The dividends of the so-called entitlement generation’s self-esteem offensive may be seeping into the culture at large as well. Consider the widespread and growing protests around the country all year from workers who have been rallying for a $15 minimum wage. The argument against that, if you can call it one, is typically a spittle-flecked dismissal of lazy, entitled workers who want something they didn’t earn. Sound familiar?
Entitlement is merely another way of saying I, and you, and we, deserve something better. That doesn’t mean anyone should be able to work four hours a week and make a hundred grand just because it would be nice and they’re super chill, come on, man. It’s setting a higher ideal, and saying: why the hell not?
This translates into other realms as well. You’ll often hear millennials criticized for saying that their feelings matter, for expressing social justice tendencies online, and for trying to enforce political correctness. While there’s some merit to the argument that that sort of sensitivity can swing too far in the opposite direction at times, by and large this emphasis on personal respect for others’ feelings has had sweeping effects on the way we talk about, accept, and embrace others throughout the country. What is fighting for civil rights (as we’ve seen in the gay-marriage victories), the newly emphasized trans-rights movement, and the enough-is-enough rhetoric of Black Lives Matter but a generation of people demanding more from those who’ve long refused to give it to them?