Thursday, August 27, 2009


Every day, while our receptionist is taking her lunch break I answer the phones at the front desk. It is a very simple task, which allows me ample time to read the news of the day. I usually prefer to read the news on MSNBC because I like the way their front page is set up. I also like to read their news stories and have an internal debate with their liberal bias in my mind.

Today, I read two stories that highlighted one of my biggest beefs with "big government". I despise big government and one of the main reasons is that when government gets involved in the lives of its citizens, its citizens start to get develop a sense of entitlement.

Exhibit A is a story titled "In the red, U.S. school districts cut yellow buses", which at face value seems relatively harmless. But, within the article I found this gem:

As a mother of two, Feleccia Moore-Davis is accustomed to the usual back-to-school swirl of new supplies, new clothes and new routines. But this year, that final flurry of summer is accompanied by an unusual worry.
Moore-Davis does not yet know how her children will get to school.
Last month, the financially pressed Houston-area school district her two daughters attend decided to end bus service for students living within two miles of schools. Now Moore-Davis is contemplating the bustling intersections and streets without sidewalks the girls would have to navigate if they walked to school, and wondering whether her own work schedule can be reconfigured for drop-offs and pickups.  
(emphasis mine)

The story continues on about the problem many schools are facing with budget shortfalls causing school administrators to find ways to save money. And one way that many are choosing is eliminating the busing of children who, in this example, live within two miles of school.

Maybe I'm jaded, having grown up in a small town, where walking to school was no big deal, but I find it unbelievable that this parent feels entitled to have someone else be responsible for getting her children to and from school. Government involvement in education is so entrenched in the American psyche, that it is such an inconvenience to this parent for the school to suggest that she figure out a way to get her kids to and from school, even though they live less than two miles away from the school.

Would she be less concerned if the school were to eliminate a teaching position or two to save money? What if they decided to not buy new library books, or update the computers in the computer lab or library? From where would the savings come if she were in charge? My libertarian mind would argue that spending any money on transportation is ridiculous.

If the education of her children was so important, she wouldn't bat an eye, but would instead buckle down and figure out a way to get her kids to school, no matter what. She would sacrifice. She would come up with a solution, whether it is a community car pool, or switching shifts at work, or asking a neighbor or relative to help. But no, she will just complain. She will be the squeaky wheel and hope that the "what about the children, won't anyone please think about the children" plea will get a politician to throw more money at the problem.

The second story that caused me to feel sad was a story about a group of people in Wyoming who have banded together to stop a property owner to develop his land into a wind farm, because it will ruin their view. Their "not in my backyard" mentality is based upon their feeling that they are entitled to an unblemished view of their surroundings.

Kenneth G. Lay, a founder of the group, said its members aren't opposed to industrial scale wind development in places such as Wyoming's eastern plains, where landowners are actively marketing their land to wind developers. But the group doesn't want a big wind farm in an area it describes as "scenic, multiple-use landscapes."

You know what I would tell ol' Kenneth? Tough shit. If you don't want anything blocking your "scenic, multiple-use landscapes", then buy the property. And who gets to decide that one of the "multiple-uses" of the landscape isn't to harness the wind? Not the owner of the property. No, that would give the owner too much freedom. And we can't have that.

The problem with Kenneth and his group, is that if they don't get their way, I'm certain they will attmept to use the strong arm of government to impose their wishes, because as the article informs us, "We think there needs to be a responsible siting process that is going to balance a lot of interests that everybody has," said Lay, who spends his time on his ranch neighboring Grant's while not working in Washington, D.C., as treasurer of the World Bank, so I'm sure he has some D.C. connections to help him out.

I'm not an anarchist. I believe that the government has legitimate roles in our lives. But it is a fine line between having a role and running our lives. And when a majority of our citizenry feels entitled to having the government solve every little problem that faces them, then we no longer are living in a free society.

Government involvement in our lives has made our society and our citizenry soft. It causes us to lose the rugged independent streak that made this country great. It allows us to pass the buck, to let someone else figure it out. To throw piles of money at the problem. Or, if that doesn't work, get the government to "fix" the problem by stomping on someone else's rights to pacify your entitlements.


  1. You are so correct on this issue. Taking responsibility goes well beyond the individual and has become a societal problem. General Motors, AGI, the banking industry, student loan industry, housing industry, individuals who wanted the really big house that they couldn't afford... where does it end?

    When I was a financial aid officer, in a former life, you can't imagine the number of people who wanted federal student aid because they over extended. They simply couldn't understand why they weren't eligible for the need-based grants and loans. Didn't the government realize "how much their homes, boats, etc. cost"?

    The challenge is to shift the thinking of a society. We live in a world of "I want it now" and if something goes wrong "It wasn't my fault". The paradigm shift has to start with individual responsibility and embraced at the highest levels of industry and government.

  2. Speaking of entitlements... this article definitely concerned me!! Where does it end??