When you read newspapers or watch or listen to newscasts these days, you won’t have to wait long to be told about the latest “free” government program or low-cost or no-cost opportunity available to “those who qualify” or are “eligible.”

You also won’t have to wait long to hear a feel-good story about someone being given something by a group or organization or some sort of activity being implemented that provides people “access” to something they couldn’t otherwise achieve, obtain or afford.

Of course, the more that kind of thing takes place, the more many people come to expect it and even believe they have some sort of right to it.

In other words, they feel “entitled” to it. It’s a natural reaction; people get used to things that are part of their routine.

Let’s face it: The U.S federal government does everything possible these days to create an environment that makes people increasingly dependent on handouts. Encouraging hard work and perseverance is out and promoting lethargy and indifference is in (and it’s arguable that such behavior isn’t accidental, but that’s another issue).

In turn, all manner of official and unofficial groups and individuals (many of which operate under the guise of non-profit or “not-for-profit”) have hopped aboard the bandwagon and conduct a multitude of “projects” and offer a variety of stuff based on promoting a similar agenda. The list of freebies and giveaways is virtually endless, and every one of them is designed to make people believe the world is better because as a result.

How did we get here? The process has been lengthy and is surely complicated, but you could argue that it all begins with our kids. They’re not often taught to be self-sufficient and independent as was the case in the not-to-distant past, but rather are too frequently funneled into a mindset that they can’t do much – if anything – on their own but are also deserving of pretty much everything.

Just to list a scant few example, kids these days are given high-end electronic “devices” when they’re not yet in their teens, moved on to the next grade in school despite having fallen far short of passing, and are allowed to watch TV shows and play video games featuring violent, racy and just plain vile content (the likes of which would have been way out of bounds not that many years ago). They even receive trophies when their rec league basketball team goes 1-9 (which is sort of a pet peeve of mine).

Considering how little real and beneficial advice kids receive nowadays and how they’re more or less trained to think the world somehow “owes” them, what else are they to believe when they grow up other than they’re entitled to their every whim until death?

Anyway, while I think the whole entitlement “movement” is a shame and a travesty that does irreparable harm to our ever-crumbling society, I’m quite sure it isn’t going away. No, on the contrary, it’s just part of that dang “new normal” that consists of countless things that are abnormal and even downright absurd.

But as I said, there are many folks who are OK with being coddled by government entities and other sources, and they can’t help feeling entitled to having or experiencing things without making any effort to acquire them.

And why wouldn’t they? They’re entitled to feel that way, right?

By the way, I’m OK with some people calling me “judgmental” or saying I’m just a purveyor of doom-and-gloom. My response to that is that I’m just glad God has given me eyes to see and ears to hear and a strong sense of discernment, and I just call ’em as I see ’em.

Welcome to 2022 and beyond.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Contact him by phone at 417-967-2000 or by email at ddavison@houstonherald.com.

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