We’re entitled. We’re egotistical. We’re selfish. My generation has gotten a bad reputation, and Time Magazine recently highlighted the stereotype on their cover. While Joel Stein’s cover story eventually concluded that the “lazy, entitled, narcissistic millennials” could save everyone with their ability to adapt, his depiction of my generation is all too common. And, to that I reply: no shit. This is what the state has done.
On retirement, the government says: don’t worry, we’ll save it for you. On personal consumption, the government says: oh, we’ll regulate that to make sure it’s all okay! No raw milk for you, young lady! On education: where you live is where you go to school — we wouldn’t want to overwhelm you with so many choices! On getting your hair cut: we’ll make sure your hair stylist is licensed. Getting a bad hair cut is simply unacceptable and your government will not stand for it!
The government has promised us that its ever-expanding services will entitle us to just sit back and let the government take care of it all. Of course, most of us eventually realize that we’ve simply been left empty-handed. The government cannot provide for all, but from a young age, we are taught that it will. As government has expanded, my generation and our sense of personal responsibility has suffered.
Almost nothing is left to a consumer’s good judgment anymore. Instead of ending the War on Drugs and letting citizens prove themselves capable of making their own decisions, the government continues a costly and discriminatory fight with no end in sight. Rather than letting employers and employees agree on a sensible wage, the state steps in to regulate, all at the expense of all in the work force. Until the Institute for Justice stepped in to amend the legislation, the government even went so far as to license florists in Louisiana. In what I am sure was a decision that was “best for the industry,” the tests were graded rather arbitrarily by existing florists in the industry.
I struggle to come up with a situation in which I am completely void of government nannying. Older generations criticize recent generations for our obsession with participation ribbons and an (often annoying) emphasis on fairness. While I think the obsessions are also worthy of criticism, I believe that government’s parenting has seeped into our culture.
This extreme hands-on governing cannot and will not lead to a responsible generation. Unless things drastically change, the future youth will only become more entitled and less appreciative.