Generation E

There was a chemistry professor in a large college that had some exchange students in the class. One day while the class was in the lab, the professor noticed one young man, an exchange student, who kept rubbing his back as if his back hurt. The professor asked the young man what was the matter. The student told him he had a bullet lodged in his back.

He said he had been shot while fighting the communists in his native country who were looking to overthrow his country’s government, and install a new communist regime. In the midst of his story he asked the professor a strange question. He asked, “Do you know how to catch a herd of wild pigs?” The professor thought it was a joke, and asked the punch line. The young man said it was no joke. The young man proceeded to tell him how.

“You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods, and then put corn on the ground. The pigs find it and begin to come everyday to eat the free corn. When they are used to coming everyday, you put a fence on one side of the place where they are used to coming.

When they are used to the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you then put up another side of the fence. They get used to that and they start to eat again. You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up with a gate on the last side. 

The pigs now used to free corn, start to come through the gate to eat that free corn again. You then slam the gate on them and catch the whole herd. Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught. Soon they go back to eating the free corn. They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves, so they accept the captivity. 

This is exactly what is happening in America. The government keeps pushing its citizens towards socialism and communism by spreading the free corn out in the form of social welfare programs. Supplemental income, tax credits for unearned income, tax exemptions, tobacco subsidies, dairy subsidies, welfare and pharmaceutical exemptions, drug exemptions, and dozens of more large programs are just a few as we continually lose our freedom, just a little at a time. 

One should always remember three things:

  1. There is no such thing as a free lunch, someone is paying for it.
  2. When you begin to think that government will provide for you and make your decisions, realize that you have also given up the freedom that goes with making your own choices. 
  3. God help you when the gate slams shut.”

(The above is from an e-mail from a friend that was floating around the internet).

Several years ago, I had a conversation with a man I have known for many years.  He is now 90 years old and is still engaged in a variety of activities. Only after a recent mild stroke two years ago did he stop driving. Intellectually, he is doing remarkably well, and is still a daily communicant. One day a few years ago we were talking about World War II (he is a constant reader), and he made a casual comment that America won World War II so quickly because the men and woman of America were tough. They had been the sons and daughters of Depression era parents who worked hard with often two and three jobs to provide for their families.  

Nothing came easy with these men and women, and hard work overcame many obstacles. This group didn’t have a welfare state as a safety net so they put their nose to the grindstone to make a better life for their families. If they wanted to get ahead, they worked more. Social programs were non-existent for these people where everything was for free as they are today on some sort of government program. Self-discipline and self-reliance were necessary. There was no utopian view of the world with someone else paying their way. The best they could do was a lay away program at a local department store. If you wanted something, you saved up for it, and then bought it. Deficit spending by the government was more limited and nowhere near as reckless. There was also much more common sense among the general population on the role of government giving them a free pass to do nothing. As Proverbs says, “The borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7).  

A partial, but substantive answer of how we ended up to where we are today is due to the government providing so many “free things,” which has lulled us to sleep like the herd of pigs. If you walk into many homes today, you will walk over “things.” Most are time sapping trinkets of some sort because we think they will make us happy. All the while, many of these items have been purchased with credit.

We ended up in this situation because the baby boomers watched their immigrant parents, and often immigrant grandparents suffer and go without. They vowed as Scarlet O’Hara outside Tara in Gone with the Wind “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.” Hardship was a fact of life for most people during the Depression, but there was a great deal more safety in civic society where people in neighborhoods watched out for each other. It was faith that brought them to America’s shores for a better life, but by the baby boomer generation, they forgot it was faith and God’s providence that brought them blessings. Their parents worked hard to make a better life for their kids. SAT scores and the finer things in life then began to matter far more than the confessional and the Sacraments. The baby boomers incrementally abandoned their faith, as did their sons and daughters. The drift to what we have become today can be traced directly to that mentality of forgetting that God is most important in lives. Jewelers get used to fine stones.

Both sides of the political aisle are at fault, and have blame in this regard by buying off the voters by giving them “free things.” But, the insane lunacy coming from the socialists today thinking everything can be free, is most dominant as a group. Their thinking is not socialist, but Marxist Communism. It defies human nature, logic, rational thought, natural law, economics, and Scripture. People who think everything can be free are looking for a utopia that will and has never existed on this earth. That thinking leads to anarchy, which in turn leads to bloodshed. Only a revolution will quell it if it continues, and based upon the softness of so many of the public getting “free stuff,” they won’t go down without a fight if anyone tries to take “free things” away. 

This is why the battle in the political realm is so ferocious.  If someone pledges a political platform of free everything, people will demand it if they get it once. If they get it once, they will demand it in the next election cycle. The phrase of “if you keep giving, they’ll keep taking” is real. The scandal of parents paying to get their kids into elite schools is just one symptom of this behavior of getting something for doing nothing. Personal liberty has to be rooted in moral responsibility to have enduring and positive results.

Politicians and others, who think and act this way, have largely been recipients of government largesse themselves without working and paying for what they were given in the past. Often they are still are on government programs for their living.  Governments never voluntarily reduce their budgets.  They continue to grow and expand through taxing they were designed to serve. They have largely seen a system of government providing for them, so they want it to continue—by any means. In reality, others footing the bill for them is how they have lived since youth. They want it to continue, and they expect it to continue.

Few who think this way have ever run a business, few have ever been responsible for a Profit and Loss Statement, and many had parents giving them most everything without needing to work for it. They expect everything to be free, because they largely lived a good life getting everything for free, and this is how they vote today.

Since the baby boomers that came after World War II (1946-1964), we have had Generation, X, Y, millennials, and Z. Each of these have somewhat different characteristics and traits, and cross over into each other in years without a clear line of demarcation. However, social science has designated each of them with a different view of life and habits than the previous one. Over the last several generations, they have grown so soft on the realities of life, all of the above X,Y, Z, and whatever you wish to call it for a generation, could cumulatively be called Generation Entitled. The large section of the population has become entitled which is why socialism is gaining such momentum.

The government has captured us with free goods and services, all the while people are numb to the reality of what it will bring.  Free everything, fast food while sitting in your car talking and scrolling through social media, with a mentality of, “I want it, and I want it now.”  If I don’t get it, I will demand it, and if I don’t get it, I’ll sue to get it. Better yet, I’ll sue on discrimination and label my enemy a bigot to get it.  But, the under lying issue, is they want “free things.” A lot is spoken about people’s rights, but little is spoken about personal responsibility.

The era of connectivity to social media has led to higher suicide rates, prescriptions for anti-depressants by the bushel barrel, and increased loneliness due to isolation. What we have reaped from “free everything” is misery, anxiousness, despondent people, and a life of despair with broken marriages and families. Self-indulgence has led to a lack of purpose. A recent poll found that 80% of Generation Z born in the mid 1990’s and after say they feel lonely due to “A lack of social support and infrequent meaningful social interaction,” according to a national study of 10,000 adults by insurance provider Cigna. Instead of Church, youth adopted Facebook and social media as their salvation, and it has failed them.

It is only faith in God that leads to fulfillment, and joy in this life. As the Blessed Mother told a young Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes, “I cannot give you happiness in this life, but I can in the next.” If people think the government will solve their problems, they are ignorant of history.

                                                        JESUS, I TRUST IN YOU