This past week, the Committee to Unleash Prosperity issued a report highlighting the following: Current unemployment benefits combined with pandemic and health care subsidies can now add up to $160,000 annually in certain parts of the country. The report cites the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent data, showing America’s current potential workforce is participating at a woeful 62%. This is 1.5% below pre-COVID levels, which means that, by some estimates, we now have at least 400,000 fewer people engaged in gainful employment than we did before 2020.
Why? The answer for those with eyes to see and ears to hear is obvious. President Biden has created a world where a fully capable 25-year-old can now make more money sitting at home playing video games than he can by going to work and earning his keep.
Welcome to a nation of children. Welcome to an infantilized country where millions of adults who just yesterday would have been embarrassed to go on the government dole now shamelessly cry out like little boys and girls: “I can’t do it. I need help. You need to do it for me!”
In the book, “Grow Up! Life Isn’t Safe, but It’s Good,” the author (yours truly) argues that those who are never taught to take responsibility will never grow up. Instead, they become stunted and frozen in time. They recoil from adulthood and always shirk their attendant duties. Their constant refrain is to look for someone else to blame and to solve all of life’s problems for them.
“Ask not what you can do for your country but what your country can do for you” has become the defining mantra of this age. There’s a word for this. It’s called entitlement, and at its core, it’s simple adolescent laziness.
The cry of “I can’t do it” is ubiquitous from coast to coast despite individual aptitude. People can do the work; they just don’t want to. The ability is there, but the desire is not.
Now everyone knows that needing help is part of life, but expecting someone else to do what you can do for yourself is another matter. This disease is plaguing our culture today more so than any biological virus. Any reading of the day’s headlines reveals the sobering fact that somewhere along the line, we have forgotten the obvious of what just yesterday was a given: Becoming an adult means accepting responsibility for our own problems and taking the initiative to solve them.
Today, millions embrace comfort as their highest good rather than celebrate the freedom and independence that comes with maturity and doing things ourselves. Why risk coming out of our “safe space” if the government is always there to think for us, pay for us, and work for us? Might as well just stay put in your parents’ basement if safety is what life is all about; what could be better than that?
Rather than teaching responsibility and encouraging others to take charge of their own lives, Uncle Sam preaches security and safety. The result is perpetual infantilization and the consequent laziness of an entire generation.
The more dependent we become on other human beings, the less independent we are in our personal lives. Those promoting this culture of government dependence know that they gain control of us by teaching us to ignore this truth. All the despots of history understood this. Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin, Castro and Mussolini knew that those free to take personal responsibility were those they could not control.
They knew the No. 1 rule for stealing freedom was to get the masses to point the finger of blame outward rather than inward. As long as you can get the proletariat to blame the bourgeoisie, the tyrant will win. You can kill freedom and gain power if you can get the 99% to accuse the 1%. Get women to blame men, or Blacks to blame Whites, or the “greenies” to blame the “orange man.” It doesn’t matter; as long as the demagogue persuades the masses to blame everyone else, he can crush liberty and gain control. It is the deadly combination of entitlement, enabling and subservience.
The Roman emperors knew this; thus, they provided bread and circuses while persecuting all those dastardly Christians who simply wanted to care for themselves, their families and their neighbors, and be left alone.
A nation of untold adolescents who would rather take their $160K from Nero than get off their duffs and go to work may be comfortable, but it will never be free.
• Everett Piper (dreverettpiper.com, @dreverettpiper), a columnist for The Washington Times, is a former university president and radio host.