude awakening when thrust into a world where it has to compete with others who are accustomed to making hard choices and working for the things they desire.

Once a sense of entitlement is engrained in someone’s belief system, it’s difficult to overcome. Developing a sense of responsibility is counter to their conditioning, and they cannot easily grasp the notion that they are really not entitled to anything they haven’t earned. When something doesn’t come easily, instead of getting fired up with a sense of determination to work harder and make the necessary sacrifices to achieve their goal, they feel resentful that it isn’t provided for them. Whatever nominal effort they put into it seems like it ought to be enough. They feel a deep sense of personal injustice that they can’t have things that other people have, oblivious to the tradeoffs and sacrifices others have had to make to acquire those things.

In the real world, nobody is entitled to own a house. If you can’t afford a house, the responsible thing to do is to work and save and sacrifice until you can afford to buy one. By encouraging people to buy houses they really can’t afford, the government sets them up for failure later on when the house payments become a burden they cannot sustain. And when that time comes, the “homeowners” won’t consider that, until their mortgage is paid in full, the house isn’t actually theirs. Instead, they’ll feel entitled to the house in which they’re living, and deeply resentful of losing it.

A person who buys a house incurs a responsibility. If they’re shielded from the full impact of the responsibility they’re incurring, by making it easier than it would be (in a free market) for them to assume it, it gives them a false sense of security and makes the responsibility seem lighter than it is. That is not a wise thing to do. And the current economic crisis is a perfect illustration of that folly. Yet the government is going down the same path again, with the FHA taking on the role once played by AIG.

This is just one of many examples of the government fostering an entitlement mentality in its citizens. Perhaps, like the parent who spoils their child in an attempt to buy its love, politicians see this as a way to buy votes. But, like overprotective parents trying to make life easier for their precious dumplings, when government shields people from the onus of personal responsibility, it does not strengthen them; it weakens them. And it not only weakens the individual beneficiaries of the government’s largesse, it weakens the entire economy, and the underlying moral fiber of our nation.

For years, our government has been actively encouraging people to become less and less self-reliant. By the same token, it has been making us more and more dependent on government. The flip side of dependency is control. The more dependent one is on another, the more control the other has over them. Perhaps the underlying motivation is not so innocent as politicians trying to buy their constituents’ love. Perhaps it’s far more insidious.

The current crisis in our nation is not just an economic crisis. It has far broader implications. The only way out of this crisis is to bring about a fundamental change. — Not the kind of change that accelerates the crisis, leading to ever more weakness, dependency, and state control, but a return to the once deeply-held values that made this country great: personal responsibility, individual sovereignty, and economic freedom.

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Daddy Obama Understands

Lately there’s been a little typical sort of political flare-up because I said something that everybody knows is true. …

Oh, is that why there’s been a little typical sort of political flare-up? Because Barack Obama said something everybody knows is true? And what was it again that we all know is true? — Oh yes, it was that the reason the majority of working class Americans don’t support Obama’s policies is because “they get bitter; they cling to guns, or religion, or antipathy to people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment, or anti-trade sentiment, as a way to explain their frustrations.”

Now, some people might feel it’s extremely condescending of an Ivy League millionaire to dismiss the legitimate concerns of a large proportion of American citizens about the erosion of their 2nd amendment rights, the rampant problems associated with illegal immigration, or their deep dedication to religious convictions, as just “a way to explain their frustrations.” But what these cynical critics fail to realize is that Obama wasn’t attacking these poor benighted folks, he was making excuses for their ignorance. He’s actually on their side, don’t you see?

… Which is that there are a whole bunch of folks in small towns in Pennsylvania, in towns right here in Indiana, in my home town in Illinois, who are bitter. They are angry. They feel like they’ve been left behind. They feel like nobody’s paying attention to what they’re goin’ through. …

And that explains why they hold onto these ridiculous notions about guns and religion and immigration. It isn’t that these issues are actually important. They’re just expressing their frustration at feeling “left behind,” kind of like little kids who get petulant and sulky when they don’t feel anybody’s paying attention to them.

… So I said, well, you know, when you’re bitter, you turn to what you can count on. So people, they vote about guns. Or they take comfort from their faith, and their family and their community. And they get mad about illegal immigrants who are coming over to this country. Or they get frustrated about how things are changing. That’s a natural response. …

Obama understands. Other, less enlightened, politicians may take these citizens’ concerns at face value and think the problem is that they don’t want to lose their right to own guns, or that they’re concerned about the social and economic impacts of illegal immigration, but Obama knows better. The real problem is that these folks don’t feel like they’re getting enough attention.

Once Obama convinces them he’s paying attention, they’ll realize they don’t really need to own guns (which we all know is not only unnecessary, but dangerous). They’ll no longer need to cling to their archaic religious beliefs (that don’t include racial separatism or anti-American sentiment). They’ll realize that illegal immigration isn’t really a problem because, once we grant them all citizenship, they won’t be illegal anymore. And, not only can the taxpayers absorb the costs of increased immigration, they can no doubt be made to fork over a few entitlements for working class folks, too. (He didn’t actually state this outright, but he did imply that he’d make sure they’re not “left behind” anymore.) As an enlightened Democrat, Obama knows that every problem can be solved by a simple redistribution of wealth. And, once these poor benighted souls understand that there are goodies in the sack for them too, they’ll come around to seeing that daddy Obama really is the candidate for them.

… And, now I didn’t say it as well as I should have, because the truth is that these traditions that are passed on from generation to generation, those are important. That’s what sustains us. But what is absolutely true is that people don’t feel like they’re being listened to. …

And here’s where he pulls the switcheroo, and changes the subject from making excuses for the unenlightened masses to pretending he’s the answer they’re looking for. Because, unlike the other candidates (who are actually addressing the issues about which the voters are expressing concern), Obama is listening to them. — Ironically, he isn’t actually hearing them, but that’s because he already knows the answers. He alone understands that it isn’t really about the issues, but about appeasing their feelings of bitterness and resentment.

… And what we need is a government that is actually paying attention. A government that is fighting for workin’ people, day in and day out. Makin’ sure that we are allowing them to live out the American Dream. And that’s what this campaign is about.

And here’s where he ties it all up with a neat little bow. Obama is the candidate who will deliver the American dream. To the workin’ people. Amen.

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