What did you do to earn that?

Dennis Proager notes that The More Given, the Less Earned and that the word “earn” with its implications is a rather English Language centric idea.

Since the 1960s-‘70s, a concerted effort has been made to weed the word, and therefore the cultural value, of “earning” from American life. Increasingly little is earned. Instead of earning, we are increasingly owed, or we have more rights, or we are simply given.

America became a great civilization thanks to a culture based on the value of having to earn almost everything an American got in life. As it abandons this value, it will become a mediocre civilization. And eventually it will not be America. It will be a large Sweden, and just as influential as the smaller one.

It seems that there is this predisposition towards circumstances not being the result of what we do and that we should place no expectations on anyone else about any consequences of their behavior. Each individual is owed acceptance, love, forgiveness, medical care, a house, … whatever … and need not suffer the burden of having to earn them.

The concept of having to do certain things to gain what one wants is a concept of self responsibility. It is a concept of ownership. It is a concept of social cooperation for the benefit of all as earned through individual contribution. It is one that sees consequences as a result of actions. It is a concept of proven effectiveness. It is also one that seems to be difficult to grasp for many.

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