I have been suffering the deluge of political content on Facebook. People post stuff, other people post other stuff, it ends in a flame war with people blocking each other. Look to the news media and other sources, and we see all sorts of interesting attitudes that people have. On Drudge this morning, there is someone saying they will vote for Obama because he got them a cell phone.
So that got me to thinking about attitudes, and something my Dad always said was a bad idea: Instant Happiness. Why would that be a bad thing? It is the same as the “Give a man a fish, Teach a man to fish” attitude. Very few people have any success doing the thing that brings instant gratification, whether it is buying a candy bar just this one time because I’m hungry, or voting for a candidate because you like the suit they are wearing.
We have become a nation of instant gratification. Need something? Look on Amazon and you can have it tomorrow. The internet is partly responsible for much of this. Lonely? Go to a chat site or dating site. Need excitement? Check out an online video or game. On demand…
So how is this affecting us as a nation? The influence is not good. No jobs? Pour money into the system. Create shovel-ready jobs. We can get someone a job for the summer. Instant happiness. Not a long term fix.
The 1%, the Wall Street protesters, have a few things right. The large institutions (including the government) would rather make a bunch of money now and not worry about the future, because they will be gone (the people making the decisions). So many people, both in the 1% and in the 46% who pay no taxes, are thinking about what they can do for a fix right now. And the fix right now, while it might help right now, will imperil the future. It started with FDR and here we are today, bankrupt.
So this is one attitude, that we must have instant happiness. The second attitude is, why should I do anything when the government is going to pay me anyway? And it isn’t just about welfare or unemployment benefits; a little of these things are a godsend to many families. But these programs were never intended for people to live on them as a lifestyle — but then they are a disincentive for anyone to go out and get a job! Not because of the programs, but rather because of the attitudes of entitlement that have grown so much of late.
So at the top we have the 1% (not all of them, of course) raping the future for present rewards; and at the other end we have people raping the future for present rewards, only the future they are raping is their own personal one, where the 1% are raping the futures of others. We need a dramatic change in attitude to get this nation back where it once was. How do we start?