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“People might not get all they work for in this world, but they must certainly work for all they get.” – Frederick Douglass
Intrinsic with these words are two very significant factors in considering the ever-expanding entitlement mindset in America today: 1) a declining belief in the principle of work, and 2) a refusal to accept that one’s efforts may not always meet with a desired outcome.
It is these attitudes, among others no doubt, which have contributed primarily, though not exclusively, to the paradigm shift currently underway in America from one of individual responsibility and personal ownership of the consequences of one’s actions and choices, to a belief in the premise that to live in America and, consequently, to be an American, is not to have to go through life and have a single need or desire go unmet. Not one. In fact, this mindset has become so pervasive that there is no longer any distinction between ‘needs’ and ‘desires’. Every desire is now a need and, consequently, every ‘need’ is now a ‘right’.
The natural consequence of masses of Americans adopting this kind of socialist ethos – that all desires are needs and all needs are rights – is that the more it is assented to and endorsed by the people, the more the people will look to the government to provide their “needs” and all under the guise that it is the responsibility of government to “protect my rights” – rights which, contrary to the United States Constitution, are not “inalienable” to the people, but “invented” by the people.
This kind of self-centered, materialistic and superficial thinking is what gives rise to individuals like Obama administration surrogate Sandra Fluke who, in one of the more egregious examples of what I refer to as someone possessing a “solar system mindset” (one who sees himself/herself as the ‘sun’ and everyone else as ‘planets’ revolving around him/her), advocates that the government – that is, taxpayers like you and me – actually cover the expense of her most personal choices, namely, to pay for her condoms so she, and other women like her, can engage in premarital sex at her own whim and discretion, and without regard to the financial cost (because she’s obviously not concerned about the cost to her reputation.)
It is in this same warped context that tens of millions of Americans have bought into the concept of socialized medicine, having convinced themselves that what they either do not have or have enough of, in this case health insurance, it is the responsibility of government to provide, and that without regard to or concern for the cost to their own personal freedom. (And, trust me, the Affordable Health Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, is the single greatest infringement upon individual liberty in American history.)
Douglass was right, but our problem today is that not only do we not want to work for what we get, all too often, we want to pitch a fit when what we do get for our work is not always what we want or what we think we deserve.
There is a biblical contrast to this contemporary dilemma that we face.
In Matthew 20, Jesus gives us the parable of the vineyard owner who hired three laborers to work for him for the day. The laborers agreed with the vineyard owner to be paid one denarius for a day’s work. When evening came, the laborers who were last to be hired were paid their one denarius (as was agreed upon with the vineyard owner.) However, for some unknown reason, the laborers who were hired first somehow developed the misguided notion that more hours should automatically equate to more money – regardless of the agreed-upon arrangement between them and the vineyard owner.
The laborers began to complain that what the vineyard owner was doing wasn’t “fair”, saying, “These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.” In other words, the outcome of their efforts wasn’t what they desired, so, instead of accepting the situation for what it was, they whined and complained about it, even though the vineyard owner had held up his part of the agreement, as he reminds them in Matthew 20:13-14, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own?“
Sound familiar? It should.
The parable above serves as an excellent reminder to us that equal opportunity does not always translate to equal results. This is a reality which far too many Americans today, particularly those of a more liberal or progressive political perspective, refuse to understand and accept. The three laborers each had equal opportunity to be compensated one denarius for their efforts. However, like theirs, there is a growing though not yet prevailing attitude in America that nothing is “fair”, even in those instances where the results turn out as expected.
The same principle that applied to the vineyard laborers who worked more hours but were paid the same wage as those who worked less, is the same that applies to Sandra Fluke who, like the laborers, made a volitional decision to engage in a particular activity, but who, nonetheless, was not content with the outcome of her decision. Conversely, the same could be said of people who were likewise discontented with the level of health care coverage they had and who, for that reason alone, decided to impart to the government the extra-Constitutional responsibility to change their personal circumstances “for the better” (as they define “better”).
You see, a primary reason why welfare spending now exceeds one trillion dollars of the federal budget, and nearly 50 million Americans are on food stamps, is because people have bought into the mirage that life should be “fair” (according to their predefined view), and when it is not “fair”, somebody had darn well better make it so that it is.
Contrary to Attorney General Eric Holder’s assertion that America is “a nation of cowards”, it is my personal contention that we are becoming a nation of crybabies. When something doesn’t go our way, instead of accepting the reality of the situation and persevering or working through it, as has been the American way for nearly 240 years, we complain to “daddy government” to “fix” it for us.
There might have been a time when Frederick Douglass was right, but not anymore. That was once upon a time.
And that is a sad commentary indeed.