As a young Conservative (though I am rapidly losing the former word, which admittedly causes stress), one thing I often have to deal with is the attitude among my peers that European society is a beacon of hyper-intellectual enlightenment, and that Americans are brain-damaged chimps compared to them.
Yeah, not so much.
In a previous article I riffed a list of the European Union’s larger failures that have stemmed from their whiney pursuit of laziness and entitlement. Still, it’s tough to argue against the things their societies enjoy: free healthcare, free education; even free cars in the case of Denmark. Those things would be amazing for everyone, right?
Again, not so much, but not for the reasons you might think.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way: the word “free” is subjective in this argument. The healthcare, the schools and the cars aren’t really free; no one is out there creating and sustaining these things for no compensation. While it might be free to the low-income earners, these things are paid for with tax dollars, which are being paid by the higher earners, and at quite a substantial rate (remember when I said that there was legislation on the floor of England’s parliament to raise the highest tax bracket to seventy percent?). That’s a system that is ultimately unsustainable, and a large contributor to the debt crisis in the EU.
But let’s say that everyone riding in the wagon while a single-digit percentage of the populace pulls it is somehow magically sustainable. It doesn’t matter in the long run, for one simple reason: an entitled society will roll over, tuck its tail between its legs and die at the first real threat.
I’ve posed this question before: how many snarky, sarcastic hipsters who scoff at the very notion that being an American is something to be proud of do you think are going to take up arms in defense of their homeland? How many people who find it too difficult on their fragile little souls to work more than 35 hours per week and have any fewer than thirty days paid vacation do you think would willingly lay down their lives or put themselves in harm’s way to help a greater cause? Sure, they talk a good game, but let’s be realistic. The answer is most likely not many.
It’s not just the possibility of invasion or coup that threatens an entitlement utopia, either. Any major crisis, honestly, would be enough to throw the EU into complete tailspin (it could be argues that they’re already there). The European Sovereign-debt Crisis is a good example; they still haven’t recovered from that nightmare. Greece learned a particularly harsh lesson from that whole mess when it was forced to reduce its absurdly generous wages and mandated paid vacation time.
What I’m ultimately driving at is this: a society of people that refuse to defend themselves from the minutia of daily life is one that is very, very unlikely to defend itself against a real crisis. And a crisis will always come, at some point or another. A nation cannot peacefully grow indefinitely. There must be conflict; there must be strife.
There will be recession, there will be war and there will be corruption. The aftermath of such crises will ultimately depend on who those subjected to said disasters will handle them, and I have to tell you “just print more money and keep giving me free stuff and don’t bother me with politics” doesn’t sound like a sustainable, long-term solution to me.
What ultimately allows a society to grow and flourish is its relentless pursuit to do exactly that. But these days, Americans are too focused on themselves and getting their own.
Some of my Liberal peers have tried to catch me in that statement, saying “exactly, we’re too selfish and we need to share,” but when I say it in this context, I’m actually referring to the Left-wing mentality that we’re all entitled to a certain level of government-mandated comfort. Did you know, for example, that FDR, the father of American entitlement, believed that recreation was a right?
Not to say that we should be relatively enslaved as Americans certainly were back in the late 19th century, but the degree of worker protection/rights has gotten way out of control already, and now we have politicians and young adult voters looking to follow suit.
The only thing that can ensure that the United States will continue to grow and evolve in the right direction is to populate it with people who will strive 110% to make that happen, and who will make their own happiness rather than badgering someone else into making it happen for them.