My mom called me a misanthrope today. She calls me that a lot.
I have to admit that there are times I do feel like humanity has become this despicable caricature of itself – entitled, perpetually offended, authoritarian, too willing to use force (whether government or personal) against others in order to get what it feels it deserves, and numbed down dumb.
We’ve become an entitlement society. I’m not just talking about those who feel they’re entitled to goods and services at others’ expense merely by virtue of existing. I’m not just talking about those who despise the success and achievement of others and feel themselves deserving of a piece of that pie they haven’t earned. All of these characters are symptoms of a larger problem.
I saw a post on social media this morning describing some situations emblematic of the issue.
I walked up to an empty Redbox… one that held my reserved disks. There was a child and her mother scrolling through the second box. The girl turned and looked at me and jumped in front of the vacant box as I stood in front of it. I politely told her I was there to pick up my reservations. The mother turned to me and told me her daughter was searching for a movie and she had a right to be there.
Today I was leaving a store that verifies your receipt as you exit. There was quite a line. As I neared the door, an young boy raced past me pushing a cart and inserted himself and the cart before me. His dad caught up to him and together they exited the store. You would think the dad might apologize or mention to his son that I was in line first but he did nothing.
I’ve seen this myself. As you know, it’s tourist season in DC, and you will always find some rude jackasses elbowing their way through crowds, pushing their way to what they perceive to be the most comfortable or advantageous position on the metro, and flipping off drivers – yes flying the international symbol of love and affection – at a driver who deigned to honk at them, because they were crossing the intersection when the light has already turned red, and they’re obviously entitled to cross where and when they want and their mission to get wherever it is they’re going at the time is more important than anyone else’s.
I’ve seen it in my own niece, whom I adopted when she was 11, and who felt herself entitled to special treatment, because she had a rough childhood before she came to live with us, even as she fed her little sister drugs – Methodone, Percocet, and other poison – because she was entitled to company in her revolting misery.
When Danny was in middle school, he got into a tussle with another kid. Admittedly Danny said something incredibly rude to him during an argument, but the kid, who outweighed him by probably a good 50 pounds, felt Danny’s rudeness entitled him to try and beat the crap out of my son. Luckily, the ginger kid knew how to defend himself even then, but I received a phone call from the school’s administration telling me that my son was going to be disciplined for defending himself against the bigger kid. They felt the physical attack on my then-shrimpy child was somehow mitigated, because the larger kid was offended by what my son said during an argument.
My message to the school administrators was twofold:
1 – No insult and no offense entitles any child to physically attack another child.
2 – My son will continue to defend himself against larger bullies, and next time that child or any other lays a hand on him, I will tell him to ensure they go down and stay down.
But the fact that this kid felt it was OK to attack a smaller kid, because he was offended by something he said is once again an indication of a bigger problem.
We have a society that teaches kids from a young age that their precious feelings are somehow more important and valid than others’ rights.
We have a society that teaches kids they’re entitled to the best in life – even if it’s at others’ expense, and without having to put in effort to get it.
We have a society that’s so scared to hurt Precious Punkins’ feelings, and so afraid to allow them to fail, that they prohibit teachers from using red pens when correcting homework for fear that it might scar the FEELZ, and hand out participation trophies as prizes for not achieving!
Results are not important. Effort is only marginally required, if at all.
The result is people who expect others to bend to their every desire – whether it’s to never critique their weird fetishes, which they invariably publicize loudly for the world to gawp at (and no, I will not consider your coffeemaker your wife, no matter how much you screech that it’s entitled to recognition, nor will I provide dependent benefits for your shrubbery – no matter how hard you claim you identify as a plant and the potted plant is your spouse).
The result is Special Snowflakes who demand excused absences from school and extra time to take exams and turn in university assignments, because they’re so busy agitating for their social justice cause du jour, they ignore the purpose of school is to actually learn something.
And the result is entitled, selfish, spoiled adults who demand their “greatness” be recognized by employers without actually doing the work to make them great, in-your-face grownups, who protest and complain about “unfair treatment,”because their boss refused to bend to their unreasonable demands, and whining, entitled employees who consider their Special Snowflakedom sufficient reason to get raises, bonuses, and plum assignments, because their childhood was oh-so-hard because mommy carefully referred to them as “they,” because they informed their parents one night that they identified as a dinner napkin, while other kids rightfully thought them weird.
We have wrapped our kids in metaphorical bubble wrap, afraid to let them fail, afraid to allow them to learn, afraid to let them face challenges on their own, and terrified of hurting their precious little feelz. We allow them to be rude, entitled, and perpetually offended. We advance the message that force is an appropriate means to get what they feel they’re entitled to – be it through government, bullying, or societal pressure.
Is it any wonder that so many of us hate what this society has become?