The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It


If like me you are a member of the Baby Boomer generation, perhaps you will think that the title of this post refers to the likelihood that at some point in the not too distant future we will be in need of a product designed to minimize the consequences of physical incontinence.  Perhaps I’ve been too closely focused on the campaign used to sell Obamacare to America, but I’ve picked up on the “bait and switch” tactics and this post will focus on issues other than adult diapers.

Part of the rite of passage that I experienced as a child was looking forward to being an adult.  Somehow, at that magical age of twenty-one I thought I would be emancipated, free of all those annoying regulations that my parents concocted in the dark of night.  What I didn’t realize was that obeying those parental rules was preparation for my becoming a responsible adult.  I emphasize the word responsible.

It doesn’t take much more than sticking around long enough in order to achieve adulthood.  Maturity is another matter.  And it is not one that is miraculously conveyed by benefit of the calendar.  And I certainly wasn’t mature the minute the clock struck and I was an “official” twenty-one year old adult.

While I didn’t understand why I was supposed to go to school, my parents understood that without an education I had a limited future.  I didn’t like it when Mom reminded me that I had an appointment with the orthodontist to have my braces tightened, but I went to see him anyway.  There were times when I just didn’t feel like playing the piano, but that didn’t make the requirement that I was expected to practice for a minimum of an hour a day disappear.

I don’t think that my parents were very different from most of my classmates’  parents.  And I think that most of us kids, whether we really wanted to or not, heeded them – at least most of the time.  Both the kids and the parents of my generation largely understood that we were responsible for what we did and for what we failed to do – and those decisions had implications – sometimes life altering ones.

But that was then and this is now.

Shirking personal responsibility is largely the measure of one’s fitting into society today.  We have replaced college degrees in engineering with degrees in excuse making.  It’s always someone else’s or something else’s fault for our failures.  We have embraced the psychology of being victims rather than being victors.  And that kiss of death extends from those who are parents to those who have attempted to interpose themselves “in loco parentis” in government.

I think that my parents viewed my twenty-first birthday with a bit of melancholy.  They were happy to see that they had done a relatively decent job of helping me grow up in a nurturing home and were pleased that I had adopted their value system.  But they also realized that I was going to be leaving the nest and that their home dynamic was going to change because of that.

Today there is a different dynamic.  We have dis-emboweled the family and parents have, in large measure, abdicated the responsibility of child rearing – a fact that is not lost on those drooling controllers in government who have always believed that they were better empowered to handle that responsibility.  Perhaps the most obvious example of this is one of the much-touted aspects we find in Obamacare – that a “child” can now continue on his or her parents’ insurance policy until the age of twenty-six.

As you know if you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, I’ve tried to set aside the hyperbole flying about the government’s website and actually get some facts and figures.  My parents, both of whom had their own businesses taught me a valuable lesson.  What’s the bottom line?

Without going into the much-reported difficulty of getting information from the site, I was able to gather some data in a number of states to determine how this “benefit” really worked.  I was a little surprised at my results.

The fact is that while a family could maintain their under twenty-six year old child on a policy that they might get through Obamacare, there was absolutely no difference in the premium that they would pay as an insured family – or that would be charged if the family dropped their youngster and that “child” purchased equivalent insurance on his own.  In other words, this “benefit” merely allows mom and dad to pay for their child’s insurance.  To my bottom line thinking, I wondered, “Why is this a benefit?”

There is one obvious reason that the liberal left sees this particular provision as a “benefit.”  It extends the period of time for “maturity” yet further than we have ever pushed it before.  It subliminally reinforces the notion of “dependence,” and who better to be dependent on than government?

If you believe in the inability of the masses to make self-interested decisions, you probably applaud this philosophy.  If you believe the fundamental right and responsibility of the individual is to have the ability to make intelligent and conscientious decisions you probably abhor this mindset.

So whether you endorse the philosophy that the government is the best arbiter of what is best for the individual may, in the final analysis, be a function of the way in which each of us was raised.  And on that, each of our future’s and the future of a nation may all depend.


  1. Ain’t it the truth. I couldn’t wait to have responsibility, and it showed. Even dad, who tended to be a micromanager, pretty much let me run, even with my rifle in my hand, knowing that one screwup, even if no one got hurt would be the end, and that it would be worse, if he heard about it from someone else.

    I remember Bill Maudlin writing in one of his books that he wanted to join the National Guard when he was 16 or 17 and wasn’t living at home (he was in town to go to school) and he had to get someone to sign the permission ‘in loco parentis’. He said they had to be loco to be parentis to him. 🙂 He wanted the fancy uniform as I recall, because he had no particularly good clothes.

    • I don’t know how many stories I have read about young, underage men, lying about their age to get into the military and serve during WW II. That may be a reason that it was “The Greatest Generation.”

      • Had something to do with it, I think. Part of it also was that they were trying to get away from very bad situations toward something better.

        It’s also a very American thing to do, in the civil war they would write ’18’ on slip of paper, put it in their shoe, and when the recruiter asked their age they would say, “I’m over 18.” Didn’t want to lie to the government, after all.

      • I hadn’t heard that story – but it gave me a good laugh.

      • It did me too, when I read it years ago. Probably in “The Centennial History of the Civil War.” which dates me badly, oh well, better to get old than not.

  2. “We have dis-emboweled the family!”
    I have never seen it put that plainly before but that describes how government intervention in our Western world, often good intentioned has taken control of our children out of our hands and given rights to a child which they are not yet equipped to handle. The result is what we see in our violent adolescent world today. They are not aware of limits because parents hands are tied as they grow.

    • There’s an old statement that if you set an infinite number of monkeys at an infinite number of typewriters for eternity, eventually they’ll produce the Encyclopedia Britannica.

      Every so often I prove that I can turn a decent phrase.

  3. OyiaBrown said:

    Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

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