Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Nation of Unearned Entitlement Dependents

Don Peck, a deputy managing editor for The Atlantic, has a piece posted online titled How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America, which is a bit of a longish read on a subject which is actually self evident, though Peck’s article does articulate various postulations why a new jobless era will transform America.

In reading the article, I was struck by a particular passage which I think goes to the root of the problem, and which is the prime cause for a majority of issues affecting America today, politically and socially.  The relevant passage from page 2 of Peck’s piece..

Many of today’s young adults seem temperamentally unprepared for the circumstances in which they now find themselves. Jean Twenge, an associate professor of psychology at San Diego State University, has carefully compared the attitudes of today’s young adults to those of previous generations when they were the same age. Using national survey data, she’s found that to an unprecedented degree, people who graduated from high school in the 2000s dislike the idea of work for work’s sake, and expect jobs and career to be tailored to their interests and lifestyle. Yet they also have much higher material expectations than previous generations, and believe financial success is extremely important. “There’s this idea that, ‘Yeah, I don’t want to work, but I’m still going to get all the stuff I want,’” Twenge told me. “It’s a generation in which every kid has been told, ‘You can be anything you want. You’re special.’”

In her 2006 book, Generation Me, Twenge notes that self-esteem in children began rising sharply around 1980, and hasn’t stopped since. By 1999, according to one survey, 91 percent of teens described themselves as responsible, 74 percent as physically attractive, and 79 percent as very intelligent. (More than 40 percent of teens also expected that they would be earning $75,000 a year or more by age 30; the median salary made by a 30-year-old was $27,000 that year.) Twenge attributes the shift to broad changes in parenting styles and teaching methods, in response to the growing belief that children should always feel good about themselves, no matter what. As the years have passed, efforts to boost self-esteem—and to decouple it from performance—have become widespread.

These efforts have succeeded in making today’s youth more confident and individualistic. But that may not benefit them in adulthood, particularly in this economic environment. Twenge writes that “self-esteem without basis encourages laziness rather than hard work,” and that “the ability to persevere and keep going” is “a much better predictor of life outcomes than self-esteem.” She worries that many young people might be inclined to simply give up in this job market. “You’d think if people are more individualistic, they’d be more independent,” she told me. “But it’s not really true. There’s an element of entitlement—they expect people to figure things out for them.” (all bold by ed.)

The portions of the above passage which I have highlighted, I think, provide us with the answer as to why America is in the state it is in.  This false sense of self-esteem in individuals, decoupled from performance, and which was and is fully supported by parents and teachers, is encapsulated in AYSO’s Six Philosophies, particularly AYSO’s “Everyone Plays®” squishy reasoning.

Our program’s goal is for kids to play soccer so we mandate that every player on every team must play at least 50% of every game…

Which leads to this statement regarding “Balanced Teams” from AYSO’s Six Philosophies.

Each year we form new teams as evenly balanced as possible because it’s more fun and a better learning experience when teams of similar ability play…

And which is followed by this AYSO philosophical musing on “Open Registration.”

Our program is open to all children between 4 and 19 years of age who want to register and play soccer. Interest and enthusiasm are the only criteria for playing. There are no elimination try-outs and nobody gets cut.

The American political, educational, and social system has been grooming it “citizens,” from a tender age, to be dependent upon the State and to be in possession of a false sense of self-esteem, resulting in a nation of unearned entitlement dependents.  And the children who have grown up during these past decades are adhering to these squishy dependent, false self-esteem and unearned entitlement lessons like automatons, chillingly fulfilling the words we can read from Proverbs 22:6.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/25 at 09:56 AM
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