I am concerned about the “cult of irresponsibility” that has been sweeping this nation for the last couple of decades, making it acceptable for people to disguise their own inadequacies, weaknesses, laziness, and blatant social and criminal mistakes under the guise of the “victim’s mentality.” And although it is human nature to often lose track of how wonderful we have it as we concentrate on those who have it even better, it seems absurd in this wonderful day and age that we can’t all at least pause in amazement at the incredible progress mankind has made, and how Americans have especially benefited from this advancement.
As I write this, the United States is at the tail end of the greatest increase in wealth in the history of the world. Although we are most likely entering a period of financial adjustment and equalization that will seem a bit painful in contrast to the easy money times most people experienced during the last decade, there is certainly little reason for most people to whine. We’ve come so far and can afford to give a little back.
The American middle- and upper-middle class now lives with luxuries that just a few years ago would have left the world’s most elite aristocracy wide-eyed in amazement. Here’s a short list of how American society has changed—for the worse, in many respects:
? Millionaires are now a dime a dozen, and the billionaire now occupies the financial status seat.
? After a hard day at the air-conditioned glass palace they call the office, most Americans pop the remote control that allows them electronic access into the leather-trimmed control center of their $35,000 SUV.
? They sip $5 designer coffees as they listen to their five-thousand watt ten-CD electronic sound system, while cruising at high speeds down immaculately manicured roadways, totally unconcerned about the elements, because their all-wheel drive vehicles have been designed to tackle any road condition.
? They chat with friends on tiny cell phones, pausing to enter lunch and concert dates into handheld computers that help organize their complicated lives.
? They talk about their 401k programs, last night’s episode of Desperate Housewives, and the newest $700 titanium-enhanced super golf club they are going to buy next week.
Long gone are the days when conversations would be laced with stories of relatives who died from common diseases or in a war. Although medical science can certainly always keep advancing, today’s twenty-year olds can be relatively statistically confident of living to ninety years of age or more, most likely with medicine and genetic therapy that will keep them looking and feeling good, and even sexually active, at ages well past their grandparents’ average life span.
And the truth is, I couldn’t be happier about all of this. Why not? We deserve it. Although I am not entirely convinced that many so-called advances in society will ultimately prove superior to the ways we did it in the old days, I much prefer a vanilla latte to the caustic Folgers’ java I used to buy at the gas station, I really like the way my Range Rover handles, and I look forward to making love to my wife for seven or eight hours on my ninety-fifth birthday. Many talented Warriors and Workers put a lot of effort into innovating and creating this bold new world, and we should enjoy it.