The Book of Job warns us, "Man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward" (Job 5:7). I'm sure many of us of a certain age were raised to understand, accept and act on that reality. We didn't expect life to be at our beck and call. We understood that there'd be bad times as well as good; that some people got more of the former than the latter; and that sometimes there was nothing you could do about them except endure. Life wasn't fair. It was just . . . life. It happened. If you didn't deal with it, it would deal with you - and sooner or later, it would win.
Contrast this with today's "special snowflakes". They grow up in a cocoon, sheltering them from life. They're constantly told that "they're special", when in fact they're nothing of the sort. They expect everything to be done for them, with minimal or no exertion on their part. They really seem to believe that they "deserve" the best, even when they've done nothing to earn it. They expect to get everything out of life, even when they put almost nothing into life.
A few examples:
- Students who do minimal (or no) work, but object to poor grades;
- Young people entering the workforce who are unprepared and/or unwilling to work hard;
- A refusal to work low-paying, menial jobs even when they're all that's available, preferring to remain unemployed and/or 'sponge' off others rather than do what it takes to make ends meet;
- Young workers who expect, as a matter of right, to use work (paid) time for personal tasks;
- People who see nothing wrong in paying others to do everything for them, rather than invest time and energy in doing for themselves;
- People who see nothing immoral or unethical in defaulting on debts they incurred legally and with full understanding that they would have to be repaid;
- People whose approach to relationships begins with what they expect to get out of it, rather than what they're prepared to put into it (I saw that a lot as a pastor).
If our entire society ran along those lines, it would collapse. Ordinary business and commerce would be impossible, because there would be nobody trustworthy or credit-worthy with whom one could do business. Those of us who try to live within our means, and who work hard to be trustworthy partners in business and in our relationships, are basically carrying these drones on our hard-working backs. That's a sickening thought.
This applies also to emergency situations and times of crisis. I mentioned in my 'lessons learned' post after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 how the 'welfare classes' had basically regarded it as a right to take whatever they needed from anyone.
Feedback from my contacts in the Louisiana State Police (LSP) and other agencies is very worrying. They keep harping on the fact that the "underclass" that's doing all the looting is almost exclusively Black and inner-city in composition. The remarks they're reporting include such statements as "I'm entitled to this stuff!", "This is payback time for all Whitey's done to us", and "This is reparations for slavery!". Also, they're blaming the present confused disaster-relief situation on racism. "Fo sho, if Whitey wuz sittin' here in tha Dome waitin' for help, no way would he be waitin' like we is!" No, I'm not making up these comments... they are as reported by my law enforcement buddies.
This worries me very much. If we have such a divide in consciousness among our city residents, then when we hit a SHTF situation, we're likely to be accused of racism, paternalism, oppression, and all sorts of other crimes just because we want to preserve law and order. If we, as individuals and families, provide for our own needs in emergency, and won't share with others (whether they're of another race or not) because we don't have enough to go round, we're likely to be accused of racism rather than pragmatism, and taking things from us can (and probably will) be justified as "Whitey getting his just desserts". I'm absolutely not a racist, but the racial implications of the present situation are of great concern to me. The likes of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the "reparations for slavery" brigade appear to have so polarized inner-city opinion that these folks are (IMHO) no longer capable of rational thought concerning such issues as looting, disaster relief, etc.
. . .
In each case, the person/family concerned had made preparations for disaster, with supplies, shelter, etc. in good order and ready to go. Several had generators ready and waiting. However, their neighbors who had not prepared all came running after the disaster, wanting food, water and shelter from them. When the prepared families refused, on the grounds that they had very little, and that only enough for themselves, there were many incidents of aggression, attempted assault, and theft of their supplies. Some had to use weapons to deter attack, and in some cases, shots were fired. I understand that in two incidents, attackers and/or would-be thieves were shot. It's also reported that in all of these cases, the prepared families now face threats of retribution from their neighbors, who regarded their refusal to share as an act of selfishness and/or aggression, and are now threatening retaliation. It's reportedly so bad that most of the prepared families are considering moving to other neighborhoods, so as to start afresh, with different neighbors.
Similar incidents are reported by families who got out in time, prepared to spend several days on their own. When they stopped to eat a picnic meal at a rest stop, or an isolated spot along the highway, they report being approached rather aggressively by others wanting food, or fuel, or other essentials. Sometimes they had to be rather aggressive in their turn to deter these insistent requests. Two families report attempts being made to steal their belongings (in one case, their vehicle) while overnighting in camp stops on their way out of the area.
There's more at the link. Such problems were very widespread. Far too many people relied on the state for the ordinary, everyday needs of life even before the hurricanes arrived. When that was disrupted, they turned to (and on) anyone and everyone else to simply take what they needed. They'd made no attempt whatsoever to provide for themselves in an emergency. Indeed, they reacted indignantly to any suggestion that they should have "gotten out of Dodge" before the hurricane arrived, or taken steps to protect themselves. That was someone else's problem. They had to be handed everything on a platter. That was their right. (I saw this reaction myself, many times.)
The same attitudes have a lot to do with the economic crises currently affecting Greece, China and elsewhere. People are willing to chase the chimera of wealth - and, if necessary, cheat, lie and steal to get it - but complain bitterly when the consequences come back to bite them. Consider Greece, for example.
A 2014 analysis by the European Commission found that annual uncollected consumption taxes in Greece totaled €10 billion. Another study estimated that self-employed Greek workers failed to report €28 billion of taxable income in 2009 alone. But these deceptions are relatively uninspired compared to certain schemes. On the island of the Zakynthos, for instance, almost 500 people with perfectly good vision received a blindness benefit from the Greek health ministry for years. When Angelos visits to investigate, his cabdriver complains about the rampant corruption on the island, then cheats him on the fare.
Pretending to be blind is only one of many strategies. At one point 8,500 Greek pensioners claimed to be over 100 years old. In fact, the government was paying retirement checks to dead people whose family members were cashing them. Then there was scandal of the swimming pools, an episode which received international attention around the time of the first Greek bailout. As part of the austerity measures, the Greek government began trying to do in reality what previously happened only in theory: collect taxes from its wealthy citizens. An aerial search by the Greek government revealed almost 17,000 pools in rich neighborhoods that were never declared on tax forms. Sales of camouflage tarps to cover the pools spiked. Many doctors and lawyers, meanwhile, were still reporting incomes as implausibly low as €12,000 a year.
Uh-huh. As for China, many of the consumer products scandals that have emerged over recent years have been the result of people trying to make a dishonest buck as fast as possible - and damn the consequences. (The infamous tainted pet food scandal is only one of many cases involving both human and animal food.)
The Bible again: "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it" (Proverbs 22:6). I think a great many of the examples I've cited above stem from the fact that we, as a society, have not 'started our children off on the way they should go'. We've mollycoddled them, shielded them, protected them. Their lives have had no negative consequences because they've not been allowed to make mistakes - or, when they have, we've assured them that the results were not their fault, and were not 'fair'. They've been raised to believe they're entitled to everything - so when they don't get it as of right, they see little or no ethical problem in simply taking it, even if it belongs to someone else. (That explains a lot of the 'tax-and-spend' mentality, doesn't it? Unfortunately, that attitude has become more and more widespread on both sides of the political aisle. It used to be a liberal/progressive problem. Now it's universal.)
I've had the same reaction from some people to my efforts to make my own living, rather than remain reliant on a disability pension. Some have openly mocked my efforts to learn to write in a way that others find interesting, and to sell enough books to provide for myself and my family. My parents, on the other hand, raised me to believe that a man looks after himself to the greatest possible extent. Only when he's truly down and out does he rely on others to provide for him - and that's something that should never continue for longer than absolutely necessary. It seems that attitude is considered 'old-fashioned' today . . . more's the pity.
I suppose this has been a rambling sort of a blog post, but it's been very much on my mind lately. When I look at our current economic situation, and realize that we're probably staring another Great Depression in the face, I can't help but wonder how today's 'special snowflakes' will cope. Will they survive, as our grandparents and great-grandparents did in the 1930's, and rebuild? Or will they burst into tears and hide in a corner, leaving others to fix the problem? And, when those of us who've learned about life the hard way are gone . . . will there be enough competent adults left to fix it?
Rudyard Kipling put it well in 1919.
In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."