Today, while I was sitting at my desk refreshing the Drudge Report every 5 seconds, an interesting story wandering across my screen: “Adult Children’s Bad Mothering Lawsuit Dismissed.” It’s a curious title and an even more curious story. Apparently Steven Miner, in the midst of a rather messy divorce, decided to sue his mommy for $50,000 because she sent him an “inappropriate” birthday card (i.e., a card without a check inside of it). Apparently, Miner also failed to receive additional birthday cards or care packages (small wonder why) while he attended college, inflicting further emotional damage. While the suit was thrown out, the fact that someone would even consider suing on such grounds speaks to the cultural rot that an entitlement culture creates.
Our country is currently involved in a very intense debate about the future of the Welfare State (primarily Medicare and Social Security). The debate has mostly focused on the fiscal aspects of these programs, but the moral aspect is just as important. Many people have come to view the gravy train coming out of Washington as some sort of God-given right. Merely suggest raising the retirement age for Social Security (much less eliminating the program altogether), and you’re met with a maelstrom of self-righteous indignation: “How dare you intrude on my right to Social Security,” etc. But look at the consequences such an entitlement culture creates. You’ve got the country running full steam ahead right off the edge of a cliff while the beneficiaries of 50 years of government largesse refuse to compromise. Then you’ve got 20-something-year-olds suing their mothers over birthday checks. Just add that to the list of “rights”: a free college education, a free house, free health insurance, free cell phones, Social Security, and now birthday checks. Just how do you expect to “win the future” when you’ve got a people that feels like they’re all owed something? If people are so busy suing over birthday checks will they have the time (or even the desire) to invent “the next big thing”? I think it’s pretty clear the answer is no. After all, there’s no point in working if Obama (or your mommy) is just going to dip into his stash and send you a check.
Ending the Entitlement Culture is just as important as reigning in the costs of the Entitlement State. The Entitlement State warps a person and degrades his dignity, in much the same way that drugs reduce an addict to nothing more than a pathetic shadow of a human being, removing his ability to think or operate outside the context of where his next fix will come from. The vastness of the national debt is merely a symptom of a moral problem which has reduced millions of Americans to little more than sniveling, entitled children. The debt is as much a moral problem as it is a fiscal one.