The End of the Entitlement Road
Is this astonishing video of a protest turned near riot related to a wrongfully imprisoned innocent, wanton murder of grandmothers, or government confiscation of children? Nope. It’s over a proposed 32% tuition increase for the University of California system. It’s a symptom of the inevitable collapse of a society built on an entitlement mindset.
Don’t get me wrong. Such increases create real hardships and truly disrupt people’s lives — and their plans for their lives. But intimidating administrators who have only so many dollars to allocate and declaring that it’s “our university” only avoids the broader questions about how the situation came to be. What decisions have California and the United States made to create these circumstances?
UCLA Political Science Professor Mark Sawyer’s point is true enough:
Sawyer said he is angry over the 9 to 10 percent salary cut he’s taken because of mandatory furloughs. But he said he worries more for the status of the university system as a place for affordable education and how it will affect the “future leaders” of the country.
“I’m also worried about the mission of a public institution,” Sawyer said. “It’s a gateway to the middle class and to building the California economy and the nation’s economy, and these institutions are where that all happens.”
It might be too much for which to hope, but perhaps this era of hardship will remind Americans that they can’t simply declare everything to be a priority. Either we can have loose immigration laws, or we can pay public university professors well. Either we can subsidize healthcare and retirement, or we can subsidize young adults’ educations. Either we can regulate industry to the fine detail of our every preference, or we can hold open gateways to individual economic advancement. (Right-wingers will note that the protest sign pictured at the second link advertises for the AFL-CIO.)
In actuality, the long run may prove there to have been only one option, as a failure to build a self-propelling society (rather, a failure to allow it to build itself) undermines our ability to give resources away.