Occupy Wall Street, Part 2

I want to revisit the Occupy movement, to offer a key point I'm not hearing anywhere else. Most of the Occupy folks I've seen in videos are young adults fresh out of college. Part of their complaint is they have a huge student loan debt and no job prospects. I blame the 'everyone gets a trophy mentality' for their upset. Let me explain.

This is the generation that grew up with grades for effort, not proficiency with the material. Where much of the classwork is done as group projects, and poorer students get the same grade despite doing less work. The generation that grew up with the concept that fairness means everyone gets the same thing. You must invite all your classmates to your party, so nobody feels left out. You have to bring Valentine's Day cards to everyone in the class, so nobody feels left out. When you attend a birthday party, everyone gets a goody bag -- why should only the birthday child get presents? Where there are no winners or losers. Where everyone who wants to be on the team can play. Where everyone gets a trophy.

This generation grew up to feel entitled to whatever they want. They go to an expensive private university because, hey, they deserve the very best education, even if it costs four times as much as the lowly state college. It doesn't matter that they chose to major in Art History, Philosophy, Sociology, or some other virtually worthless degree. They expect to be able to walk into that corner office job that pays a six-figure starting salary, with all the perks. When that doesn't happen, they scream it's not fair.

It's enough to make me scream. The concept of personal responsibility has disappeared from this generation. The concept that what you get out is commensurate with what you put in is foreign to these folks. What do you mean they have to work their way up? They showed up to class (usually) and got their diploma. Now you just need to give them a job. They're owed it.

Part of the blame must fall on our generation. We raised these pampered youth. We hovered over them, protecting them from every boo-boo, from every possible slight. We railed at the teacher for not giving them good grades -- "Little Johnny tried his best. Of course he deserves an A." We gave them allowances without expecting them to earn the money by doing chores.

We created this monster. Undoing the damage won't be easy.

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