*Americans are greedy indeed, accustomed to having more than what is needed and certainly more than enough.
But that was not always the nation’s standard.
America’s economy was stabilized after the Great Depression, with its citizens and leaders vowing never to go through such a horrible period of poverty again.
Not only did the event demoralize Americans, it had destabilized the nation’s economy, which meant that economic growth was hard to come by for America.
But after WWII, America figured some things out. By assisting Europe in rebuilding itself through the Marshall Plan, it also created a number of foreign markets that were able (and felt obligated) to buy from America.
In the decades that followed, America began to experience wild economic growth. The benefits of that growth were passed on to youth, who, indulged in ways unlike their parents, began to view the world differently.
By the Sixties, youth who had been indulged with things-televisions, cars, etc.-wanted something different. They chose to pursue a divergent lifestyle, which included drugs, wild music, and oh yes–sex, sex, sex.
You see, they had been given all of the things that people previously had to work for and they did nothing to earn them. They were being taught that delaying gratification was unnecessary.
We now see the results of decades of overindulgence, which includes a quickly descending value system and the never-ending pursuit of immediate gratification.
We see this when kids won’t wait until marriage for the wildest of sexual activities, or when young adults won’t wait until achieving financial stability before purchasing expensive cars or taking lavish vacations.
In prior generations, every individual was necessary in order for the family to make it–even the children had to carry some of the weight. But when you enter into an era where there is excess and the children are not burdened with anything yet are indulged with everything, the result is an expectation of more of the same throughout life.
The expectation of being overindulged is why relationships fail so often. One or both persons in the relationship expect to be overindulged, without a sense of having to do anything in return-not even to carry one’s own weight.
America women, who previously would have been preparing to cook, clean, mind the kids and do the sewing, still expect to be wined and dined, so that a man can demonstrate that he can provide for her. Most women aren’t looking to be anything close to domesticated, but still expect the same privileges of financial demonstration.
American men, who previously would have carried the sole financial burden for the family, still expect women to cook and to clean the house, demonstrating that the home would be tended to if the woman was provided for. Most men either aren’t prepared to carry the burden single-handedly, or simply have no clue as to what it truly means to be the standard bearer for a household, yet still expect the same privileges of domestic demonstration.
And, because Americans have become so damned lazy and selfish, even sitting down to have open and honest discussion about what is expected from the other is too much work.
Americans who have been overindulged believe they deserve things, even though they have no idea what they should do to actually earn them. They look to others to fulfill their desires, because they have been brought up by parents and propaganda to believe that they are deserving of things simply because they exist in the world.
A song came out a few years ago in which the woman told other women: “You deserve a man who will bend over backward…and buy you things, like diamond rings…” Never once did the singer mention what the women should do to deserve such treatment.
And I saw the physical manifestation of that sentiment in a woman I went on one date with. She wasn’t very nice and only spoke of what she demanded from the men who wanted to be with her. After listening to all that she listed, I simply asked why anyone would indulge her. Her short and simple response was: “I deserve it.” She couldn’t list any beautiful, valuable personal attributes or anything she would give to a man or do for a man-her only focus was on what she “deserved.”
It is indicative of our society’s state when people want to make omelets, but don’t want to break eggs.
We see clowns who talk about being revolutionaries, running away from the work of the actual revolution.
We see unintelligent morons holding court and challenging intellectuals without doing one lick of research or even reading more than a romance novel or tabloid magazine, because doing the real work of the enlightened is time consuming and burdensome.
So-called religious devotees give their religions a bad name by taking part in all of the fleshy sinful activities that are to be avoided by the truly pious, yet, proclaiming to be all things holy and beautiful. Doing the actual work of avoiding wrongdoing means avoiding a great deal of fun and Americans just aren’t with that.
Which leads us to the old adage: “Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die.” That is more relevant today than perhaps ever before.
Americans and other nations seeking to live the “American Way,” stand on a slippery slope to a hellish existence of overindulgence, which is truly the path to the end of everything good.
We see this in the youth who want the latest, greatest toy, without doing anything to earn it. Kids with bad grades and poor social behavior are still rewarded with the most expensive toys available.
Does anyone do chores in the home to earn allowance anymore?
I remember the value I placed on the simple and inexpensive toys I got for Christmas and I juxtapose that to the reckless detachment kids have to their expensive toys of today–unappreciated and quickly abandoned for the newest version of the overpriced mind-waster. Honestly, I feel sorry watching parents give their children things instead of values and meaningful experiences, gifts instead of loving touches and expressing love through spending money instead of spending time.
It makes me value growing up poor.
Am I advocating forced suffering for the nation’s youth?
No, but I do know that overindulging humans makes them numb to the simple pleasures of life and that it renders dedication to others insufferable while leaving intrinsic meaning in life elusive.
We don’t have to take all of the good things away from our kids in order to make them better human beings. But at some point, we have to make those good things harder to come by so that they can be appreciated more.
We would do well as a society to focus on delivering values and time to our children, who would then appreciate more of the human experience.
Otherwise, our continued legacy is obesity due to abundant twinkies, sexual depravity due to plentiful meaningless sex and low moral character due to overindulgence without the earning of anything.
This is what happens when too much is never enough.
Sadly, that has become the American Way.
Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.” Now, listen to Darryl live on BlogTalkRadio.com/DarrylJames every Sunday from 6-8pm, PST. View previous installments of this column at www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at [email protected].