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Old 04-20-2006, 11:23 PM   #31
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With the end of the Vietnam war, and the realization that a requirement to serve one's country had ended, the full sense of entitlement set in.


to try and get back on topic a bit, and to tie in a point that Yolland made early in her post, i wonder if this requirement to serve one's country is necessarily a good thing.

if i were required to serve in Iraq, i'd feel a strong sense of shame, as well as a sense of resentment. i am an individual before i am an American, and i place my personal objections to the war in Iraq before whatever gratitude i feel as an American, and i feel as if this is 100% related to what the article was getting at -- i don't feel as if my obligations to a greater entity (i wouldn't feel comfortable calling it a greater "good") outweigh my personal moral convictions. in fact, i'd view it a greater act of patriotism to deliberately disobey whatever call to duty my country might ask of me if i felt as if my country were behaving below my personal understanding of what my country should be doing.

in some ways, i think this is tremendous -- perhaps the post 1970 generation would make any sort of totalitarianism impossible; we'd never go along with it, we'd never sacrafice our own personal sense of morality and righteousness for the sake of the state.

yet, how do we move forward collectively?
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Old 04-20-2006, 11:32 PM   #32
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i am an individual before i am an American
That may be the best summation yet. I'm not sure this held as true in prior generations when faced with things like compulsory military service. Sure, there was resentment and anger in the GIs of WWII, but there was also a stronger sense of nationality.

What could be the cause of this? Is it the passage of time since family lines immigrated to the US? Is it the greater affluence?
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Old 04-20-2006, 11:43 PM   #33
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What could be the cause of this? Is it the passage of time since family lines immigrated to the US? Is it the greater affluence?


quite honestly, i see it as an evolution. i think many europeans, especially those who have seen their countries destroyed by nationalism, feel the same why. i think unthinking, unflinching fidelity to the nation-state is a recipe for fascism, i think that people who base their self-esteem and sense of self-worth in whatever country happens to be on their passport are a bunch of losers.

in fact, this is what i wrote my thesis on! that the individual is more important than the state.

you know, "their lives are bigger/ than any big idea".

in my moments of self-aggrandizement, i deem myself a world citizen. i'd like to pick and choose which national characteristics i find admirable, and which i find deplorable. i would fight to vanquish the Nazis, but i would never have fought against the Viet Cong. i supported actions in Afghanistan, but i have protested since 2002 against the invasion of Iraq.

i suppose i view this as advanced citizenship -- but i can also understand how this is viewed as being spoiled, as a sense of entitlement on crack.

but this is where i am.
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Old 04-20-2006, 11:43 PM   #34
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Constant cheerleading from parents, teachers, etc. doesn't lead to well-adjusted, confident adults. It generally leads to a generation of spoiled, self-indulgent brats with serious entitlement issues...
Originally posted by Melon "Entitlement" is, frankly, a poor word used by arrogant Republicans to absolve themselves from guilt.


Melon, was your comment above directed to my statement?

Just for clarification purposes, when talking about 'entitlement issues' in the comments above, I was generally referring to the vibe that I get from many of today's teens/ young adults that they simply deserve nice things - high-paying, statused jobs right out of school, big homes, nice cars, expensive clothes, etc. The whole thought of starting at the bottom & working their way to the top is not only foreign to them, it's actually repugnant. And of course, this is a generalization - I readily admit that. But it does seems to be a common thread among a good part of the population that I encounter.

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Old 04-21-2006, 01:22 AM   #35
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That's a great point.

I'm a big fan of college because it's a great way to spend 4 years surrounded by your peers and (hopefully) participating in some critical thinking. But for many kids, it's absolutely the wrong thing to do. And these days, it's like everyone is getting BAs, which there is nothing wrong with, but many of these kids are getting them because nobody ever suggested that they have other choices.
I second this point as well! My brother is a great example. He's a poor student, I mean, he really sucks. He applied to my college, which has a 99% acceptance rate (pretty affluent private college, but they accept everybody) and he didn't get in. He thought about going to the community college, but got a job working for my dad's contractor friends. They say he's the best worker b/c he's so damn scrawny, he always has to prove himself. He works up to 16 hrs a day. He's not even 20 and could almost put a down payment on a house if he wanted to (or build one like he's thinking). My mom is happy for him. We were worried because my high school did have some vo-tech/trade type classes and he took them all, but these days it seems like there's stigma in opting for vo-tech/trade classes or schools. But why waste $100,000 on a BA when that's not going to help him one wit when it comes to contruction and carpentry?

My dad was the same way, never went to college, but is now known as one of the best salesmen of paint, lumber, and other contracting supplies in our area. But back then NONE of his friends went to college and nobody said they were stupid or lacked direction.
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Old 04-21-2006, 01:14 PM   #36
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College isn't for everyone... Mr. Blu being a perfect example. He was a poor student because of unrecognized/undiagnosed dyslexia. But according to his mother, from the time he was 8 or 9 years old, if a blender, toaster, or other small household appliance quit working, he could take it apart, put it back together & make it work. (This seems to be a fairly common trait amongst dyslexics from what I've read.)

He graduated high school with mediocre grades and went to a vocational school for Diesel Mechanics - not so much to learn the trade, since he'd been fixing cars since he was a teen, but more to show potential employers that he had some formal training. He now works for our city & (although he'd deny it) is the top mechanic in their garage. He'll never go to work in a shirt & tie, but he makes excellent money and will eventually be the one managing the shop. I'm biased, of course , but that to me is a success story and I know there are millions out there like him - no less intelligent than some who managed to get through college.
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