So basketball star Dennis Rodman got angry when pressed about his unholy visit to North Korea, a nation whose government echoes Stalin-style purges and repression.
But frankly, who cares what an overgrown basketball player thinks about international relations?
For that matter, who cares what a guy with a long beard on a TV reality show thinks about gay people? When Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson spoke on the issue, it drew international attention.
But why was anyone surprised by his views and moreover, why should anyone care? Does being a rich redneck give him some special insight into the gay community?
All of these kinds of things reflect the dumbing-down of the American culture. Thoughtful discourse on important issues has been replaced by celebrity muttering.
Look at all those in Hollywood who have taken up some kind of political cause. They have that right, of course, but the political opinions of a celebrity actor aren’t necessarily a learned opinion. They get media face time to espouse their political views not because they know what they’re talking about, but rather because they are a celebrity face.
Meanwhile, the voices of those who seriously consider current issues are muted by a culture more interested in an iconic celebrity name than aptitude.
We live in an entitlement age. Too many people think they are “entitled” to a certain standard of living even if they’re too lazy to work. Entire American subcultures are built around the idea of entitlement.
And that mentality has become part of the national political landscape. Consider how President Obama is waging war on “inequality” in the nation, saying those who produce and are successful aren’t paying their “fair share” of government.
But the truth is, nearly half of all working Americans pay zero federal income taxes. Many get back more money than they pay in. Millions of others are on some kind of welfare, from food stamps, to subsidized housing to any number of other government programs.
A small percentage of people in this country are paying far more than their “fair share” in taxes just so those with an entitlement mentality don’t have to work.
A tipping point is coming. When those who pay the taxes falls below 40 percent and those who pay no taxes goes above 60 percent, the nation will be in serious peril for domestic turmoil and revolt.
President Obama is hyping that idea in a bid to politicize the issue for the 2014 mid-term elections. He is actively seeking to polarize the nation between those who feel entitled and those who don’t. He wants to take more from the workers in society and redistribute that to those who don’t work in a bid to buy their votes.
It’s ugly and unworthy of a president to play that game.
The president is right that there are two classes of citizens in the nation today, but he defines them wrongly. The real division is between those who work in the private sector and those who work for government.
Talk about an entitlement mentality — the government workforce has a huge sense of entitlement. Just look at how many cities are going broke because of bloated employee pension funds.
All of that leads to a bad outcome. In New York, over 100 former city employees are being rounded up for fraud in claiming disability when in fact, they weren’t disabled.
According to an AP story:
“Workers collected years’ worth of benefits after being coached on how to portray their problems, reporting that they were so psychologically damaged that they couldn’t take care of themselves, one of the officials said. But ‘people who said they could barely leave their homes had robust lives out of their homes,’ the official said.”
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Disability claims fraud is rampant across the nation. The abuse taints a system designed to help those really in need and who can’t work.
It’s the entitlement mentality taken to its most perverse extreme.
And nowhere is the entitlement mentality as strong as it is within government bureaucracy.
Mike Buffington is co-publisher of the Barrow Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.