Thursday, June 4, 2015

I just returned from Boston, where I enjoyed a couple days of sight-seeing and visiting with old friends.  Boston is one of my favorite places to be.  It is beautiful, the people are really nice, and the history surrounds me at every turn.

The last day, I walked for a couple of miles, just enjoying the atmosphere. At least, until I looked up at a lovely old building, and saw the end result of our nation's preoccupation with the entitlement philosophy. On the side of that historic old building was an ad, its message covering one full side.  It said: "Everyone deserves to have dental treatment.  For free fillings, caps, and other services, call 800-xxxxxxxx."   My first thought was, "Our founding fathers, who battled on that very ground, did not include the phrase 'deserves free stuff' when they penned the Declaration of Independence and later the Bill of Rights."  I was appalled at this display of encouragement for unearned "rights."  While I believe we should definitely help those who strive to better themselves by working, but have unfortunate circumstances short-circuiting that effort, this message said (at least to me) that it doesn't matter if you work or not.  I believe in supporting those with health and age-related situations which prevents them from working at all. However, I cannot but believe that this message does nothing to encourage independence and the work ethic upon which our country was built. I mentioned this to one young medical student. His response was "Well, it's hard to deny treatment to someone needing it."  Agreed, if you see them in a hospital emergency room and they are obviously in great physical pain and need.  You treat first, and ask questions later. However, to advertise "free stuff" for no effort paves the way for the non-doers of this society to further their expectations of receiving something for nothing.