Whatever happened to grit? My dictionary defines it as, "firmness of character"... "pluck"... "indomitable spirit". In this week's syndicated column, I look at how America's welfare state robs us of grit.
It shouldn't surprise me that parents want to shelter their kids from all risk. The parents themselves live in a society where risk is less and less acceptable. We expect regulations to protect us from accidents. We expect police to protect us from every imaginable criminal threat. We demand welfare, unemployment insurance and bailouts to protect every level of society from economic risk.
When something goes wrong, we sue.
It wasn't always like this.
Our country's founders left relatively safe places to tough it out in the wilderness, to turn what a character in a John Wayne movie called "empty land used for nothin'" into ranches and farms. Doing that required long days spent hunting, plowing, fighting off enemies, digging in through cold winters, sometimes starving, losing children, losing wives and husbands - it took grit to create American civilization.
Grit requires delaying gratification, wanting something bigger than yourself.
As John Wayne's character himself put it in "The Big Trail": "We're building a nation. We've got to suffer. No great trail was ever blazed without hardship. That's life.
The rest of my syndicated column here.