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My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.
|A Surprising Source of Wisdom
coming through an equally surprising filter.
Andrew Sullivan today writes about a memo circulated by, of all people, Prince Charles, decrying the culture of entitlement. Here's the graf that jumped out at me (Sullivan's writing, not Charles'):
When the skill-difference between jobs is trivial, sometimes ability can be in the eye of the beholder. Bad management can squelch the most eager and capable of drones. But Charles is right to bemoan the notion that anyone can do anything, and that if they don't, some injustice is somehow being perpetrated. That injustice is called life.
This cuts to one of my pet peeves, being a teacher of children. The one thing that really gets me going in class is when a student cries out "that's not fair!" My stock response is "There's a big difference between what's fair and what you want" which usually leads to a pointless debate over expectations and earning rewards--I say it's pointless because I may as well be speaking to this generation in Swahili for all the background they have to take this lesson to heart. Imagine what products of a European education system have as background.
But then Sullivan surprises me, and, I think unintentionally, points to faith as the genuine solution to this cultural quandary:
Is there any way out? The only answer, I think, is cultural and moral. We have to decouple the notion of virtue and worth from material success. I don't think it's an accident that we see greater emphasis on religious faith and moral values at a time when our economy is increasingly rewarding people on the brutal basis of market worth. It's a way of correcting for inequality, by reminding people that their dignity inheres in something far more profound than their paycheck or social status.
Just think back a couple weeks to the election. While much was being said about the Dem ground game, all analyses post-election have pointed to the effectiveness--the HARD WORK--of the GOP volunteer workforce, as opposed to the paid union workforce of the Dems. A force of individuals who choose to give up their time for something they believe in--from which they derive "dignity"--is far more effective than a force paid to do the same effort. Pretty simple, really.
And, by the way, not news to the red states.