Fighting against the growing entitlement society

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Glenn focused his TV show Wednesday night squarely on a growing, out of control entitlement society that had lost its connection to community and reality.

In the opening moments of the show, Glenn discussed a study that found that today’s college students have an inflated sense of ability and skills, especially compared to students in the 1960s. Despite their above average view of their own ability, their skills are actually less than those of students generations ago. At the same time, today’s students are focused on what is owed to them by society rather than on how they as individuals can contribute to improving their community.

This new mentality contrasts sharply the attitude of generations past. Earlier generations used to pursue American dream through ingenuity and hard work. If they were ultimately rewarded success, they considered themselves incredibly fortunate. Today, college students think they are owed this success but they don’t think it should come with any work.

The Guardian analyzed the details of the study:

Psychologist Jean Twenge and her colleagues compiled the data and found that over the last four decades there’s been a dramatic rise in the number of students who describe themselves as being ‘above average’ in the areas of academic ability, drive to achieve, mathematical ability, and self-confidence.

But in appraising the traits that are considered less invidualistic – co-operativeness, understanding others, and spirituality – the numbers either stayed at slightly decreased over the same period.

Researchers also found a disconnect between the student’s opinions of themselves and actual ability. 

This “ambition inflation” has perverted the American Dream. A country that was once full of people who believed in bettering themselves, hard work, self reliance, and personal responsibility has been replaced by one with a growing number of people focused on “me”. They want all of the success, all of the fame, and all of the recognition without any of the hard work or the willingness to put in the time.

Glenn invited Dr. Keith Campbell & Kay Wills Wyma onto the show to discuss the entitlement culture. Campbell laid out four key cultural trends that lead to the entitlement society: self-esteem movement, celebrity culture, emerging media, and the credit bubble.

The self-esteem movement sees parents giving their children unique names that separate them from the rest of their family. For example, there are multiple Edwards for a person to connect with, but only one “Blue Ivy”. The self-esteem movement also develops from kids learning songs about how special they are and winning trophies they didn’t deserve.

Celebrity culture sees a celebration of selfishness, bad behavior, and outrageousness. Just look at MTV and the cast of the Jersey Shore, a bunch of kids who got money and fame for being filmed drinking and partying. Then there are Paris Hiltons and Kim Kardashians who become famous for doing nothing.

Emerging media includes social media, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These disconnects people from the real world and plugs them into the virtual world instead. Here they become focused on virtual connections and a virtual self, rather than reality. While there are a lot of benefits to social networks, some kids are using them only for self-promotion which just feeds narcissism.

Finally, there has been a credit bubble where people no longer have to pay for things and live off credit rather than pay for things. Kids have trillions in student loan debt, and there are calls for the government to forgive this debt which only teaches students they don’t have to pay for what they have and there are no consequences for bad behavior.

But there are solutions, and they begin at home. Kay Wills Wyma said she had to fix the entitlement attitude in her kids, and she started by making them take responsibility for their chores at home. She had them learn to shop for groceries, to cook, and to clean up. Parents have to get over the convenience of doing things without the kids and help them understand the work that goes into getting chores done during the day.

“It’s fun to watch these kids. It takes mountains and changes them from obstacles to opportunities and that’s really start to go ‘I can do so much more than I though I could.,” she said.

Dr. Campbell added that people need to do what they are passionate about because when they do their ego disappears into the work they are doing. He also said that there also need to be real, natural consequences to accompany actions.

  • Anonymous

    Glenn, you nailed it with this show. Our nation is in severe moral decline, and the descent is not slowing yet. We elevate self indulgence and lack any moral compass whatsoever. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this show. It’s about time somebody begins to discuss the root of the violence in our society.

    As a 48 year old woman who was raised with discipline and strict rules of conduct, I find it almost impossible to compete against the entitlement generation in the workplace. These kids come in with no experience and very little drive and expect to occupy the corner office on day one. They have absolutely no concept of earning anything.

  • landofaahs

    It is the downward spiral.  When you have a majority that attacks a group of means, it beomes a pattern.  The pattern repeats until we take down by stages every group of any substance until one day the masses find there is nobody left to steal from.
    Oh what tangled web we tat, once we become a democrat. LOL

  • Wally Fiedor

    My question is:  When was this polar shift before our Continental divide?  I live in the back woods of Pennsylvania where EVERYBODY was once a Democrat.  They were for the working man, for our freedoms, yadda yadda.  The definition of grassroots.  Now suddenly everybody is changing their party going Republican because that is what they are for?.?.?  I say we start a new party.

    The Thick Skin, Shut Up or I’ll punch you in the face, don’t trample on my freedom, keep government fenced in, keep jobs in America, get off your lazy ass and work you dirty bums milking the system, gun toting, giant pickup truck driving, calloused hand shaking, neighbor loving, God loving, pedophile executing, public BBQ attending, horse shit shoveling, coal mining, oil drilling, steel making, chest pounding FREAKING AMERICA!!!!!!  Or as I would call it….. the Freedom Party.

    • Brian Hewitt

      Uh…that would be the Libertarian party

    • AFMomXs2

       Count me in Wally !!!

    • Anonymous

      Wally, we already have that in Wyoming.

    • ZoeOlivia

      sign me up!

    • greywolfrs

      You are free to join us Libertarians at any time.

    • Anonymous

      Wally, read a book, buddy, and not one by GB or David Barton. Parties shift their ideological foundations as their demographic bases shift, among other reasons. Today’s GOP, still operating, albeit more loosely, in the vein of the Reagan years, shares much of its ideological tenets with those of southern (conservative) democrats fifty years ago. Think George Wallace. Things do change. Goldwater would never get through the GOP primaries today. 

      As for narcissism, social critics have been decrying the “culture of narcissism” since the 1970s and before. But where is the data? How do we quantify an increase in narcissism. You can’t. GB’s real line of argument is–“it seems, from mine and my friends’ perspectives, that most people do not believe like me, in Jesus, anti-abortion, wild-eyed conspiracy theories stolen from Alex Jones, and that Barack Obama is the antichrist, among many other things, and so the world must be going to hell in a hand basket.”

       And almost–I said “almost”–out of nowhere the guy drops credit into the mix. Yet he gives not context. Why do we, as individuals, rely on credit so much? Perhaps because of the wage squeezes since the 1970s. Or because our biggest employer is Wal-Mart, where people make nothing, get few hours, and even fewer benefits (I know, Wal-Mart has been making positive moves as of late. We’ll see how it pans out)? And all of this is tied to the rise of the financialization of everything. This is one reason why trickle-down economics doesn’t work. Rich people do not have to invest in jobs to continue to make their money make them more money. And so they don’t. Real wages have been dropping, with a slight bump in the 1990s, since the 1980s. These are real stats. Look them up. Households may be keeping up slightly, but that’s because many of them have two people working to make what one person made 40 years ago. Two parents in the workforce…hmmmm, possible problems with the stability of the family unit? But our economy runs on consumption. So, if people aren’t going to make money, and yet we still need them buying all the crap we import from China, enter VISA, Mastercard, because, “for everything else, there’s…”

      Working people have been screwed in this country. And yes, the government–the dems and the GOP alike–have participated in that screwing. But at the end of the day, this idea of big govt as the problem is simply a tool to divide people. Like gay marriage and abortion. Whatever will keep two working men or women from realizing that they are getting the short end of the stick and banding together to do something about it. Instead, they blame others. It’s those lazy poor people bleeding the govt coffers dry! It’s amazing how poor people have so much power, huh? It’s a like a dad who loses the family nest egg gambling and then screams at his children for profligacy.  

      How do you libertarians explain the rise of the middle-class after WWII? Yes, hard work. But what about FHA loans that put millions of people (mainly white) into their first homes. What about the G.I. and VA loans that allowed service men and women (again, mostly the white ones, mostly the men) to go t college and buy homes? What about the interstate highway system? What about the Cold War defense buildup that put millions of Americans to work making war material that we never even used? What about the union efforts that secured so much of what laborers take for granted today? The masses of industrial workers who climbed to the middle class in the last 50 years had union help, which up until the late 1930s wasn’t option until the govt granted unionization rights, collective bargaining rights, etc. And what about all these old-age benefits, unemployment insurance, etc? Do you really think people would put away the money? It’s easy to say that if they didn’t then they should suffer the consequences. But what happens is society suffers the consequences of too many people out of work, or too many sick people not paying for their care. 

      Libertarianism is as utopian as communism. 

      • Fred Gingerale

        “Goldwater would never get through the GOP primaries today”

        Parroting talking points only serves to make one look ignorant. Do you really feel that way or just repeating what you’ve read that someone smarter than you said in an article or on CNN for affect? Lets hear why YOU think Goldwater would never get through the GOP primaries today. And, no using Google.

    • Anonymous

      There are two views among libertarian-minded people.  There are the Ron Paul-minded ones, who believe the solution is to attack the liberalism in the Republican Party and change it back to its core values.  The other is the more Gary Johnson-esque approach, being separation from the Republicans.  I tend to favor the first, because it is the one that I see as making the biggest difference.  Ron never compromised his beliefs, and he’s made a difference.  There have been huge shifts in the Republican Party, and if we can keep it going (for instance, elect someone conservative to take John McCain’s spot in Arizona), we could see real change.  The kind you can work with.  Literally.

  • Jeff Cleere

    I agree completely with this. It’s not just the parents but the schools as well. Kids get trophies for just simply participating. They get “good job” stickers and the like when they are doing simple courteous things like holding a door open for someone. It’s ridiculous. They should be commended verbally for being considerate but thats all. These kids begin to expect something for every good thing they do no matter how small it is. I know, we see it in our own home with our elementary aged kids. Schools are big problem with this feel good about me all the time stuff.

  • CopJoe

    Great points – and I appreciate the thoughtful comments in this stream. I truly believe so much of this starts at home. My wife and I are dinosaurs – we insist that our kids call adults “Mr., Miss or Mrs.” We expect them to show respect. We do not allow them to watch programs that include offensive language or excessive violence. They do not get stuff just because they want something. 
    They need to earn the opportunity (notice I didn’t say “right”) to have certain possessions. And those possessions can always be repossessed by me – my boys understand that rule.

    We go to church. We pray for others. We volunteer in our community. My wife and I treat the generation that preceded us with respect and admiration.

    I’m amazed at the negative reactions we get from people when we insist that our kids call them Mr. or Mrs. But when you teach and demonstrate respect and responsibility a funny thing happens – kids demonstrate respect and responsibility. They feel less entitled. They understand their own responsibility for their happiness.

    • Kelly Kahn

      Good for you and your family!! I had been a single Mom for the first 10 years of my son’s life, and I tried to instill in him a sense of value and accountability. If he would start to complain about how something was “stupid” or “unfair”, we would talk about it, and he would start to see that things often just “are”. He knows that he is responsible for his actions, his grades, his deeds…  As an example:  he was running cross country this past Fall. He is not athletic, but he wanted to try- he finished Last (but he finished!) In his third race, he was in the way back of the group, and the organizers had already set up the finish line, so he did not have the chance to finish his run. He went through the “gates” and was handed  his ribbon, for 22nd Place (out of over 150 runners).  He looked up at me, and was devastated! “Mom, I didn’t earn this ribbon- I didn’t even finish the race.” So he turned around and went back up to the Teenagers who were handing out the ribbons and told them that they had made a mistake. They didn’t know what to do!! They hugged him, and told him that he was a winner because he was honest!! He was more proud of his honesty than an award that he didn’t earn.

  • Jeff Zahratka

    I had my source for corrective behavior in 1972. The United Staes Navy. The mentors I had then were the best thing that ever happened to me.
    Signed Jeff Zahratka Master Chief Petty Officer (Retired)

  • Anonymous

    Why doesn’t glenn ever talk about the part that the coperations play in the decline of the country.

    • greywolfrs

      Hey stupid, what is a coperation?

  • Dan Williams

    Make education affordable so we don’t have to get loans and spend our 20s and 30s in debt. Make food affordable so we don’t have to starve or be on foodstamps, or beg. Make housing affordable so we don’t have homeless. Fix mental health services so our Veterans don’t get pushed to the streets.
    The problem is the system keeps people in the system instead of giving them the means to take care of themselves, and get out of poverty.

    Glenn Beck claims to be Christian, so this is to him and to anyone else who happens to follow the Bible (of which I do), read Matthew 25:31-46.

    • Anonymous

       Your first paragraph looks like it is the government fixing all these things will do what the Matthew reading says we Christians (individuals/churches) should be doing. Is that your intent? or did I just interpret it wrongly?  The government put so many restrictions on our helping those who need help that it became too difficult for churches to do what they had been doing for the needy for many many years.
       Instead of letting it be simple for churches, individuals and ‘civilian’ organizations to feed and clothe the hungry, government made it nearly impossible and expensive.  The result is more street people getting their food out of the garbage behind stores and restaurants.

       Sometimes for clothing they prey on other homeless people or resort to murder to get someone’s warm jacket.  Government once again had gotten in the way of our doing what Matthew 25 says we should be doing. Sorry this is so long.

  • Sam Fisher

    Luke 9:23 – And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
    1 Corinthians 15: 31 I die every day I mean that, brothers just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus the Lord.
    As Christians we are told to die to ourselves every day in order to make ourselves better how many of my generations is willing to die to their ego.

  • Jude O’Connor

    When we have federal entitlement programs stuffed with federal workers and completely ignored by the media and politicians and what comes out of their mouth first to cut? SS and Medicare. Google this (listing of federal agencies) there’s not an activity here that produces a thing that is taxable but their paychecks. Slowly read it from A-Z and I’m sure you’ll see some you never heard of before and some of the titles will make you laugh. Give it a shot.

  • Anonymous

    Liberal teachers in our schools are part of the problem, when are we going to demand that 50% of all teachers be conservative

    • Anonymous

       The whole education system has been Liberalized/Progressiveized hence true history has never been taught in recent years and the ‘feel good’ attitude has polluted the children. Politically Correct has replaced good manners, common sense and decency taught in schools.

  • Anonymous

    This all began in the schools.  Children were passed from grade
    to grade when so many of them could not read or write.  They
    had to go to college to learn what we learned in high school.
    It is not only a sad state of affairs that these kids promote;  it is
    actually criminal.  So many only care about having fun, sex,
    drinking, drugs and whatever.  Much of this can be blamed on the
    parents.  It is hard to raise a child when you don’t have the time;
    all the media outlets;  the schools; their friends.  What a mess!

    Pretty soon there will not be enough money to support these
    kids.  What will they do then?  
    How long will it be before America collapses under the weight
    of this debt.  Especially since the President told the Congress
    that if they do not raise the debt ceiling that he would not be
    able to pay the nation’s debts.  Social Security, Medicare,
    Medicaid and with the advent of 10,000 people retiring every
    day with not enough money to pay for all of this since all
    the programs are running out of money with trillions of dollars
    owed to Medicare and Social Security;  There is not enough
    money and for those who played by the Golden Rules, they
    will be hurt pretty bad.
    For those who cheated  and lied and took and took and took, 
    there is no pity.  
    They all will have destroyed this great country of ours.

  • Anonymous

    my classmate’s ex-wife makes $75 an hour on the
    internet. She has been out of work for eight months but last month her
    income was $17791 just working on the internet for a few hours. Here’s
    the site to read more

  • Amanda-Justin Harrell

    For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 2 Timothy 3:2

  • Anonymous

    If your child is in public school- at least in our county- the sense of inflated abitlities begins with inflated grades!  “We can’t have all these low grades”, “You don’t have enough ‘A’s”, “He’s a nice kid”,.. Administrator comments. A small group of advanced teachers, including me, met with our feeder middle school administrative staff because the students are not prepared and frankly we’re tired of the combative parent conferences (“My child has always had “A’s” UNTIL YOUR CLASS”). The middle school is a Title I school and the principal took the money and buys every student free breakfast every day and also gives out pencil, paper, school supplies in general to every student who asks.  If students are absent and don’t make up the work, the score is either exempted OR a 55 percent is inserted for the grade. You can see how the entitlement mentality is encouraged… with our tax dollars. And conservative parents with kids in public schools, there are some strong conservatives in the classroom- at least at our high school any way.

  • Terry T

    And so, my fellow Americans: ask what your country can provide for
    you — not what you should contribute to your country.


  • Anonymous

    At 12, both parents worked.  I babysat my youngest sister 6 days a week, made dinner, did dishes, cleaned the house on Saturdays, took care of the garden and the chickens.  It was expected.  What I learned:  How to grow my own food and butcher, cook meat and take care of a house and kids.
    Next question.

  • Kenneth Wilson

    Voting For A Living

  • Jim Jensen

     As a young boy during the 50’s I remember hearing and saying, “it’s a
    free country!”. I think many Obama supporters misunderstood.

  • Neil Abesamis

    Out of all honesty, Glen Beck and Kay Willis Wyma is talking about WELL TO DO children and those who have a home and parents to provide them opportunities to earn their keep. This is shameful because it assumes all youth are lazy and acting entitled. A homeless child or teen has none of these. You can’t cook or buy your own food without money to pay for the food and the appliances you cook them in. How can they clean their own house if they have none? Thousands of homeless children go without food or shelter every day. Entitlement is not the issue. At least not for youth.

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