Unless you're a member of the lucky sperm club or have just been unusually fortunate you're entire life, you, like most of us, have experienced financial hardship and distress at some point. Some of this country's greatest entrepreneurs have struggled mightily at different periods during their process to succeed. Walt Disney, one of the world's most legendary icons, for example, was forced into bankruptcy and destitution before his perseverance and hard work finally paid off and he became "Walt Disney."
More times than not in this life failure and hardship dwell on the road to success, and at some point during the process of achievement, no matter what ultimate outcome one seeks, we will become acquainted with difficult periods. For generations it has been the ideological mindset of America as a whole that ultimately motivates the individual to diligently push forward during the tough times – and through hard work, resilience and the American system, success will eventually be grasped. No matter what corner of the globe one has arrived from, the mindset of achievement that depends upon self slowly becomes a part of one's overall makeup and mentality. It is/was the internalization of this concept that over generations has allowed America and Americans to accomplish truly extraordinary things on many, many fronts.
As Bob Dylan once wrote nearly 50 years ago, however, "the times; they are a changin." I'm quite sure Mr. Dylan wasn't trying his hand at prophecy when he wrote that epic song those many years ago, and I certainly don't think the 21st century was in mind when his lyrics were penned. Make no mistake about it, though; the times they are changing.
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As I've noted in various other diatribes, things that at first are seen as taboo have an order of maturity. Initially these things are seen as abhorrent. Then they are considered tolerable. Slowly, they morph into acceptable, and finally they are seen as expectable.
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We haven't quite reached the level of expectable in the American mentality as it relates to the deterioration of individual responsibility and its replacement by the proverbial government crutch, but rest assured that day is just around the corner. The mid-'60s Democratic Congress along with Lyndon Johnson orchestrated the once "taboo" New Deal, which was destine to eradicate poverty forever! (Perhaps a sociological study should have been conducted proving the hypothesis that "handouts" beget "handouts," which beget "handouts," while more times than not destroying the inborn will for individuals to depend on self.) Instead of "eradicating poverty," a shift in mindset began.
Decades passed, and tens of millions of Americans were born and raised under the awareness of government social programs – welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, etc. To them/us (myself included) these programs were simply a "necessary evil" of our modern, constantly morphing American society. The once-absolute mentality of self-sufficiency and pride that had formed the backbone of the American foundation for generations was slowly beginning to deteriorate. Decade after decade as one generation matured and another began, an indisputable fact has emerged. Where once the acceptance of a government handout was to shamefully concede to personal failure, gradually, living off the government dole became tolerated by those in need as well as those responsible for the funding. From tolerance in past decades to unquestioned acceptance in more recent ones, a new trend is beginning to appear not only in the expectation of government resources rendered, but the overt willingness and mentality to freely expect such resources.
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Maybe this phenomenon can be categorized as a simple decline in American ethics or possibly summed up in Ivan Pavlov's theory of the conditional reflex. However you want to label it, there is an undeniable transformation in the mindset within the American individual that is being brought about through a combination of an expanding degree of socialist government policy and the American citizen's willingness to accept such socialist rations.
Currently, almost one-third of the overall federal budget expenditure flows into social programs to support those who either can't do for themselves or, as a result of government conditioning, won't do for themselves. In 2011 alone the U.S. government expended in excess of $1 trillion to all of the various social programs, which constitutes a 32 percent increase from four years ago. Individuals who accept food stamps and welfare collectively make up 51 million citizens, or one-sixth of the overall U.S. population.
One cannot look at these statistics as simply a byproduct of a struggling economy. One in six Americans do not look to the federal government because they cannot find work. They look to the federal government as a result of an adjusted mentality that makes many unwilling to find work. Pavlov's dogs: Ring the dinner bell of "government handout," and they will salivate wanting more.
At some point the "dinner bell" must be taken from the hand of socialist government bureaucrats. Government assistance, while extremely necessary for a small few, should not be allowed to provide a livelihood for a deadbeat majority. Social programs will never end poverty; they only increase an individual's desire and need for dependence and the perpetuation of a substandard existence. The only proven way to escape poverty is the method by which our prior generations built the most prosperous country to ever grace this planet – reliance on self.
Quote of the week: "… at the end of the day when it's all on the line and you reach that place where success and failure go their separate ways, there is only one person you ultimately must be able to depend on, and that person had better be you." – John Rocker