The issue of trophies for all kids, even those who finish last or, in some cases, don’t even show up to participate, again reared its head last week as a result of a new report on this month’s Real Sports on HBO.
As I have argued for years, this is far more than an issue of parenting, knowing when to expose children to failure, or even sportsmanship. This is an issue, quite literally, that has already begun to tear at the very fabric of our nation’s foundation. Having now raised two entire generations of children with the attitude that they should and will be rewarded for just being, we are already seeing the devastating results in more and more people under the age of 30 who believe that they deserve to be compensated and/or rewarded simply for showing up.
Those numbers will only grow as we allow this trend to not just continue but surge. As the HBO report clearly showed, this is a national movement which is now mainstream and shows no signs of ebbing. Thus, more and more children in every state are being raised with a sense of entitlement simply for breathing. Initial studies on the mindsets or preschoolers are terrifying, further solidifying that this trend is not a trend, it’s a national mindset and institution.
The knee jerk defense mechanism argument for those who insist on failing to acknowledge the seriousness of this policy has been to maintain that the kids will learn when they “get out into the real world.” I have maintained, however, that argument becomes moot when the real world changes as a result of these very generations running the world; and we’re seeing more and signs of that happening already.
In addition to countless anecdotal stories about colleges changing grades for failing students who argue they should be passed “because they tried,” the military coddling more and more sensitive needs of their soldiers, and workplaces tolerating if not fostering the attitude that those who simply show up are “good enough,” comes an increased war on accomplishment, achievement and those who thrive in the workplace.
To whit, no less than Fortune Magazine, a publication based on Capitalism and the pursuit of wealth, released an editorial this week decrying merit pay. In other words, rewarding those who achieve or surpass goals and expectations is everything from unfair to immoral.
Amongst their many arguments as to why merit pay should be eliminated (which translates, by the way, to “everyone should be paid the same regardless of their abilities and talents), is that “A pay-for-performance culture can pit employees against each other and create a mercenary environment of competition…it can damage the team spirit needed for a company to succeed and can leave many employees behind.” That used to be called the “cream was rising to the top,” and those who saw the best thrive would respect them. In today’s culture of everyone getting a trophy, such initiative and success is simply intolerable. Today, when someone does better than someone else, he or she is a “show off,” and a bully because he or she should have used their talents to help those who aren’t as gifted (another way of saying “spread the wealth around”).
Fortune also argues that “Most companies are divided into areas that are credited with generating revenues, like…sales (departments)…(while) areas that are considered cost centers, like manufacturing, accounting, legal, and sometimes even customer service (are not given bonus structures)…The problem is that the cost centers of a company are integral in maintaining the foundation that makes revenue generation possible in the first place, but this fact is less likely to be given its due at bonus time than the bright flash of increased sales.”
Want that in English? Here ya go: (please use whiny, crying baby voice and appropriate foot stomping while translating as follows): Whaaaaaaaa, it’s not fair that some people in some positions make more than do…..whahaaaaaaa, how come the person who sells or makes the product gets a bonus when they wouldn’t even be able to sell it if I didn’t answer their phone calls for them? Whhaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
Applying Fortune’s asinine, Socialist logic looks like this:
- 911 dispatchers should make exactly the same amount of money as responding officers, because if the dispatcher hadn’t taken the call, they’d never know where to go.
- Radio station engineers should make as much as the on-air people who get the ratings and the sales people who sell the product because if the engineer didn’t keep the station on the air, there’d be no ratings in the first place.
- Nurses should make as much as doctors, janitors as much as school principals, retails clerks as much as CEOs.
Getting the picture? This is not new, but it is growing and becoming terrifying when a publication built on initiative, drive, and getting ahead endorses such tripe.
There are arguments specific to every line of work as to why merit based pay not only makes sense, but is a necessity, but none of them matter right now because this entire movement can be summed up into an age old phrase: “Life’s not fair.”
That phrase used to be what I called the “Shutter-upper,” because people had heard it their entire lives, beginning with their parents and teachers who would instill in the youth that life came with disappointment. Thus, when you reminded them that life wasn’t fair, they shut up.
Now, “Life’s not fair,” is the conversation starter because when you tell the future and present of America that life is not fair their response is “that’s the problem, and we’re going to change that.”
And they are.