By John Brock
Young folks today appear to have the same dreams and ambitions that my generation had at the same age. We wanted an education, a good career, a home of our own and a happy life. The main difference between today's youthful opinion is that most of us expected to stay in school, work hard and earn a good life instead of having it given to us at someone else's expense -- a point of view expressed by many young adults today.
Proof of the pudding showed up this fall in a survey conducted by Professor Jack W. Chambless at Valencia College in Florida. He asked his students to write a short essay expressing their view of The American Dream.
Most of the students responded with the familiar notions of youth expressed by my generation with one important and notable exception. Instead of taking personal responsibility for their future, they noted that the government should, "Pay my tuition, provide me with a job, give me money for a house, make sure I get free health care and pay for my retirement." If necessary, "... raise taxes on rich people so that I can have more money ..."
What else would you expect from young Americans, who, after several generations, have grown accustomed to a "Nanny State" in which the Federal Government has taken more and more license with the lives of individual Americans? This entire process has resulted in a citizenry in which one-half of wage earners pay no income tax at all and, indeed, in some cases even get a "refund" even though that refund comes from one of the other half of Americans who have paid income tax. If this is not a prime Marxist example of government, "From each according to his ability; to each according to his need," I don't know what is.
One of the professor's students took it a step forward in writing, "We all know that there are many bad side effects when regulations take place, but as human beings, we are NOT RESPONSIBLE for our own acts and so we need government to control those who don't care about others." WOW! My forefathers are turning over in their graves at such notions. They always believed that individuals were, indeed, responsible for themselves.
But we really shouldn't be surprised at the opinion of many of today's young folks. They have been born and bred in a society that has been more and more nurtured by the notion that government is responsible for every aspect of our lives and, if necessary, should rob Peter to pay Paul. Of course, politicians can always count on the approbation of Paul in such cases. Dear friends, that's exactly what is going on today in American government. Politicians gain ascendency by promising to provide womb to tomb benefits to everyone regardless of their effort to achieve for themselves.
Let me point out, once again, that I am not the hard-hearted soul that some of you make me out to be. I believe there will always be those among us who are not capable, for reasons of health or dire circumstances, of looking out for themselves and we all should help. But I have little sympathy for those individuals who are capable to do for themselves but just refuse to get a free education, live responsibly, work hard and achieve the American Dream on their own.
But we have gone in the other direction. In 1983, about 29 percent of Americans received some sort of government assistance. Today, that figure is almost 45 percent -- and growing.
If we don't stop this "Class Warfare" being waged by the current administration, we are doomed.
To the Florida college professor's everlasting credit, who unlike many, if not most, of his counterparts across the nation, took the opportunity to point out that American Freedoms include affording everyone an opportunity to achieve success but has never guaranteed success. Previous generations understood the difference and worked hard for success on their own.
Bless his heart, the professor further pointed out that, "...No one has the inherent right to use the arm of government to forcibly take the private property of another citizen in order to obtain our desires.... In effect, every dollar we receive by force in order to gain our dream, we are diminishing by one dollar, some other person's dream."
Can't someone convince our "progressive" politicians and the White House of this profound truth?
John Brock lives in Georgetown County and is a retired newspaper editor/publisher, college professor, and university administrator. He can be reached by mail at this newspaper of by Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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