It seems that there has been a fair amount of complaint accumulating in the press in recent times against millennials, and although many of these complaints are well-founded, the blame has been mislaid. That blame actually goes to our degraded society that promotes unbridled materialism and economic Darwinism. These young people were raised to compete in an increasingly materialistic, ruthless society that values the market and corporations over individuals, and denigrates compassion and sharing. Conformity is enforced and if a person cannot manage, then it is their fault. In spite of this, millennials were raised with very high expectations. As this age group begins their fourth decade and they see the dreams they have cherished turn to dust, they will discover that our society has misled them and failed them utterly. If we foster exclusively materialistic values in our society, what else can we expect?
One of the complaints often leveled against millennials is that they labor under delusions of entitlement. College students seem to think they have an A coming just by attending the class; they don’t seem to realize that they actually have to learn something, and then prove that they know it. This is one very unfortunate result of not being prepared for college. They go to college because they understand they need a degree to get a good job, and that’s about all they understand. The reality is very difficult for them, which is unfair, since they are the victims of their parents’, teachers’, and society’s neglect. If we wish to have capable citizens, we must prepare them better than they have been.
On the other hand, their notions of entitlement may be our salvation. In fact, we all are entitled to a decent life in a civilized society. This is understood in Europe, but not in America. Here, public aid is reserved for only the few at the very bottom of the economy, and many, many people are allowed to fall through the cracks. It is barbaric to allow such suffering, but it goes on and on in this country, with no relief in sight. The 1% have gradually made society in their image, and they insist it is our fault if we can’t join them. What they refuse to admit publicly, but understand all too clearly, is that only the 1% can be in the 1%, because there are only so many resources to go around, and if a few people take more than their share, everyone else must suffer, and many even starve. This is precisely what is happening every day – the greed of the few is killing the many poor. My hope is that, as their dreams shatter, millennials do not abandon their notions of entitlement entirely, but realize that they want it bad enough to work for it for everyone.
Copyright © 2016 Teresa Chupp. All rights reserved.