At least twenty great civilizations have disappeared. The pattern is shockingly similar. All, before their collapse, showed a decline in spiritual values, in moral stamina, and in the freedom and responsibility of their citizens. They showed such symptoms as excessive taxation, bloated bureaucracy, government paternalism, and generally a rather elaborate set of supports, controls, and regulations, affecting prices, wages, production, and consumption.No where in our society is the paternalism and bloated bureaucracy more evident than in our school systems. In our local schools, strapped for cash with a declining enrollment, rather than cut administrative functions, the school board is trying to close two schools. Instead of congratulating the school board on their attempts to balance the budget and the attendance, the protests from the parents and students verge on violence. I can sum up the situation with one work, entitlement. We live in an entitlement society.
Almost everyone from children through to their parents and their parents in turn have an over-riding sense that the government owes them everything and that they own nothing. When faced with foreclosure the entitlement generation look to the government for a bailout. This works all the way up the line, instead of failing because of an inability to compete big businesses continue to pay their officers huge salaries and then look to the government for a bailout.
Even on a personal level, instead of paying off debt, families buy yet another large screen TV and a home theater system and then feel misused when they lose their home to foreclosure. In one recent news article, it was claimed that young smartphone users would rather give up their sense of smell rather than give up texting.
So what is the solution? Look into your own heart and mind. Do you feel that the world owes you a living or anything else? Let me put it short and sweet, the world owes you nothing. As it says in Genesis 3:19, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." That doesn't sound like entitlement to me. Looking back at Ezra Taft Benson's quote, it is partially the decline in the responsibility of the citizens that contributed to the collapse of their civilizations and it is entitlement, or lack of personal responsibility that will contribute to our downfall also.